Behind the Verbal: Josh Imatorbhebhe

Receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe explains why he chose to announce his commitment to USC on Monday.

Four-star Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe knew he wanted to commit to USC. But he needed to pray on the matter.

“I knew what I wanted to do. That’s part of the reason why I made the commitment,” Imatorbhebhe said. “For me, it wasn’t something I had to think super hard about. It was something I had to pray about. I prayed for when the right time would be, but for me, it was a pretty obvious choice.”

Imatorbhebhe had given the USC coaching staff indications he would commit, but prayed for the right time to make the announcement public. That decision proved to be Monday morning when he tweeted out a commitment video produced by Bleacher Report. He chose USC over Ohio State, Alabama Georgia and Florida while Stanford and Auburn had also been in the running.

“I tried not to let the media know. I allowed coaches from other schools to contact me and stuff, so that I could be courteous to them.”

Imatorbhebhe told the Trojans’ coaching staff that he had something big coming. They didn’t know what that was for sure until the commitment video.

“I kind of wanted them to have that element of suspense. When it hit them, they were wowed away. I talked to Coach Tee [Martin]. The coaches were in the recruiting room, giving high-fives and chest bumps. It was great for them to have that type of spontaneous experience, so I tried to make it as big a surprise as I could.”

Knowing when to announce his commitment turned out being harder than coming to the actual decision.

“Let’s put schools into an analogy of hotels,” Imatorbhebhe explains. “USC is a five-star all-inclusive hotel. There is so much opportunity to be successful at USC in every regard.

“It’s just that combined with the opportunities in football with them being No. 1 in overall draft picks, No. 1 in first round draft picks, No. 1 players in the NFL overall. That with the industry that is available in Southern California. The weather. There’s just so much to do.

“You can really figure out about yourself. Everything is at your disposal. Really, out of all the schools I’ve been to, I have not seen something that is so inclusive of everything a college student like me could want and need.

“Really, I didn’t have to think too hard about whether I wanted to go to USC. The real question was when was the earliest I could commit.”

On Tuesday, Imatorbhebhe and his family were already searching through the USC academic class catalogue and curriculum requirements searching for the best path toward his lofty educational goals.

“I’m really trying to have a pretty unique degree. I hope to major in engineering with a minor in technology commercialization and then hopefully after my NFL playing days, I hope to be a venture capitalist and invest in up-and-coming businesses and help plant them in different parts of the country.”

“I want to have an engineering mind but know how to bring it into the market and become more valuable as a prospect.”

The Trojans will find Imatorbhebhe a valuable asset on the field also due to his 6-foot-2, 205-pound stature and his well-rounded athletic ability. At The Opening Atlanta Regional earlier this summer, he was the top-rated prospect in the testing per the Nike Football Rating, compiling a 118.77 rating, which was three points higher than the No. 2 prospect at the Atlanta event. Only two other receivers have rated higher than Imatorbhebhe throughout the first 12 The Opening regional events hosted this spring.

He runs a 4.58 40-yard sprint despite his large frame and he’s able to move his body well, as is evidenced by his ridiculous 44.2-inch vertical leap. The No. 2 wide receiver in Georgia and No. 292 overall player in the Scout 300 has great hands and isn’t afraid to go through or over a cornerback to go get the ball. And when he has the ball in his hands, he has the ability to break tackles and pick up yards after the catch.

Imatorbhebhe was born in Southern California and lived in Orange County for his first few years before the family moved to the Atlanta area. He hadn’t been back to California until his trip to USC’s Rising Stars camp his freshman season. Since then he’s made three visits to ascertain if Los Angeles was a potential college destination.

“The first time, I was a little wide eyed. The second time was just confirmation, since I hadn’t been there in so long, that yeah this is the place that I really want to be. The third and fourth times was me just getting more acclimated to it and preparing to call the place home.”

He will get his next taste of his new home during the summer when he comes out to camp with USC. Imatorbhebhe said he’ll spend a week or two in Southern California on the trip.

“I’m going to be visiting the school, meeting professors, talking to the players and really just kind of prepare myself mentally for what I’ll see when I enroll in January.”

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