5-star QB prospect Julian 'JuJu' Lewis reveals Lincoln Riley's reaction to his recruitment visits amid USC commitment

NCAA Football: Holiday Bowl-Louisville at Southern California
Julian 'JuJu' Lewis reveals Lincoln Riley's reaction

Julian "JuJu" Lewis, the top-ranked quarterback in the 2026 recruiting class, shared insights into USC head coach Lincoln Riley's response to his ongoing recruitment visits.

Despite committing to the Trojans in August 2023, the 4-star prospect from Carrollton High School, Georgia, is exploring other opportunities, including a visit to Auburn.

In an interview with ON3’s Josh Newberg, Lewis addressed Riley's stance on his recruitment journey. When asked if Riley felt confident and cool with him taking these trips, Lewis said:

"Yeah, no, he is. I've talked to him about it and stuff like that, but we told him from the start that we're locked in. When I committed, I told him I was like, this is where I want to go and California is where I want to be at, even though it's 2,000 miles away or whatever."

When questioned about his attraction to California, particularly from his background in Carrollton, Georgia, Lewis explained:

"Yeah, no, it's definitely a big change from a little old Carrollton. Love Carrollton. But yeah, no, LA is a big city, great environment. People you see around there are different, but in terms of social growth and all that stuff, I don't think there's a better area to be in than LA."

Lewis received offers from top-tier programs in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and Texas. His commitment to USC is notable, marking the first for the Trojans' 2026 class.

Riley including current Heisman winner Caleb Williams and the No. 1 quarterback in the 2023 class Malachi Nelson sees Lewis as a significant addition. Despite his commitment, Lewis's visits to schools like Colorado, Auburn and Indiana have stirred discussions.

Lincoln Riley's reluctance to face LSU once raised questions about SEC readiness

When Lincoln Riley transitioned from Oklahoma to the USC Trojans, rumors swirled that he was uneasy about Oklahoma's move to the Southeastern Conference. Although Riley denied these claims in May 2022, the speculation persisted.

Saturday Down South’s Matt Hayes reported Riley and USC have spent nearly two years avoiding their September 1 matchup with LSU in Las Vegas. According to Hayes:

"USC tried for nearly 2 years to find a way out of a contract to play LSU in Las Vegas because Trojans coach Lincoln Riley didn’t want the game."

Riley's reluctance was reportedly so strong that he sought help from his agent, Trace Armstrong, who also represents LSU coach Brian Kelly. A source disclosed to SDS:

"Riley asked Armstrong for help in changing Kelly’s mind."

Riley's challenges against SEC teams date back to his tenure at Oklahoma. The Sooners struggled against Georgia, Alabama and LSU in consecutive College Football Playoff appearances. That culminated in a 25-point loss to the Tigers in 2019. Oklahoma's struggles continued with losses in the Big 12 before Riley's departure.

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Edited by Abhimanyu Gupta
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