Grahams are Trojan fans

Sophomore cornerback Thomas Graham maybe two years away from signing a letter of intent, but he has a good idea which college he'd like to attend. While that option may presently allude the 5-foot-11, 170-pound defensive back, his goal certainly seems within eventual reach.

Corona (Calif.) Roosevelt sophomore cornerback Thomas Graham watched fellow class of 2017 stand out Stephen Carr commit to USC at an announcement ceremony in Rancho Cucamonga Monday.

Graham, who has several of his own scholarship offers, contemplated the day he would make his own commitment. Sooner could come rather than later if USC became one of his options.

“I want USC to offer real soon, said Graham. “That’s a dream school for me. I’ve liked USC ever since I was 5-years-old. I grew up watching Reggie Bush, Taylor Mays… all of those guys.

“They were my role models when I was younger and USC is a school I’d really like to go to.”

When Graham says he grew up a USC fan, he means it. However, Graham’s affinity for the Trojans remains strong as his sister, Jasmyne, will enroll at USC next fall as a member of the track and field team.

Jasmyne, who will be on scholarship to run the 100 and 300-meter hurdles, was front and center at the ceremony wearing a USC jacket.

Later in the evening, Graham’s mother arrived wearing a USC t-shirt.

“USC has the No. 13 engineering program in the country, and that’s what I want to major in,” said Graham. “It would be pretty cool going to college with my sister. My parents having two kids  going to USC would be a once in a lifetime type opportunity.

“I also like that USC isn’t in a college town, but the campus itself gives you that atmosphere. Everything is close to campus and at USC it’s all nice and brand new.”

USC may be the pinnacle for Graham and his family, but he continues to research his growing list of options.

“I just took a visit to Arizona State and really liked it,” said Graham. “Coach (Todd) Graham really sold me on the program individually, and he is the defensive backs coach there.

Utah, with Coach (Sharrieff Shah), was a good unofficial visit too. Coach Shah and I had a great connections. I felt like he was a lot like the defensive back coach I have in high school, so it was very easy to talk to him.

“The facilities at Utah were nice too. They just got everything redone and two years ago ESPN ranked their facilities top five in the nation.

“And then Boise State was my first offer. Coach (Andy) Avalos came down to see me twice at the school. So they’re showing me a lot of love.

“Then there’s Cal, which academically is a dream school. Education wise, you can’t get any better than Cal and Stanford staying on the West Coast to play football.

“There’s also UCLA and (Demetrice) Martin. Coach Meat messages me a lot of Twitter and talks a lot to my coach, which is one of his close friends. He always checks in with me and shows me a lot of love.”

Graham, rattling off areas of interest with almost every school recruiting him, remembers that first scholarship offer from Boise State. Recalling the day in detail, Graham displays how serious he takes every scholarship option he has.

“Coach  Avalos from Boise State came up to the school in December and let me know they would be in contact with good news,” said Graham. “I went home after practice and actually took a nap.

“I saw that I had a missed call from my head coach when I woke up. I called him back and he said I got a full ride scholarship from Boise State. I was so excited. My dad was actually asleep too, but since that was my first offer, I had to go wake him up to tell him.

“He was up for a good hour just smiling. It was great because my sister just brags because she had 37 offers in track. I’m just trying to beat that.”

Jasmyne’s 37 scholarship offers maybe tough to beat, although Thomas Graham just recently pulled in new offers from Washington State, UCLA and Cal after running a SPARQ 4.52 40-yard dash time at The Opening Regional Camp in Redondo Beach (Calif.) earlier this month.

“I can run faster,” said Graham. “That’s not a bad time, but I can run faster. I run 10.9 in the 100-meters, and for sophomores, I’m one of the top sprinters in the 200-meters nationally with a 22.04.

“My school is also the No. 1 team in the 4x400 in the state and No. 4 in the 4x100.”

While his sister set the bar high as a track and field recruit, quality trumps quantity when it comes to scholarship offers for the Graham family.

“I thought USC was close to offering me when I went up there for an unofficial visit to watch them practice this spring,” said Graham. “It actually ended up being Pro Day that week, so the coaches said they wanted to wait.

“Coach Sark said he watched my film and liked it though. Coach (Keith) Heyward, the defensive back coach at USC, teaches a lot of the same techniques and drill I use in practice at my high school. He’s hard on his players, but he gets the best out of them and I like that.”

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