Four-star linebacker Niuafe Tuihalamaka became the first commitment of USC’s 2022 recruiting class back in February 2020. On Saturday, he became the first decommitment of the class.
The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Tuihalamaka is the nation’s No. 63 overall prospect and a top-10 player in the state of California for this class. He has the potential to become a dominant inside linebacker with his physical ability and aggressive playing style, and his commitment was a big one for USC’s class.
Other programs have continued to recruit Tuihalamaka and an offer from Notre Dame on Friday was enough to get him to open up his recruitment completely.
“First off I want to think all of the USC coaches for recruiting me and showing love throughout this whole process,” Tuihalamaka wrote in his decommitment statement. “Throughout this process it has given my family and I a lot of time to understand that this decision is life changing…with that being said I will be de-committing from USC and opening up my recruitment.”
Tuihalamaka will be one of the most heavily-recruited players in the state and the country moving forward. It will be interesting to see if USC can stay in the race for him. USC signed linebacker Julien Simon in the 2021 class and is right in the thick of things to add fellow four-star linebacker Raesjon Davis early next month. But the Trojans are looking in the transfer portal to hopefully add former Tennessee linebacker Henry To’o To’o and will likely need to bring in at least a couple of linebackers in the 2022 class. USC lost Palaie Gaoteote to the transfer portal, Jordan Iosefa will run out of eligibility following the 2021 season and Solomon Tuliaupupu is an unknown due to recurring injury issues. USC did not sign an inside linebacker in the 2020 recruiting class.
With the decommitment, USC’s 2022 recruiting class drops to just three members, with four-star cornerback Fabian Ross (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman), four-star quarterback Devin Brown (Queen Creek, Ariz./Queen Creek) and three-star offensive lineman Dylan Lopez (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde).