Sunday, January 22, 2012
Commitment Analysis: Pio Vatuvei
High School: Patterson (Patterson, CA)
Committed: Arizona State
Commitment level: Very Firm
Position: Defensive Tackle
Height: 6'2 Weight: 236
Scout ranking: 3 star, 66th best defensive tackle in the country
Rivals ranking: 4 star, no ranking available
ESPN ranking: 4 star, No ranking available
Other Schools Considered: Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Utah, Washington
Over the spring and early summer, Pio Vatuvei saw his recruitment explode. After dominating camps and showing off increased athleticism and strength a whole host of suitors were chasing Vatuvei's service (Arizona, Cal and Washington to name just a few) but there was only one offer Pio really cared about, USC. And once the Trojans extended an offer to the Patterson defensive tackle, he jumped on it, becoming the 10th commit of the 2012 USC football recruiting class. The Trojans only have 15 scholarships to offer this year (16 should they choose to use the scholarship gained by Steve Dillon's dismissal on this class) so with that in mind let's break down the Vatuvei signing.
Commitment Impact Level: High
Ignore the rankings on Vatuvei, he is an absolute stud who was undervalued because he burst onto the scene late. Pio was being heavily courted by USC's main PAC 12 competitors, Arizona, Cal and Washington, and his signing is a big win for the Trojans. Pio has great speed and burst off the line for a defensive tackle and is starting to fill out his 6'2 frame and put on sorely needed weight. USC is renowned for their work developing defensive lineman and the tutelage he will get from Monte Kiffin will help him reach his high potential. Another important factor in the Vatuvei signing is the fact he is as firm as a commitment possible and joins commits like Max Tuerk and Scott Starr who grew up idolizing the Trojans and dreamed of playing at the Coliseum. After the nasty NCAA sanctions Lane Kiffin has really targeted high character players who love USC and knows what it means to be a Trojan. Vatuvei is no exception and is the type of guy who knows what it means to sacrifice for a team and brings his best effort to every practice.
Chance at early playing time: Very Low
The Trojans are loaded on the defensive line and their 2011 class featured three defensive line All-Americans in Greg Townsend, Christian Heyward and Antwaun Woods. George Uko has potential to be a starter at defensive end this year as a redshirt freshman and it is possible Vatuvei eventually moves from defensive tackle to defensive end. Look for Pio to really be a factor for the Trojans in his junior year and there is a chance he redshirts as a freshman.
Competition within the recruiting class: None so far
Vatuvei is the first defensive lineman in USC's 2012 class although the Trojans are in the running for superstar lineman prospects like Monrovia's Ellis McCarthy and Buchach Colony's Aziz Shittu.
Notes: Pio is the 4th three star in the 2012 class. USC also has 5 four stars signed and one five star, Arik Armstead...Pio is an avid rugby player...his parents are from New Zealand...attended Nike's "The Opening" in Oregon...lists "If you can believe it, then you can achieve it" as one of his favorite quotes.