Julian Lewis gave his verbal pledge to USC on Tuesday. The Carrollton (Ga.) High quarterback is the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2026 class, according to the industry-generated 247 Composite. And he says the decision to pick the Trojans comes down to the head coach.

The country knows Lincoln Riley’s success with transfer quarterbacks. Walk-on-turned-star Baker Mayfield won a Heisman under Riley’s stewardship. Then Kyler Murray won one after transferring. Then Jalen Hurts almost won one after transferring. And Caleb Williams just won one after transferring.

And Riley’s pedigree as a quarterback savant has translated to the recruiting trail, where he has signed quarterbacks who rank No. 13 nationally (Malachi Nelson), No. 8 (Caleb Williams), and No. 9 (Spencer Rattler).

With Lewis in the fold for 2026 and Nelson looking like the next man up after Williams, USC doesn’t necessarily need a quarterback in the 2024 or 2025 classes. But if Riley wanted to go after a top option, he could probably get the Trojans in the door.

Lewis told 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong the Trojans’ head coach was key in his recruitment:

“Coach Riley being the quarterback coach and OC makes USC different than a lot of programs,” Lewis said. “He’s proven, all he does is turn his quarterbacks into the best players in college football.”

“We watched a lot of film and talked a lot of ball,” Lewis said. “I see why his guys have so much success. Coach Riley is really easy to talk to, The offensive scheme at SC is designed for and runs through the quarterback.”

Lewis is a budding star in the high school ranks. He earned MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year while starting as a first-year player in Georgia’s highest classification. While leading Carrolton to a 14-1 record, Lewis completed 65% of his passes for 4,118 yards and 48 touchdowns with 12 interceptions.

It’s clear USC will rarely find itself in a pinch at the quarterback spot so long as Riley is in town.