USC rallies past Oklahoma to land 4-star OT Jonah Monheim's commitment
USC landed its first 4-star OL commitment in the 2020 class Saturday as Moorpark High School offensive tackle Jonah Monheim announced his pledge.
Monheim's commitment is a major boost for the Trojans, who needed both an impact offensive tackle in this class and, more to the point, simply a jolt of momentum on the recruiting front.
The 6-foot-4, 280-pound prospect is USC's fourth OL commit this cycle, but the Trojans have struggled to land their top targets at that position going back to the 2019 class when they ended up with just two offensive linemen (one 4-star) making it to campus.
He is the 11th overall commit -- and third 4-star prospect -- in what figures to be a small class topping out somewhere in the mid teens due to USC's projected scholarship availability.
Monheim, ranked the No. 28 OT, holds 30 offers and was long projected to land at Oklahoma, where he also took an official visit). He took his official visit to USC in mid-June, but he hasn't said much in the media during this recruiting process.
Moorpark football coach Ryan Huisenga explained that the Trojans really started to surge in Monheim's recruitment over the last few weeks, and it didn't hurt that former Moorpark wide receiver Drake London was creating a lot of buzz as a USC freshman this month.
"I think basically from I would say March until probably a few weeks ago Oklahoma was the leader by far," Huisenga said. "Jonah's a very intelligent young man, and I think as he went through the process more and more, having Drake there -- and even though the season hasn't started Drake's been doing great at practice and climbing the depth chart -- and seeing the opportunities after football that are available at 'SC and the academics at 'SC and being able to stay close to home so his family could watch him play, those were all major influences."
Monheim's connection with the Oklahoma staff made it a very hard decision, but his relationship with USC offensive line coach Tim Drevno was also a key factor in the end. This was a pivotal recruiting cycle for Drevno, and he played a major role in winning this recruiting battle.
"It was probably a few weeks ago that his mind was really changing and that 'SC was becoming more and more of a favorite, and I think he's always [been] really super comfortable and really enjoyed coach Drev and the relationship that they have," Huisenga said. "I think he was getting more and more comfortable with that as we got closer to getting going, he kind of wanted that pressure off and just be able to make a decision."
After that small OL class last year -- which ultimately included 4-star OT Jason Rodriguez and 3-star C Gino Quinones (with 2-star OG commit Tilini Livai not qualifying academically) -- the Trojans needed both quality and quantity at the position in this recruiting cycle.
Monheim helps in both regards. He's both aggressively physical and moves well for his size, which makes him equally impressive as both a pass-blocker and run-blocker. Huisenga said it's possible he moves to guard at USC, but he also believes Monheim can play tackle at the next level as well.
As for how USC's new Air Raid offense fits his strengths, Huisenga said that was actually an appeal for Monheim.
"I think that does have a lot to do with it and I think a lot of that has to do with why Oklahoma and 'SC were the leaders, not just the coaching staff and the programs but also that kind of style of play," he said. "As Drake was going through spring ball this year and going each day and watching practice and brought home the playbook, we were looking at it and it's a very, very similar offense to what we run. It's just things are named a little different, so I think there's a certain level of comfort there."
The question now is many offensive linemen USC plans to add this cycle. Now with those four commits, the Trojans are also hosting 3-star OT Caadyn Stephen (Camus HS/Camus, Wash.) on an official visit next weekend for the season opener against Fresno State.
Monheim is USC's first commitment since 3-star DT Jamar Sekona (Marin Catholic HS/Kentfield, Calif.) on July 30.
USC's 2020 commitments now include 4-star QB Bryce Young (Mater Dei HS), 4-star WR Joshua Jackson (Narbonne HS), 4-star OT Monheim, 3-star OT Dewerk, 3-star OT Milek, 3-star TE Jack Yary (Murrieta Valley HS), 3-star DT Sekona, 3-star OT Wright, 3-star DT Kobe Pepe (St. John Bosco HS), 2-star DT Kyle Juergens (St. Margaret's School) and 2-star kicker Parker Lewis (Saguaro HS/Scottsdale, Ariz.).
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