Finding quality tight ends is becoming a more and more difficult proposition for college coaches because of the proliferation of spread offenses where the tight end is often exchanged for a fourth or even fifth wideout.
Yet, USC continues to look at taking multiple tight ends in the 2016 class, including several out-of-state prospects. Luckily, making things easier for tight ends-turned-quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo is that two of the Trojans’ top out-of-state targets happen to play less than an hour apart from each other.
The hour drive just happens to be on the other side of the country in Eastern Pennsylvania where Exton Downington East four-star USC commit Cary Angeline and Philadelphia Imhotep four-star target Naseir Upshur both play.
That made it easy for Tuiasosopo to drop by and see both for in-home visits last week where he let them know they are both wanted. Upshur, a Florida State commit, talked about the visit and the message from the USC coaching staff.
"He just let me know that they are taking two tight ends. They really want me.”
Upshur said that Tuiasosopo told him as of right now, along with Angeline, the Trojans are down to him and Concord (Calif.) De La Salle’s Devin Asiasi.
“That's what his focus was really on,” Upshur said. “He would love to have one of us, so it's either one of us. He wants us to come fight for a spot. They are trying to tailor it to our personality.”
That fits perfectly for Upshur, who is ready to compete wherever he goes. One of the things he likes about the USC program is that the Trojans give freshmen an opportunity to prove themselves and earn playing time rather than having to pay their dues even if they are better than a returning player.
“They play a lot of freshmen. They played 16 true freshmen this year, so you know that is great,” Upshur said. “I just like the way they put players to the next level. They have great coaches and everything.”
“They really had one tight end that they loved. They know how to use the tight end and they know how to get them involved, so that is very attractive to me.”
Upshur, the No. 1 tight in the east and an UnderArmour All-Amrican, said he is “100 percent committed to Florida State as of right now,” but he has plans to take official visits to Maryland and USC — the only other two schools he is considering. The Trojans opportunity to impress him will come in January with a tentative date set for the weekend of the 15-17.
“I don't plan on de-committing, but you know if another school catches my eye…”
Can USC catch the eye and sway another quality Pennsylvania tight end to come across the country? Stay tuned to USCfootball.com to see how Upshur’s recruitment develops leading up to National Signing Day in February.