Dan Lanning, Oregon beat out USC for major blue-chip corner Jahlil Florence
Oregon zagged when USC hired the bright, young, offensive-minded head coach. The Ducks went with the enthusiastic, up-and-coming, defensive wunderkind. Dan Lanning, the new head coach in Eugene who brings with him a tenacity both on the field and on the trail, is going to come up against Lincoln Riley on the recruiting trail quite a bit going forward as the two try and build their programs on West Coast elites.
Score one for Lanning.
On Monday, 4-star cornerback Jahlil Florence announced that he had picked Oregon over USC during a special on CBS Sports HQ.
— jahlil florence (@JahlilFlorence8) January 31, 2022
Florence, rated as the 155th overall prospect in the Class of 2022 by the 247 Composite, originally committed to Oregon in August but backed off that pledge when Mario Cristobal left for Miami. He had originally planned official visits to Oklahoma and Miami but announced last week that he would choose between Oregon and USC.
“(Lanning) actually called me as he walking off the field after they won the National Championship at Georgia,” Florence told 247Sports. “That’s still crazy for me to think about.
“Here he is, just won on the biggest stage and he thinks enough of me to call me at that moment. He called to tell me he wanted me and he wants to bring in a defense that can do the same thing Georgia just did, that meant a lot.”
Earlier this month when Lanning met with members of the media, he hinted at that phone call but obviously couldn’t specify who was on the other end of it. “I was on FaceTime with a guy that can enhance our program and make us better,” he said then.
And Florence can do exactly that. A 6-foot-1.5 corner from Lincoln (Calif.) High, Florence was the top remaining uncommitted corner prospect in his class before announcing. Greg Biggins, 247Sports’ national recruiting analyst, wrote this about Florence’s game:
“Long, athletic corner who has made huge strides as a prospect over the last couple of years. A late bloomer to the game who was more of a basketball player coming in to high school. Plays a physical game and has the size and toughness to bully opposing receivers and the speed and quickness to turn and run with them as well. Shows excellent ball skills and ball awareness and has the skill set to play receiver at the college level although we like him as a corner. Is strong in run support and plays with a nice edge in his game.”
He also ran track and played basketball in high school. Florence clocked a 10.77 100m and a 21.93 200m as a junior. He’s also the second Lincoln High prospect to choose the Ducks; 4-star corner and teammate Jalil Tucker signed with Oregon last December.
It’s hard not to underscore exactly what this recruitment signals for the Ducks going forward. Not that Oregon is going to beat USC for more California 4- and 5-stars than it loses, but for Oregon to immediately snag two major defenders from USC’s footprint is exactly what Oregon had hoped for with Lanning.
It’s shaping up to be an exciting finish for Oregon’s class as National Signing Day looms on Wednesday.