The unrelenting waves of the Big Ten expansion have hit the college football recruiting landscape, with immediate consequences for the USC Trojans.
Lincoln Riley, the head coach of USC, has been on a mission to solidify the Trojans’ presence in the state of California, but the recent developments have put his plans to the test.
Since taking the reins at USC, Riley’s primary goal has been to secure the Golden State’s top high school talents. However, a wrench was thrown into the mix with the news of Oregon and Washington leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten.
USC was hoping that they, along with UCLA, would be the only west coast teams in the Big Ten. Now, with Oregon and Washington joining the party, they’ll have to compete for recruits harder than ever.
One such player affected by this seismic shift is four-star cornerback Dakoda Fields, who had previously committed to USC.
Fields, ranked #75 in the 2024 ESPN 300, announced that he would be changing his commitment from the Trojans to the Oregon Ducks.
— Greg Biggins (@GregBiggins) August 8, 2023
“This was an incredibly difficult decision, but after much thought and consideration, I have decided to continue my journey with the University of Oregon. I am excited to be a part of the Ducks program and contribute to their success,” Fields stated.
Fields’ decision to switch commitments to Oregon marks a significant coup for the Ducks. He is the third-highest-ranked recruit in Oregon’s incoming class and the third ESPN 300 cornerback to join the program under the leadership of head coach Dan Lanning.
— Dakoda Fields (@dkthegreat__) August 8, 2023
Fields, a standout from Junipero Serra High School in California, had initially pledged his commitment to USC on June 5th.
Following his commitment, he embarked on official visits to both Washington on June 21st and Oregon on June 23rd, weighing his options carefully before making his final decision.
The impact of this commitment shift is felt not only on the field but also in the recruiting rankings. Oregon’s 2024 recruiting class now ranks seventh in ESPN’s latest team rankings, with 13 ESPN 300 pledges.
This ties them with powerhouse programs LSU and Michigan for the second-highest number of ESPN 300 recruits in the nation, trailing only behind Georgia’s impressive tally of 19.
As the dust settles from the Big Ten expansion announcement, college football fans and experts alike are left pondering the potential ripple effects that this seismic shift could have on the landscape of the sport.
Which soon-to-be Big Ten team will benefit most from entering the conference?
How will the realignment affect Riley’s stranglehold on California recruiting?