Friday night notes: Duce Robinson chooses USC, Winston Watkins Jr.  wins MVP and more

USA TODAY high school sportsFriday Night Notes is a weekly roundup of high school recruiting that looks at the latest news from around the country – from the class of 2023 to ’24 and beyond.

The top remaining undecided recruit in the 2023 class has finally made his decision.

After months of speculation and anticipation, Pinnacle (Ariz.) five-star tight end prospect Duce Robinson announced his commitment to USC. Robinson did so by sharing a smooth and touching video on social media.

Robinson (6-foot-6, 225 pounds) is a multi-sport athlete who has drawn Ravens Pro Bowl comparisons tight end Mark Andrews and was an extremely popular recruit. He had offers from 28 other schools, with Georgia and Texas being the other top contenders for his commitment.

Robinson said this to ESPN USC made the most sense for him.

“I felt like which one made the most sense came down to those three schools between Georgia, USC and Texas, I’ve had a great relationship with all of those officials and I’ve talked to all of those officials for a couple of years now. But at the end of the day, we just had to sit down and discuss the school that would make the most sense for us.”

The already loaded Trojans get a remarkable pass catcher in Robinson. As a senior, he published 84 catches, 1,614 yardsand 14 touchdowns.

According to the composite ranking, he is #1 among tight ends in 2023 and number 17 overall. Robinson is the third five-star prospect in a USC class that ranks No. 7 in the country.

Tennessee adds another top 10 QB prospect



USC isn’t the only school to get a big recruit this week.

Calvary Day School (Ga.) four-star quarterback Jake Merklinger announced his commitment to Tennessee on Thursday.

With current starter Hendon Hooker expected to be taken in the late first or early second round of the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft, there will soon be an opening at the top of the depth chart here. However, Merklinger has some serious competition – most notably from Warren (Calif.) five-star QB Niko Yamaleava, the second-ranked QB in the 2023 class.

According to the combine rankings, Merklinger (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) is #6 among defenders in class 2024 and number 55 overall. He had offers from 27 other programs, including Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Miami and Ole Miss.

You can read more on Merklinger at Vols Wire.

Colorado commit wins MVP at Rivals camp

Winston Watkins

Andrew Ivins, 247 Sports

Colorado has become the nation’s hottest recruiting hotbed since Coach Prime was hired in December. So far, the highest-ranked recruit Deion Sanders has received is five-star IMG Academy (Fla.) wide receiver Winston Watkins Jr.

Watkins put himself on the map with a strong sophomore season, recording 25 catches, 393 yards and 10 touchdowns in nine games. This week, its stock rose even more, as it won rave reviews at Rivals camp and was named their wide receiver MVP.

Here’s a look at a spectacular one-handed catch he made for a touchdown.

Nephew of NFL wide receiver Sammy Watkins, Winston is ranked No. 6 among wide receivers in his class (2025) and number 24 overall.

You can read more about Watkins Colorado buffalo wire.

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