Losing four defensive linemen with starting experience this season, USC dipped into the junior college ranks with a surprising move to sign Long Beach City College defensive tackle Joshua Fatu.
The 6-foot-2, 300-pound sophomore from Lakewood (Calif.) was committed to Boise State, but Vikings head coach Brett Peabody said that Wednesday’s scholarship offer was too much for Fatu to pass up.
“USC is his dream schools,” said Peabody. “My phone started blowing up at 6:45 a.m. this morning. USC is calling me about Josh.
“I call him and his phone wasn’t working, so I had to get someone else who was with him to let him know I was trying to call him. I told him , ‘We need to talk before you fax anything in. If you want to stay with Boise State that’s fine, but USC wants to offer you.’
“He also most died. Neither of his parents are college graduates and he’s a young Samoan kid who grew up watching USC. Boise State is a great school, but I think he felt like he couldn’t pass up that degree from USC. It was a dream come true.”
Fatu has three years of eligibility to play two years of D-I college football. This past season, he has 52 tackles and 9.5 sacks in 11 games. Coach Peabody raved about Fatu on and off the field.
“First off, he’s the hardest working player I’ve coach in my career,” said Peabody. “He has tremendously high character.
“He has a high motor and has led our team in sacks the past two years. This past season, he was all-state. But I think he was underrated because I don’t think school realized how big he truly is.
“He’s just a shade under 6-foot-3 and 307-pounds without any fat on him. He is tremendously strong and very athletic. USC got a good one.”
Fatu’s ability to inject some maturity and physicality to the Trojans line up is something USC fans have been clamoring for the past two recruiting cycles.
“They’ve got a major need, and from my understanding, before signing Josh, they had some trouble finding defensive tackles,” said Peabody. “I think it’s a great fit for both Josh and USC.
“And again, we look at the bigger picture here at Long Beach City College. This is a young Samoan kid that now has the chance to change the course of his family’s destiny with that degree.
“I’m really excited for him and proud of what he has accomplished. I’m also excited for USC seeing the type of player they are getting in him.”