As he arrived Monday evening for his first interview as the interim head coach of the USC football team, Donnett Williams was informed he had minutes ahead of his new, weekly spot on the radio program.
Williams excused himself, stepped a few feet away and used the small window of opportunity to call the recruit.
“It’s a third of a job. So you may not have time, you get time,” Williams said on Thursday. “Recruiting, everyone thinks it’s all day, 24-7. But I think recruiting is 25-7. You have to make about an hour a day.”
As with any coaching change, USC’s recruiting can be described as a state of purification, at best. No major recruit is going to pledge to varsity without a head coach, and Williams and the USC coaching staff are absolutely in no place to accept such commitments before Clay Helton’s successor is in place.
But there still remains the issue of the current members of USC’s 2022 recruiting class. Ten seniors had already committed to USC before Helton was fired on Monday, including Mater Dei five-star prospect Domani Jackson and Georgia’s Michael Williams.
Given the uncertainty surrounding USC, the water in some schools smells of blood. The Trojans quarterback committed Devin Brown, a prospect USC identified earlier in the cycle than most schools, taking up new offers from Ole Miss and UCLA in the days following Helton’s firing.
So both Williams and the coaching staff are trying to send a clear message about the commitments and other possibilities why they should still keep USC in mind as they go about the process.
“The structure still remains. Hopefully, they will still give us a chance as USC,” Williams said. “Never mind, USC is still USC. Still a great academic school. Still a great city. Still great alum. We’re going to make sure we keep the train on the tracks and keep this thing going. “
Williams said it’s not difficult for the rest of the coaching staff to continue their efforts at recruiting, describing their teammates as professionals who understand how business works. And he hopes that USC’s in-season recruiting efforts have outpaced other teams that could focus more on game planning.
For his part, Williams said he tries to call on East Coast recruits first thing in the morning after waking up at 5 a.m. local time, then reaches out to West Coast kids in the evening after practice.
There has also been some minor comebacks, as on Thursday, five-star receiver Kevin Coleman from St. Louis announced that he would make his last official visit to USC in November.
“I mean, we have a lot of great players in our team who will be gone after this season. If those people leave, you have to be able to take their place,” Williams said. “My biggest message to recruiters is that we’re not about changing anything here, we’re about enhancing everything.”
USC defensive ends Corey Foreman (leg) and Nick Figueroa (AC sprain) are both expected to play against Washington State on Saturday, Williams said during his morning press conference on Thursday.