USC gets Texan tailback

Cedar Hill (Texas) running back Aca'cedric Ware is rated the No. 49 player at his position according to Scout.com. Ware becomes the fifth commitment for USC in July.

Cedar Hill (Texas) running back Aca’cedric Ware originally planned to take three of his five official visits before making a commitment to a college, but Monday night on Fox 4 in Dallas, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound three-star rusher announced he would be attending the University of Southern California.

Having visited USC, Iowa and Ohio State over the summer, Ware saw Los Angeles as a place where his aspirations were not restricted to a college campus.

“I have an opportunity to be successful in life just by going to L.A.,” said Ware. “Los Angeles is like the city of dreams, and feel like all of the opportunities there off the field will give me a much better chance at being successful in life if football doesn’t work out for me.”

Hypothetical situations were a big factor in motivating Ware to commit early. With his senior season approaching, recruiting is the last thing he wanted on his mind.

“I didn’t want to have to worry about where I was going for school,” said Ware. “I wanted to get it over with and commit, so I could go into the season with one goal in mind, and that is repeat as state champions.

“Me, my dad and Coach (Joey) McGuire talked about it. We all thought it was just better to get my decision out of the way, so I wouldn’t be stressed about it. I felt like USC was the place for me, so it’s great to know where I’m going.”

Ware spent three days in Los Angeles for the USC Rising Stars Camp. Coming out a day early with his high school coach, Ware soaked up the West Coast lifestyle and contemplated a move to California.

“The area around USC is busy, but it’s also exciting,” said Ware. “We visited all over and even went to Hollywood. You have the beaches and you can’t beat the weather in L.A., so I’m really looking forward to getting back out there.”

But there is a catch. While Ware becomes commitment No. 13 for the Trojans, he immediately gets bumped to the “soft verbal” category.

“I still want to take visits,” said Ware. “Iowa and Ohio State for sure. I don’t know about Notre Dame yet. I have to talk about it with the coaches still.

“I might take those trips during the season, but I haven’t really thought about that yet. That's something for later.”

On the field, USC gets a running back with surprisingly fresh legs for a top Texas prospect. With a grinding 16 game schedule, the state produces plenty of players that have been playing football since they were in elementary school.

Ware, however, has been a part of a three-headed rushing attack at Cedar Hill. Last season he had 129 carries for 1,300 yards and 11 touchdowns. He average more than nine yards a carry in Texas’ toughest class of football.

“We split carries last season, but I expect I’ll get the ball more this year,” said Ware. “I only had about 11 carries a game and averaged about 100-yards a game.”

USC spelled out their blueprint for Ware when he sat down with Trojans running back coach Johnny Nansen in the film room during the Rising Stars Camp.

“They want to use me the same way I play now,” said Ware. “They like how I can run the ball inside and outside. I ran a 4.47 in the 40 at their camp, and we did a lot of drills in seven-on-seven with me catching the ball.

“I think they’d like to see me as a receiver more out of the backfield, but Coach Sark is a run-first coach, so you know they’re going to pound the ball. Coach Nansen and I worked together and talked about that.

“He’s a good coach who knows his stuff. Just the way he would explain things, I know I’ll be successful on the field with him coaching me.”

While distance is a factor that routinely wreaks havoc on early out-of-state commitments, Ware made the decision early on in his recruitment to leave Texas.

Choosing USC over Iowa, Ohio State and Notre Dame, Ware was ready to strike out on his own long ago.

“When I was way younger I knew I wanted to leave Texas to play college football,” said Ware. “I always wanted to leave for the experience.

“I wanted to be exposed to new things and new people from a new area. Playing here in Texas helped me too. I know that I won’t be shelled shocked by the fans and the competition. You learn to tune that out and play your game.”

An astute point, seeing that Cedar Hill High School plays in front of more than 10,000 fans periodically throughout the year.

With 90,000 USC fans packing the Coliseum, Ware will be an unknown to most Trojan supporters when he takes the field in 2015. For those who wonder what USC is getting, Ware throws out a lofty comparison.

“I try my best to model my style after Adrian Peterson,” said Ware. “Ever since I was growing up, that’s who people say I run like.”

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