By Johnny Curren
One of the most prized prospects taking part in the Pylon Las Vegas National 7-on-7 Tournament this weekend is Class of 2017 quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (Honolulu, Hawaii/St. Louis), and he certainly didn’t disappoint with his performance on Saturday. Playing for Hawaii 808, he continually guided his team up and down the field with the trademark poise, and the precision arm that has made him such a heralded commodity.
Tagovailoa emerged as a priority for USC way back in December of 2014, when he received an offer from former Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian. Current USC head coach Clay Helton has continued to let the talented passer know that he’s someone the staff covets, and following his final game on Saturday morning, Tagovailoa revealed that USC’s hard work has paid off.
“SC is my top choice right now,” said Tagovailoa, who participated in the Rising Stars Camp at USC last summer. “As far as now, I just know that it’s my school. I sat down and talked to my family, I took my unofficial there, and just looking at the school, I liked it. You know, the atmosphere with the coaches, the players, it’s a good place for me to be. I can see myself there.”
It’s Tagovailoa’s rapport with Helton, as well as with new quarterbacks coach Tyson Helton, that is playing a big part in Tagovailoa’s high comfort-level with the Trojans program right now.
“I talk to Coach Helton’s brother, Coach Tyson,” Tagovailoa said. “He’s a really good guy. He’s going to be the quarterback coach over there. And with Coach Helton being the head coach over there, it’s something special. He’s a really good guy, and I can’t see myself playing for any other coach right now.”
Much has been made of the defection from USC to UCLA of assistant coach Marques Tuiasosopo – whom Tagovailoa also holds a strong relationship with. But the strong-armed passer said that the move hasn’t had quite the impact on his recruitment that some might have assumed it would.
“Tui is family, so that kind of, it gives a little brush off of USC, going to UCLA,” Tagovailoa said. “But my mind is set for USC right now, and I’m not looking at changing that right now.”
While Tagovailoa obviously holds USC in high regard, he doesn’t foresee himself bringing an end to the recruiting process anytime soon. In fact, he still plans to take all five official visits before he announces a decision.
“I know I want to visit Washington,” Tagovailoa said. “I want to visit Ole Miss…some of the East Coast schools. The schools that I don’t really get to see because they’re so far away.”
And will he use an official visit on USC?
“Of course,” Tagovailoa replied.
This summer, Tagovailoa also has plans to attend USC’s Rising Stars Camp for the second consecutive year, and he also hopes to attend a camp at Washington.
Delpit talks USC offer
One of the more intriguing prospects at the Pylon Las Vegas National 7-on-7 Tournament is Grant Delpit, who received an offer from USC on Friday.
Standing 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, the Houston (Texas) Lamar product had a strong showing on Saturday while playing for Team Texas, moving well in coverage for a safety with his size.
With the offer from USC, Delpit says that he now has over 20 total offers to choose from.
“It kind of came through Team Texas,” Delpit said of his most recent offer from the Trojans. “My head coach, Coach (Rod) Thompson, is good friends with [USC defensive backs coach Ronnie] Bradford, so he kind of told him about me. They were looking at me for a couple months, and then they told me to call them yesterday, and he offered me.”
With an interest in attending college on the West Coast, Delpit said that USC is certainly in the running for his services now.
“They’re definitely up there right now,” Delpit said. “I like Adoree’ Jackson. I like the swag, the L.A. swag. It would be fun.”
In fact, Delpit now plans to see USC in person, most likely on April 16 when the Trojans hold their spring game finale. Delpit also said that a trip to Ole Miss on April 9 might also be in the works, and there’s a chance that he will camp at USC this summer as well.
News and notes
– USC running back commit Stephen Carr (Fontana, Calif./Summit) had one of the highlight-reel plays of the event on Saturday while playing for Ground Zero, taking a handoff and juking two defenders on his way to a huge gain.
– Another Class of 2017 USC commit, Bubba Bolden, showed off his versatility while playing for 702 Elite, spending time at his normal safety spot, as well as at receiver and even quarterback on Saturday.
– After shining at the Opening Los Angeles Regional last weekend, Class of 2017 receiver Tyjon Lindsey (Corona, Calif./Centennial) put on another show on Saturday. Lindsey, who noted that his recent trip to USC for Junior Day left a big impression on him, said that he hopes to release a top 10 list next month.
– Antioch’s (Calif.) Najee Harris was also in attendance. The big tailback actually spent the vast majority of the day split out at wide receiver, making a number of outstanding grabs.