In the quest to beef up its offensive line and provide as much protection as possible for the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, USC took a major step on Tuesday.

The Trojans announced the signing of former Washington State standout Jarrett Kingston. Kingston, a left tackle with 26 career starts at Wazzu, will land in Los Angeles with one season of eligibility remaining and hoping to earn a starting role protecting Caleb Williams’ blind side. Though USC will be able to mix and match on the line if need be; Kingston has starting experience as both a guard and a tackle.

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Kingston started nine games at left tackle this past season for the Cougars before suffering a season-ending leg injury in a win over Stanford on Nov. 5.

While the Cougar offensive line had major issues all year, Kingston was not one of them. He earned an All-Pac-12 honorable mention despite missing the team’s final four games. In 398 snaps as a pass-blocker, Kingston didn’t allow a sack. He graded out as the third-best tackle in the Pac-12 as a pass-blocker by Pro Football Focus.

During the 2021 season, Kingston started in all 13 games — the first 12 at left guard and then at left tackle in the 2021 Sun Bowl against Central Michigan. He started all four of the Cougs’ games in 2020 at left guard.

The offensive line has been a point of emphasis for USC this offseason as the Trojans looked to replace the entire left side of the starting offensive line from the 2022 team. Bobby Haskins (left tackle), Andrew Vorhees (left guard), and Brett Neilon (center) have all moved on.

Kingston is the second transfer lineman to pledge to the Trojans, joining former Florida tackle Michael Tarquin. USC is also expected to return Courtland Ford, Jonah Monheim, and Mason Murphy. Ford opened the year battling with Haskins for the left tackle spot. Monheim was the primary starter at right tackle. Murphy drew starts on both ends of the line.

USC also hit the line hard in the 2023 high school class, signing five — 4-star Arizona tackle Elijah Paige, 3-star interior lineman Alani Noa, 3-star center Micah Banuelos, and 3-star interior lineman Amos Talalele.