Elite 2018 RB T.J. Pledger is surprised by depth of USC tradition

Elite 2018 running back T.J. Pledger gained a better understanding of what USC has to offer and the tradition the Trojans have at his position.

West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade four-star running back T.J. Pledger is nearly a full two years away from when he will sign his National Letter of Intent and send it to the college of his choice.

As a Class of 2018 prospect, Pledger is early in the college football recruiting process, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t already sizing up schools. On Saturday, Pledger was one of a handful of upcoming underclassmen invited to USC’s Elite Trojan Day where he had an opportunity to learn more about the school and coaching staff.

“It was a really good experience,” Pledger said. “It really gives me a better understanding of what USC has to offer and how it lines up compared to all the other colleges across the country.”

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Pledger said he was taken back by the depth of USC’s running back tradition.

“What really stood out to me was just the tradition — all the running backs that went there. I never really thought about how many really good running backs have been there and the tradition that they have at USC.”

Could the elusive 5-foot-9, 175-pounder be the next Trojan great? Pledger says he wouldn’t back away from the pressure. 

“It's something I definitely would look forward to, especially growing up in California with USC and all of the success they had [while I] growing up so it would definitely be an honor.”

To become one of the greats a lot of hard unseen hard work must take place and Pledger already welcomes that challenge. He said he’s been trying to elevate his play by becoming a more dynamic playmaker. 

Chaminade often used Pledger at different spots in the offense to make it hard for teams to key in on any one player, so the sophomore has spent time working on his route running from both the backfield and in the slot. He’s sticking in the weight room to get bigger, faster, stronger while also trying to improve his hands and catch ability.

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It is still a long time away, but Pledger plans to take visits before his senior season begins, so that he can make an early commitment and avoid the stress of a last minute decision.

“I’m not waiting until signing day or nothing like that.”

Pledger will have another resource to lean on the next two seasons after the recent transfer of four-star quarterback Brevin White to Chaminade.

“I'm so excited to have him. He's a great person,” Pledger said. “I just really can't wait to get on the field with my buddy and see what it's all about. He's a great quarterback. We're going to be looking at colleges together and doing pretty much everything together until we graduate.”

Without White or any other Chaminade player joining Pledger on Saturday, he said he hung out with some of the talented local Los Angeles prospects, including Tyjon Lindsey, Jamire Calvin and Brendan Radley-Hines.

But there was one other person that Pledger hung out with that made the biggest impact. He met USC’s new running backs coach Tommie Robinson for the first time. Like the overall experience, Pledger said Robinson seemed like a good guy.

“I really can't wait to build a relationship with him. He's really been all over the country, so that's always dope.”

It should be a dope final two years of high school for Pledger.


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