Anthony Lucas doesn’t eliminate USC’s talent deficit on defense, but certainly reduces it a lot

The USC Trojans were able to capitalize on the instability and misery within the Texas A&M football program by pouncing on an Aggie transfer.

Anthony Lucas is the high-end pass rusher and defensive playmaker the Trojans needed on their defensive front. If Lucas plays up to his five-star rating, USC will reduce its level of frailty on defense. The Trojans won’t be shoved around quite as much. Their ability to rush the passer will improve, which is a necessity in a 2023 Pac-12 populated by Michael Penix, Bo Nix, Jayden de Laura, Cam Rising, Shedeur Sanders, and other notable quarterbacks.

Many aspects of this portal acquisition are significant for all the obvious reasons you can readily provide. The biggest aspect of this portal pickup might be that Alex Grinch didn’t give Anthony Lucas second thoughts. If there were mounting worries that Grinch’s presence at USC would scare off elite defensive transfers, this portal acquisition immediately shoots down that notion or — at the very least — reduces its severity.

Lincoln Riley and Alex Grinch needed this kind of pickup in the worst way.

USC isn’t fully set on the defensive line. It can use two or three more high-end defensive linemen to truly feel good about where it stands at this position group. Developing Korey Foreman and making use of his potential — something which hasn’t happened the past two seasons — is another huge piece of the puzzle for USC.

Getting an elite defensive lineman puts an increased focus on the secondary, too. USC’s linebacker room is in very good shape, with Mason Cobb and Tackett Curtis joining the returning starters (Shane Lee, Eric Gentry). The defensive line just got a boost. The secondary is where the Trojans have to make up more ground.

The pursuit of better talent continues … but it took a big step forward with Anthony Lucas.

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Alex Grinch retained by Lincoln Riley: a reasonable, fair move which could become a total disaster

Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire