As it was, USC had a whole lot of talent.
It might not have had the high level that Alabama and Ohio State and Georgia could boast, and Oregon probably had the best starting 22 in the Pac-12, but the guys were in place no matter who was going to take over as the head coach.
And then came Lincoln Riley, combined with the new and more relaxed rules of the transfer portal, and the explosion of NIL and all the opportunities that came with that, and kaboom.
USC loaded up with lots and lots and lots of fantastic players who wanted to be part of the fun.
The program got the Oklahoma Heisman-caliber quarterback, landed one of the best running backs in the country – with the double boost of getting him away from Oregon – and signed on the best wide receiver in college football in 2021.
Here are the 10 best USC players going into the season – and there are at least 10 more who could’ve made this list.