If USC football is building for the future, Los Angeles (Calif.) sophomore defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux is a great place to start.
Saturday was Thibodeaux’s first time at the Los Angeles Coliseum for a USC game.
“It was definitely a good experience,” said Thibodeaux. “I thought the team played well and it was good to see that environment in person.
“I wanted to see how USC does things pregame and postgame in comparison to how we do things (at Dorsey). It was important just to see how they handle it.”
Thibodeaux has two years ahead of him before he has to make any serious decision about recruiting. Still, he has his opinions on the state of USC football.
“I didn't pay much mind to the Alabama game,” said Thibodeaux. “The SEC and Pac-12 are two different breeds in football — two whole different breeds.
“Everything is on a different level, you can expect that. With that game, you have to accept it, take what you can from it and move on.”
Sobering words for a USC football program that was king of the hill 10-years ago. But 10-years ago, Thibodeaux was 5-years-old and the exploits of Reggie Bush were already being archived as college football classics.
A generation later, winning national championships isn’t the end-all, be-all for Thibodeaux.
“Honestly, I want to see who USC puts in the NFL,” said Thibodeaux. “Being on a winning team is great, but you have to look at one school can get you to the next level.
“Like with Dorsey, yeah, they haven’t been winning as much lately, but they’ve sent a lot of guys to the NFL. They’re doing something right. So with USC, I want to see a guy with 10 sacks be seen and get to the next level. I want to see those guys work and get better so they have that opportunity.”
Thibodeaux has ambitions of playing professional football, but he also wants to eventually earn his law degree after football. Carrying a 4.0 GPA, he is just beginning to research the athletic and academic reputations of each college choice.
Poised to have dozens of scholarship offers by this time next year, he’s a player that could play several positions at the next level.
“USC runs that 3-4 with a stand up linebacker” said Thibodeaux. “I could see myself playing that position, and the defensive line has played really well for them.
“I can put my hand on the ground and play defensive end, but I’m very versatile. I could stand up too.”
Dorsey’s season has aligned with USC’s in some ways. While the Dons beat an overmatched Tafuna team from American Samoa, they were routed by Serra last Friday 34-6. That game mirrored USC’s loss to Alabama.
“In the first quarter, we were rolling,” said Thibodeaux. “We were playing really well defensively, but our offense just couldn’t score.
“We gave up one bad play on defense before halftime and things just went down from there. That first quarter was sort of like USC playing Alabama. USC came out ready to play and they were i the game defensively.”
It may sound strange, but as a sophomore, Thibodeaux is looked at as a veteran for the Dons. Having played varsity football for the playoffs, Thibodeaux’s nine sacks last year make him a leader by example this year for Dorsey.
“I try to stay focused and take over for my team, but as the game went on, there really wasn’t much I could do,” said Thibodeaux. “All you can do is find things to build upon and go on from there.”