Top 2026 QB prospect Julian Lewis. Top 2026 QB prospect Julian Lewis. (Supplied to ESPN by Lewis’ family.)

Julian Lewis, widely considered the top quarterback prospect in the class of 2026, has decided where he’s going to college. On3’s Hayes Fawcett reported on Twitter Tuesday that Lewis will attend USC:

Trojans’ coach Lincoln Riley took to Twitter to share his own excitement:

And Riley, and his record of quarterback development, was a major reason for Lewis’ decision. As per Steve Wiltfong of 247 Sports, this move came after Lewis visited USC three times. Lewis told Wiltfong the Trojans stood out as a program based on several factors, but a big one was Riley’s expertise with quarterbacks:

“Coach Riley being the quarterback coach and OC makes USC different than a lot of programs,” Lewis said. “He’s proven all he does is turn his quarterbacks into to the best players in college football.”

…“We watched a lot of film and talked a lot of ball,” Lewis said. “I see why his guys have so much success. Coach Riley is really easy to talk to. The offensive scheme at SC is designed for and runs through the quarterback.”

Riley has definitely found a lot of success developing quarterbacks over the years. As offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at East Carolina from 2010-14, Riley led Dominique Davis and Shane Carden to school records, then went to Oklahoma as offensive coordinator. He worked with eventual No. 1 NFL pick Baker Mayfield in that role for two seasons, then took over as the Sooners’ head coach ahead of the 2017 season, where Mayfield would win the Heisman Trophy.

Following that, Riley worked with another Heisman winner and No. 1 overall pick in Kyler Murray, then with Heisman finalist Jalen Hurts. He also worked with Spencer Rattler and Caleb Williams at Oklahoma before leaving for USC in December 2021, with Williams following him to the Trojans and winning last year’s Heisman there. So it’s understandable why Lewis might think Riley would be a good fit to develop his quarterbacking skills.

[247 Sports; Lewis photo via ESPN]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.