LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 26: Head coach Lane Kiffin leads the USC Trojans out of the tunnel for the start of the game against the UCLA Bruins at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

USC Football Recruiting: 2012 National Signing Day Coverage

The Trojans received commitments from 12 players on Wednesday.

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Ellis McCarthy Official Visits: USC, Cal, Florida, Washington, Oregon

Defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy is probably the best West Coast defensive prospect (depending on whether Shaq Thompson plays offense or defense on the next level). The Monrovia prospect doesn't look like he'll be trimming his list anytime soon, but he might have come close to hinting at where his interest lies the most.

McCarthy has revealed where he'll be making his five visits this offseason to WeAreSC: The USC Trojans, California Golden Bears, Florida Gators, Washington Huskies, and Oregon Ducks. These have been the suspected top 5 for McCarthy for awhile, but now these official visits do suggest that he's looking at these schools in particular. He hasn't listed particular dates for his visits though.

McCarthy has listed Cal and USC as his favorites in the past, but it's hard to discount any of these five candidates as being out of the race until he narrows the list further. Still, the Trojans have to feel they're in pretty good shape.

For more on USC football recruiting, Conquest Chronicles is where to be.

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Pio Vatuvei Verbals To USC Trojans Football

Patterson defensive end Pio Vatuvei has always wanted to be part of the USC Trojans football fraternity ever since he was a kid. Even when he started receiving offers from Pac-12 schools (particularly Cal), he made it clear that if USC offered, he would be joining the Men of Troy. The offer came today, and so immediately did the acceptance. Loel Schrader of 247 Sports with the report.

"I've loved USC ever since I was a little kid," he said. "I even cried when they lost to Oregon State when I was in ninth grade. My mom asked me why I was crying and I said, 'Because USC just lost to Oregon State."

At 6'2", 265 pounds, Vatuvei has pretty solid measurables, but he didn't leap onto the national radar. But he's had a solid rise this offseason. He had the top SPARQ rating among defensive linemen at the Nike combines ($), and performed quite well against the top offensive linemen at the Opening.

At 6-foot-2 he was one of the shorter interior lineman competing. However Vatuvei used every square inch of his body in his reps. His footwork is off the charts quick and his intensity level is second to none.

 (via gorillaD44)

Vatuvei is not highly regarded by the recruiting services (ESPN grade of 45, 3 stars and 66th best defensive tackle on Scout), but it's likely that the next reevaluation should reflect better on him once more people get a chance to watch him play (plus the USC commitment should help a bit). At first glance on his recruiting tape, he doesn't possess great athleticism, but his speed, motor and pursuit is pretty solid, and his tackling technique is efficient. With USC's depth at defensive end running low, Vatuvei is a much-needed commit for a class that won't have much flexibility.

For more on USC recruiting, Conquest Chronicles is your destination.

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