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Saia Mapakaitolo announces commitment to USC

USC grabbed its third offensive line commitment of the 2021 class, as offensive tackle Saia Mapakaitolo announced his pledge on Friday afternoon.

The three-star tackle, listed 6-foot-6 and 280 pounds, selected the Trojans over offers from Arizona State, UCLA, Utah and others.

Mapakaitolo (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany) transferred to Alemany from Mesa High School in Arizona following his sophomore year and did enough last season to land on plenty of radars.

Alemany head coach Casey Clausen raved about Mapakaitolo earlier this year.

“It’s hard to find long, athletic tackles, but he fits that to a T,” Clausen said. He’s 6-foot-6, 275, 280 pounds, but in two years he’ll be a 6-foot-6, 300 pound left tackle. He could flip to right, but he plays left for us. He had an unbelievable junior year. He’s one of the guys people notice when they first come out. He’s very, very athletic for his size and a great kid.”

There is a lot of upside with Mapakaitolo, and it will be very interesting to see how he progresses both under offensive line coach Tim Drevno and strength and conditioning coach Aaron Ausmus. If he arrives at USC close to or above that listed 280 pounds, he has the athletic ability to develop into a contributor during his USC career. He has a prototypical offensive tackle frame, with long arms to match the necessary height. He also checks that “violent” box that the USC coaches have talked about wanting to get out of their players. He can be a dominating run blocker at times and does not give up until the whistle.

This is an important commitment for a few reasons. USC continues to put effort into recruiting the offensive line, as Mapakaitolo joins fellow three-star prospects in Mason Murphy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./JSerra) and Maximus Gibbs (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) as commitments in the 2021 class–one year after USC signed six offensive linemen in the 2020 class.

Mapakaitolo is also part of an absolutely loaded Alemany program, and now USC holds commitments from two players there, as he joins 2022 USC linebacker commit Niuafe Jr. Tuihalamaka. The Trojans are still chasing quarterback Miller Moss and defensive back Jaylin Smith in the Alemany 2021 class, and have offered wide receiver Kevin Green Jr., cornerback Ephesians Prysock and defensive tackle Domanic Williams in the 2022 class, as well as safety R.J. Jones in the 2023 class.

Mapakaitolo is commitment No. 13 for the Trojans’ 2021 class. He joins quarterback Jake Garcia (La Habra, Calif./La Habra), running back Brandon Campbell (Katy, Texas/Katy), wide receiver Quay Davis (Dallas/Skyline), defensive tackle Jay Toia (Simi Valley, Calif./Grace Brethren), defensive end Colin Mobley (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha Catholic), linebackers Julien Simon (Tacoma, Wash./Lincoln) and Ma’a Gaoteote (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), safety Xamarion Gordon (Downey, Calif./Warren) and defensive athletes Calen Bullock (Pasadena, Calif./Muir) and Anthony Beavers (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne)–all four-star prospects–as well as three-star offensive linemen Mason Murphy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./JSerra) and Maximus Gibbs (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco).

Erik McKinney

Erik McKinney began writing for WeAreSC in 2004, during his junior year at USC, covering the Trojans football team and recruiting. He then moved on to ESPN.com in 2011, where he served as the West Region recruiting reporter and then the Pac-12 recruiting reporter. He took over as publisher of WeAreSC in January, 2019.

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