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.
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.
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