When a major program loses a key recruit, Rivals.com takes a look at how big of a blow it is to the respective school, analyzing it from a local and national level. To quantify the “sting” of each decommitment, we assign a score from 1-10, with one being no big deal and 10 being a catastrophic hit.

THE STORYLINE

Keyan Burnett committed to USC in March and it was big for the Trojans because the four-star has played receiver and tight end in his high school career and he looked like an ideal fit for what USC wants to do on offense.

Everything was going along smoothly with Burnett but then in late June he joined Anaheim (Calif.) Servite teammates Noah Fifita and Tetairoa McMillan on a visit to Arizona.

It went far better than expected.

In recent days, Burnett backed off his pledge to USC and it looks like the Wildcats could be the new front-runner in his recruitment. Fifta, a three-star quarterback, is already committed to Arizona. McMillan, one of the nation’s best receivers, is focused mainly on Arizona, USC and Oregon in his recruitment.

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LOCAL REACTION

“USC basically shut down its tight end recruiting in March when it landed Burnett’s commitment, thinking it had its guy for this class. The athletic playmaker was an ideal fit for what the Trojans look for at the position these days. Now, it looks like they may end up not replacing him with another tight end in this class, but that in itself is not a major problem. USC is actually flush at the position — 2021 Rivals100 signee Michael Trigg could be the focal point for years to come at the Y position for which Burnett was recruited, Texas transfer Malcolm Epps could also play a major role with several years of eligibility left and the Trojans also have freshman Lake McRee and former four-star Ethan Rae at that spot, along with former four-star Jude Wolfe in a more traditional TE role.

“The sting here is that Burnett is tailor-made for what they want to do and a local prospect they thought they had locked up, and also for what it may mean for USC’s pursuit of Rivals100 WR Tetairoa McMillan. McMillan is teammates at Servite HS with Burnett and QB Noah Fifita, who is committed to Arizona, and it’s possible all three end up in Tucson. The Trojans were already in a major battle with Arizona for McMillan, and this won’t help their cause. Losing T-Mac would be the ultimate sting in this equation, and it’s hard not to see Burnett as a potential domino in that way.” – Ryan Young, TrojanSports.com

Sting factor: 6

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NATIONAL REACTION

“Losing Burnett does hurt USC because he was such a perfect fit for that offense. A flex tight end with good speed, excellent size and phenomenal hands, coach Clay Helton, offensive coordinator Graham Harrell and that staff could have figured out numerous ways to get him the ball. But it’s not a debilitating loss because the Trojans have stocked up at that position as well as any team in the Pac-12, if not the country.

“If it’s only Burnett, that’s a problem but it’s something that can be figured out. If McMillan is also leaning toward not playing at USC because his Servite teammates are headed elsewhere then that becomes a major issue. McMillan is one of the best receivers in the country and if he doesn’t go to USC – and ends up at Arizona because of this – then the sting factor would be much higher.” – National Recruiting Director Adam Gorney

Sting factor: 6

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