After a freshman season that felt underwhelming given his talent, Korey Foreman was hoping for a new start with a new coaching staff landing at USC.

Instead, the former 5-star recruit spent the first five spring practices with Lincoln Riley and defensive coordinator Alex Grinch running the show on the shelf. Foreman missed crucial time. But, as Grinch told’s Ryan Abraham recently, he worked hard to make up ground once he returned to the field.

“For Korey, I was excited about how the spring ultimately finished for him,” Grinch said. “When you miss time early on and you’re just watching, especially as a young guy in a new system, that couldn’t be a worse scenario in so many ways.  You get 15 days, and I don’t care if you miss one of them, as a younger guy that can kind of stunt your growth. You can overcome it over time, but you miss four or five days of it and your day one is everyone else’s practice five and things are going fast. How do you take advantage of the days and try to play catch up?

“But I give him a lot of credit. I thought the spring for him, especially from where it started, finished with the needle pointed up. He’s a big athlete, he can run, he has all the attributes. I think Coach [Roy] Manning will do a tremendous job with him on that edge. I think he can be one of the very elite [players] over time. But development has to keep going. He’s got to prove himself on the field. He’s got to continue to get stronger and continue to develop, but we’re excited to have him and I think all-told he’s going to be a heck of a USC Trojan.”

The second-ranked prospect in the country coming out of Centennial (Calif.) in the 2021 class, Foreman had sky-high expectations for his first year at USC. An 11-tackle campaign that saw the 6-foot-4 defensive lineman record just 3.5 tackles for loss was not what he expected.

With USC moving into a new defense under Grinch and the Trojans finding former Auburn edge rusher Romello Height in the transfer portal, the hope is Foreman can settle into a role with reduced pressure. Grinch has had top-level havoc-creators in the past, and USC could sure use a guy off the edge who can get to the quarterback and cause some chaos in the backfield, but with a remade defense, the Trojans aren’t reliant on Foreman being a star.

He can continue to develop, as Grinch said.

Riley talked about unfair expectations on high-profile recruits earlier in the spring.

“I think Korey’s done a good job of (focusing on getting better) since we’ve been here,” Riley said. “He’s worked hard. You can’t get caught up in all (the recruiting hype). You’re here to play college football and be the best you can and, like any other player on our roster, if you do a good job with that, that can open up all kinds of things with the rest of your life both on the field and off the field, especially at a place like SC. Probably more so here than anywhere in the country.

“The focus has got to be on being your best here. Korey’s done a nice job of that. He’s gotten better. … He’s a gifted kid that’s gonna have to continue to work hard and make the most of the opportunities in front of him.”