Four days before the Houston Cougars officially join the ranks of the Big 12, they landed a potential key contributor in the transfer portal.
USC cornerback Latrell McCutchin committed to Houston on Tuesday evening, as first reported by On3.com. Houston will mark McCutchin’s third different collegiate stop in three seasons.
The 4-star recruit originally committed to Oklahoma, where he spent the entirety of the 2021 season. He tallied nine solo tackles and forced a pair of fumbles while appearing in nine contests. McCutchin then followed head coach Lincoln Riley and defensive coordinator Alex Grinch from Oklahoma to USC prior to the launch of the 2022 campaign. As a Trojan, McCutchin expanded his playing time, accruing 22 tackles, chipping in one sack, and forcing a fumble in 14 games. Additionally, he earned his first two college starts toward the end of the season — manning the lineup for the Nov. 19 rivalry game vs. UCLA and again for the Cotton Bowl vs. Tulane.
McCutchin joins a Houston secondary which lost starting cornerback Art Green (49 tackles, 8 pass breakups, 2 interceptions) and nickelback Jayce Rogers (40 tackles, 4 pass breakups, 3 interceptions) this offseason. The Cougars ranked 10th-to-last in passing yards allowed per game in 2022, so added depth at cornerback is certainly a welcome addition to the defense. McCutchin spent spring ball competing for a starting role at USC, and he will likely aspire for a similar goal when fall camp starts in Houston roughly one month after his commitment.
Houston’s top cornerback is currently Alex Hogan, whose 2022 season was cut short after enduring a knee injury on Oct. 7. Hogan showed plenty of promise in his first season as a No. 1 corner, deflecting 10 passes in a 6-game span. Jalen Emery, who stepped up in Hogan’s absence, is also expected to retain a starting role after recording six starts to conclude the 2022 season.
The Cougars also landed FCS transfer Isaiah Hamilton and former Texas A&M cornerback Brian George, who are expected to compete with McCutchin for playing time in Doug Belk’s 4-2-5 defensive scheme, which employs a litany of defensive backs in the rotation.
McCutchin joins several familiar faces in his new city, as he becomes the third member of the 2021 Oklahoma defense on the 2023 Houston roster, joining linebackers Jamal Morris and David Ugwoegbu. With McCutchin bolstering the defensive depth, the soon-to-be Big 12 members kick off their 2022 season at home on Sept. 2 in a rematch of last year’s triple-overtime thriller with UTSA.