USC added a commitment from the only five-star prospect left on the board in the 2023 recruiting class as tight end Duce Robinson committed to the Trojans on Thursday over Georgia. The addition of Robinson pushes USC up four spots to the No. 8 in the 247Sports team recruiting rankings with three five-star commits joining the program this year.
Robinson is a special playmaker at tight end who rates as the No. 1 player at his position and No. 19 overall recruit in the Class of 2023, according to 247Sports. The Phoenix, Arizona, native is the only tight end rated even top 50 in the nation. Listed at 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, Robinson has the ideal build for a tight end who can contribute both as an elite receiver and dynamic blocker.
"Robinson has unlimited potential with his skill set and physical abilities to be an all conference performer for multiple years," 247Sports national recruiting expert Chris Singletary wrote of Robinson in 2021. "I see him as a player that has NFL ability and should be an early round pick in his future."
In addition to his prodigious talents as a tight end, Robinson is considered a pro-level outfield prospect for the 2023 MLB Draft. Baseball America rated Robinson the No. 123 player heading into February. His massive frame has drawn comparisons to Aaron Judge, which slowed down his recruiting process. Ultimately, though, he has reaffirmed his decision to pick college football with his commitment on Thursday.
"I hundred percent plan on committing and signing to a school and being there whenever move-in day is," Robinson previously told 247Sports.
USC coach Lincoln Riley has a reputation as one of the great offensive minds in football and deftly uses tight ends to his advantage. Riley helped develop Mark Andrews into the Mackey Award winner at Oklahoma and ultimately turned Grant Calcaterra and Austin Stogner into All-Big 12 players.
During his first year at USC, Riley struggled to find a true mismatch at tight end. Robinson will end that search. He rates as the top tight end recruit Riley has ever landed -- by far -- and should find a way to earn a spot in the rotation as a true freshman. Adding top tight end Robinson to No. 9 tight end Walker Lyons gives the Trojans a special tight end room to build on for the next three years.
Building a wall
When Riley took the job at USC, many hoped he could be a game-changer for keeping West Coast talent home. In one full recruiting class, the results are already clear. With Robinson coming to town, Riley has now landed the No. 1 player in both Nevada and Arizona.
Riley had to settle for silver in California in quarterback Malachi Nelson, but Riley identified Nelson as his top quarterback choice -- over Arch Manning and Nico Iamaleava -- years before the rankings flipped.
The West Coast produced five five-star prospects in the Class of 2023. Three are heading to USC. Three prospects in the Class of 2022 were from west of the Rocky Mountains. One committed to USC out of high school and another -- defensive lineman Anthony Lucas -- transferred from Texas A&M to USC. The Riley Effect is real.