There are nine defensive line recruits who have a 5 star rating according to the 247Sports composite rankings. Four of those players are currently uncommitted. Only one of those uncommitted players is seriously considering going to a Pac-12 school and he might end up being the best player from this entire recruiting class when they look back on it in a few years.
There is no other prospect in America who has a story like Oluwole Betiku. In only his second season of football, he has skyrocketed from learning how to get into a stance to now being the eleventh ranked recruit in the nation. Scout.com's Greg Biggin's detailed much of his story in this piece today and Betiku's rise from beginner to the top edge rusher recruit in the nation is remarkable:
We were at Betiku’s first practice in pads as a junior and he barely knew how to get in to a stance. He looked completely lost trying to track the football but the effort and compete level were always present.
That compete level combined with tremendous physical gifts, he ran a 4.57 40 at 239 pounds at The Opening back in July, are what has people so excited about his potential. Seeing how explosive he is in person just makes it even more evident how great he can become. What he did against 2017 5 star offensive tackle Calvin Ashley in a one on one pass rush drill is one of the most impressive things I have ever seen done by anyone on a football field. It was some sort of freakish combination of a Reggie White hump move with a Undertaker choke slam.
Other than the top recruit in the nation, Rashan Gary, there was no one who had flashes of dominance as brilliant as Betiku that entire week of competing against the best in the nation. Betiku is still only scratching the surface as to how good he can become.
Which is why so many schools would love to add him. He originally committed to UCLA, but ended up backing off of that commitment and eliminating the Bruins from contention. He's now down to four schools that he has taken official visits to: Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Florida State, and USC.
Out of those schools, the Trojans stand out for good reason. For one, they are the closest program to his new home in southern California (he moved from Nigeria before his junior year). And two, he attends Junipero Serra, which has been a pipeline school for USC for many years now.
4 star safety CJ Pollard is his current teammate and is committed in this year's recruiting class and his former teammates wide receiver Deontay Burnett, defensive tackle Rasheem Green, and linebacker John Houston are all currently on the Trojans. If it's familiarity he is looking for, then the Trojans are the obvious choice and most people would agree that they are the easy choice.
The issue with USC? They don't have a defensive coordinator. So if Betiku cares about scheme, which Biggins stated was a big reason he de-committed from UCLA, the Trojans can't sell scheme because they don't have a definitive one right now.
They also don't have a defensive line coach and considering that Betiku's development is going to be critically important for him to live up to that 5 star status, it's kind of a big deal that they don't have one.
It's the dead period right now in recruiting and the lack of a defensive coordinator and defensive line coach could end up being solved in the next couple of weeks, but that doesn't give much time for Betiku to figure out too much with the new hires. He plans on deciding at the beginning of next month at the Under Armour All-America game and would like to enrol in January at his school of choice.
Clay Helton and the rest of coaches that have been retained by him are hoping that the other factors matter more to Betiku than what's missing right now because he could end up becoming the dominant pass rusher that the Trojans lacked the last couple of years. Despite not having that production from a single player, USC still finished in the top ten in the nation with 37 sacks. Imagine if they had a player that teams would have to game plan to stop as a pass rusher?
True freshman Porter Gustin, who tied for the team lead with 5.5 sacks, showed flashes that he could become that rusher. If they add Betiku on the opposite side of Gustin with some of the other young interior players they added in the phenomenal 2015 class, it could vault USC's pass rush from good to virtually unblockable by the time these players are upperclassmen.
Of course, it's all speculation unless Betiku decides to stay close to his new home and chooses USC. We'll find out in the next couple of weeks whether or not the most unique prospect in the nation is going to choose familiarity over scheme.