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Breaking down Olaijah Griffin's commitment to USC

Olaijah Griffin
Olaijah Griffin (Nick Lucero/

The recruitment of Olaijah Griffin has been one of the most enthralling in the West, especially in the last few months, as numerous national powerhouses started offering the five-star cornerback from Mission Viejo, Calif. As things moved closer to National Signing Day, USC and a couple SEC schools - mainly Tennessee and Alabama - took center stage in his recruitment. On Wednesday, the five-star player picked the Trojans. Below, takes a look at how Griffin’s decision will help the Trojans and hurt the other programs that missed out on him.

CLASS OF '18 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | State | Position | JUCO



Griffin had been committed to UCLA for months, but he decided to back off that pledge once Jim Mora was fired and the status of assistant coach Demetrice Martin - who had recruited Griffin for years - was unclear.

Around the same time, numerous high-level programs got involved with the Mission Viejo standout, and USC, Tennessee, Alabama and others entered the fray even more. Shortly after his UCLA de-commitment, the Volunteers emerged as the frontrunner. In the following weeks, Griffin took visits all over the country and then on signing day the Trojans won out.

According to sources, Griffin was absolutely not playing games and was serious about both the Volunteers and Crimson Tide leading up to his decision. But some close to the five-star cornerback were pushing for him to stay closer to home and play at USC.


There is basically big-time competition at every position at USC, and cornerback is no exception, but Griffin has the ability to come in early and make an impact. Some have compared him to a leaner Darnay Holmes at UCLA and argued he could be used on defense and special teams - and there’s some validity to that because Griffin is a dynamic and athletic playmaker.

Iman Marshall has one cornerback spot locked up, but Griffin has the ability to come in and contest for the other spot. The five-star cornerback does need to continue to develop physically, but he’s going to be a huge asset for the Trojans and it could be soon.


Alabama is in need of defensive backs in this class, and getting Griffin locked up could have been a really important step. The Crimson Tide should be fine at the position, though, as Alabama is not void of talent anywhere on the field.

Landing Griffin would have been absolutely huge for Tennessee. The five-star cornerback had the Vols as his leader in December and leading up to signing day he still had good communication with the Vols’ staff, at least until this last week. To play at the highest level in the SEC, Griffin would’ve had to bulk up significantly to handle the league’s best receivers. But Griffin had all the talent to be special in Knoxville and this is a big miss for coach Jeremy Pruitt in his first recruiting class.