USC hopes to hold onto Vatuvei

Even after adding a solid group of defensive linemen last year, the position remains one of need in the 2012 class, and the Trojans are looking to hold onto a commitment from a good one in Pio Vatuvei (Patterson, Calif./Patterson).

Vatuvei has the ability to play end or tackle at the next level, although his combination of strength and speed could help him make an earlier impact on the outside. He has long been a USC fan and immediately jumped on an offer from the Trojans in August. Since then, he has been recruited by several other Pac-12 schools, including Utah, Washington and California. While he remains committed to USC, he also wants to make sure that he is making the right decision and feels comfortable with whichever school receives his signed letter of intent.

This past weekend, the USC staff had a chance to make an impression when Vatuvei and his family were on campus for an official visit.

"The family and Pio loved the campus and the facilities that USC has to offer," said Patterson head coach Nick Marchy via e-mail. "He said that he felt great about the coaches and players that he got to talk to and hang out with."

Vatuvei has hit it off with USC defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, and although the feeling may change if he hits the practice field under Orgeron, Marchy said that Vatuvei called Orgeron "hilarious."

"He really enjoyed the visit," Marchy said of Vatuvei.

With Arik Armstead (Elk Grove, Calif./Pleasant Grove) looking less and less like a possibility and Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia, Calif./Monrovia) committed to UCLA, Vatuvei will be a big piece of the Trojans defensive line class. And hitting such a positive note this late in the game could provide the help the USC coaches needed in holding onto Vatuvei.