Oregon scores massive win over USC with commitment from 2022 5-star OL Josh Conerly Jr.
In the end, it’s the Ducks.
USC had hoped to earn the signature of coveted 2022 offensive line prospect Josh Conerly Jr., the top uncommitted prospect from the class, and felt good until one final unofficial visit for Conerly to Eugene last weekend. On Friday night, during a live announcement on CBS Sports HQ, Conerly picked Oregon and first-year head coach Dan Lanning over the Trojans and Lincoln Riley.
— 247Sports (@247Sports) April 9, 2022
Conerly is a 5-star prospect and the 15th-ranked player overall in his class, per the 247 Composite. At 6-foot-5, 283 pounds, he’s rated as the No. 1 prospect from the state of Washington and the second-best tackle prospect in the 2022 cycle. His commitment gives the Ducks the No. 1 high school class in the Pac-12 and moves them into the top 20 classes nationally.
It’s a significant win for Lanning early in his tenure. USC’s recruiting pull was strong, and Riley put together one of the country’s top classes in a short time in Los Angeles. But now Lanning has done the same, and Oregon’s bunch has a distinctly physical nature to it. The Ducks and Trojans figure to butt heads often on the recruiting trail, so for Oregon to win such a high-profile battle early for an elite prospect in the trenches was enough to set off some fireworks.
Great day!!!!! pic.twitter.com/wA2rOeAL5P
— Coach Dillingham (@KennyDillingham) April 9, 2022
Sco ducks 🦆😁
— jahlil florence (@jahlilflorence) April 9, 2022
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) April 9, 2022
— Dan Lanning (@CoachDanLanning) April 9, 2022
— Matthew Powledge (@CoachPowledge) April 9, 2022
Conerly told 247Sports’ Brandon Huffman that he was leaning toward the Trojans up until this week. He took an official visit to Eugene in mid-march, but then took one to USC and the Trojans looked like the pick. Closing is quite the skill in recruiting, though, and Lanning, offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, and the rest of the staff closed exceptionally strong. Conerly had this to say on the process:
“After my official visit to Oregon, that’s what I kind of wanted to do, then I went on my USC visit, that’s what I wanted to do. The calls with coach Riley and coach Klemm and coach Viane (Talamaivao), he’s like a big brother, had me going back and forth.
“It’s the closest thing to home that’s not home. The relationships I’ve built with them, it’s like no other.It’s genuine everywhere, it feels the most genuine here. With Klemm coming from the NFL, and him winning rings himself, him going to the highest level as a player and as a coach, I feel like I’m going to be able to connect with him more.With him being a black coach, I feel like I can learn a lot from him.With coach (Dan) Lanning and the staff, it’s pretty young so coach Klemm is one of the oldest dudes on the staff.It’s easier for that staff to connect with this new wave of recruits, but coach Klemm is kind of the wise older coach.”
Conerly was named the Anthony Munoz National Lineman of the Year and selected to both the 2022 All-American Bowl and the 2022 Polynesian Bowl. He’s lean but should be able to put on solid bulk. He’s remarkably athletic for his size.
Here’s a snippet of Conerly’s scouting report from 247Sports’ Gabe Brooks:
“Excellent movement ability for a big man. Advanced foot quickness and in-space athleticism result in a second-level nightmare in the run game. Natural bender who plays with encouraging leverage and uncoils upon contact. Sudden with his feet and fluid in his movement patterns. Athleticism and length allows chip-and-pivot ability in pass protection. Can mirror edge speed when required. Owns extensive snaps on both sides of the ball. Would garner P5 offers on defense. Well-conditioned with high motor and big gas tank. Flashes some punch, particularly in the run game, but point-of-attack power should increase with added weight.”