Lobendahn could contribute early

National Signing Day is Wednesday Feb. 5, but USC already has five players who are part of its 2014 class enrolled. One of those players is La Habra (Calif.) offensive lineman Toa Lobendahn...

The Lo-Down
La Habra (Calif.) offensive tackle Toa Lobendahn wasted no time committing to USC when he picked up an offer in June 2012 after participating at the Trojans Rising Stars Camp.

He left camp Saturday afternoon with an offer from former coach Lane Kiffin; by Monday, he was the newest Trojan.

"I just feel like there's not really another school that competes like USC does and that's probably one of the better places for me to go for my career," explained Lobendahn on the day he committed. "(I like) the overall history of the school and just the way they always play."

Over a year and a half later, Lobendahn is the longest standing pledge to the Trojans' 2014 recruiting class.

His early commitment provided a solid foundation to build upon for the future of the Trojans' offensive line. Throughout his year and half commitment to USC, Lobendahn played a critical role recruiting fellow Southern California players, including Corona (Calif.) Centennial offensive lineman and USC verbal commit Viane Talamaivao, as well as Long Beach (Calif.) Poly safety Juju Smith and Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco offensive lineman Damien Mama.

Smith and Mama will make National Signing Day commitment announcements; Lobendahn is confident his "Samoan brothers" or "Uces" will join him at USC.

Lobendahn, a 6-foot-5 285-pound offensive lineman, filled one of four must-use midyear scholarships in the 2014 class. He signed his financial aid papers Dec. 15 and has now been on campus over three weeks going to classes and participating in full-team activities.

Lobendahn was a 2014 Army All-American.

He is Scout's No. 10 offensive guard in the 2014 class.

Where he fits
USC's offensive line going into 2014 spring ball is thin and young. The Trojans lost starting center Marcus Martin a season early to the NFL draft. They also saw starting right tackle Kevin Graf and right guard John Martinez graduate.

Lobendahn's natural position has been at left tackle, but don't be surprised to see the new USC staff move the versatile freshman around during spring practices to see where he can benefit the Trojans the most.

He could see early time at right tackle and perhaps even at center.

As is often the case, especially for an offensive lineman, it is a major benefit for USC and Lobendahn that he was able to graduate early and get on campus.

Not only will he get a jump-start with the Trojans 15 spring practices, he'll also receive help from his upperclassmen teammates during winter voluntary workouts.

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