Like every other high school junior intent on continuing his education in college, Bo Calvert is currently focused on finishing up the school year and is hard at work prepping for the SAT he will be taking next month. He’s been studying and tutoring to get ready for the standardized test that will play a role in him being admitted to college.
But the 6-foot-4, 210-pound USC outside linebacker commit also has an important leadership test that will transpire over the next six months at Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian. He is one of only a handful of seniors left to steer the Lions’ program in the right direction. Key defenders Shea Pitts, Michael Owusu, Tony Burgos and Devin Calloway graduated while the team’s top three offensive weapons last year — quarterback Matt Corral, receiver Mycah Pittman and one of the nation’s top tight ends Colby Parkinson — are all gone as well.
“We've got a pretty small senior class this year. It's only about five guys. I'm one of the main guys on defense,” Calvert said. “Trying to motivate the team and get them together to move as a whole unit right now. Every year, the seniors leave and it's kind of hard to get that group mentality, on defense especially just because you have to work together, communicate.
“Just getting guys to be able to understand the concepts of defense and being able to once again slow the game down and just play football. Some people try to overanalyze it a lot. I just try to play football. It's still a game at the end of the day.”
Calvert’s top priority is recent Oaks Christian transfer and elite 2019 defensive end prospect Kayvon Thibodeaux, who is playing the mirror position of Calvert in the Lions defense. The duo has the potential to wreak havoc off the edges for any team on the schedule in the fall. Calvert had 11.5 sacks last season while Thibodeaux had 14 at Los Angeles (Calif.) Dorsey, but Thibodeaux is going through a transition period and has to learn the Oaks Christian defense.
“It's been harder for him obviously socially coming into a new school and coming into a brand new defense for him, so I've kind of taken him under my wing and just showed him the ropes on everything -- everything about school, everything about football. It's a culture shock for him coming from Dorsey to Oaks Christian. It's completely different.
“He doesn't need any protection, he's a huge guy, but just kind of making him feel comfortable is the big thing that I want with him.
The two have been paired up in every drill this spring and Calvert has taken it upon himself to do whatever he can to help Thibodeaux as he transitions to a new football program and a new school environment.
It is what Calvert, the No. 103 overall prospect in the 2018 Scout 300, expects when he moves on to college and similar to the experience he had at USC’s spring game. Overall, he enjoyed being in the Coliseum and seeing the coaching staff (“It's like seeing a long-lost family member going up to USC. They give you a big bear hug.”), but it was the time he spent with other players that will be Trojans that stood out.
“I actually ended up hanging out with all of the 2017 signees. We hung out for pretty much the whole day. It was a really good experience. We went to some of the current USC dorms up there and just hung out with current players and just had a good time. We didn't even talk about football. Just kind of hung out with all the guys.
“That's really special for me that USC is especially one of the only schools where I've been able to build relationships with players that are going to go there. That's the biggest thing in recruiting is being able to feel at home even before you are there. That's the big thing for me with USC. That's pretty much all new with them.”
The spring game experience made Calvert more comfortable in his commitment and the group of guys he could potentially be playing with at the next level.
“A lot of times you kind of psych yourself out thinking about where you are in the rankings of your class or who you are in recruiting and if you're the top guy or not. At the end of the day, we're all just teammates and we're all looking forward to hanging out together. Just being able to be comfortable with them is a huge upside for me.”
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