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Friday, August 12, 2011

Patterson's Vatuvei commits to USC

PATTERSON -- Pio Vatuvei was enjoying the summer of a lifetime, and didn't know how it could get any better.
Then the 6-foot-3, 265-pound defensive end picked up the phone this week and USC coach Lane Kiffin was on the other end with a scholarship offer.
Vatuvei didn't consider the offer long, 10 seconds or so, before committing to USC. A verbal commitment doesn't mean he is required to play at USC, nor does it mean the Trojans can't change their mind.
Vatuvei appears certain in the decision he made.
It's a significant step by the Trojans because NCAA sanctions limit them to adding 15 scholarship players in 2012 and the following two years.
Before USC offered, Cal had been the frontrunner. Vatuvei also had offers from Arizona, Colorado, Fresno State, Oregon State, Utah, Washington and Washington State.
Vatuvei was in the shadow of all-Stanislaus District linebacker Adrian Laurel in 2010, though he still had 70 tackles and 12 sacks his junior year.
He became a national recruit this summer by posting the top SPARQ rating in the nation for all defensive linemen tested at Nike combines. The testing measures flexibility, strength, quickness and other football skills.
Though he will be one of the shorter linemen at USC, Vatuvei impressed the Trojans with his footwork and an ability to handle taller linemen.
Vatuvei is No. 41 in the rankings at defensive end and is one of a number of district linemen who are being heavily recruited.

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