St. George (Utah) Desert Hills four-star offensive lineman Penei Sewell unofficially visited USC for the first time last weekend, which was an eye-opening experience for him and his family.
For many recruits, comfort and relationships are what make a school.
“Going into the visit, I didn't know much about USC,” said Sewell. “I just wanted to see everything. I wanted to meet the people on campus and I wanted to talk with the coaches.
“I wanted to see if I could vibe with them. I just wanted to go, have a great time and see if I could be comfortable around the people there. I tried to imagine myself in the program.
“I met with Coach (Neil) Callaway in his office, and that was really fun. I could see us building on that. I got know him better because he’s not a social media guy or anything, so getting to know him was nice.”
Sewell is rated as the No. 1 offensive tackle in the Western Region, but where he plays in college remains to be determined.
“USC wants me as a tackle, but maybe a guard,” said Sewell. “It really doesn’t matter to me. Know that no matter where they put me, I’ll do my best.”
USC has recruited in Utah extremely well over the past few recruiting cycles. Signing five-star defensive tackle Jay Tufele and Tayler Katoa last year, the Polynesian tradition at USC is a selling point for Sewell as well.
“It’s definitely a factor because once you go there, you want family there with you,” said Sewell. “You want someone there to vibe with.
“I’m not really close with anyone who has gone to USC, but I know a couple of players that got there. Well, I know Viane Talamiavao. I know Damien Mama too, but he doesn’t go there anymore.
“I met Viane and Toa (Lobendahn) on my unofficial visit. Getting to talk with them was fun and I talked to them about why they liked USC.”
Having seen USC up close, Sewell summarized his interest in the Trojans.
“Visiting USC really was fun, and I could picture myself going there,” said Sewell. “It was exciting to see the campus and I like Coach Helton. He’s a fun coach and I felt like he was a really easy guy to talk to.”
Sewell has no set plans for additional visits to other schools this spring, and while he claims no favorite college options, he admits USC did make a good first impression.
“I’m waiting to take more visits so I can make a final decision or see if I can make a list of what schools I’m leaning toward,” said Sewell. “I’m just staying patient.
“Personally, I’d like to take it all the way to National Signing Day, but if something comes up, and I feel a certain way about a school, then I guess I could commit.”