Interview with Jeff Schweiger

The Trojan recruiting class got another giant boost recently when the top rated defensive end in the west, San Jose Valley Christian's Jeff Schweiger, gave a verbal commitment to Coach Pete Carroll and staff. WeAreSC caught up with the 6'5, 245 pound standout and he talks about his commitment, the all star game experience, and what his immediate plans hold.

In a year when the Trojans are pulling in blue chipper after blue chipper, Schweiger's commitment is as big as any. A special athlete with rare speed, he wreaked havoc on opposing defenses this year, racking up 118 tackles and 13.5 sacks in leading his team to the Central Coast Section Championship.

Currently rated as the #4 defensive end in the nation by The Insiders, Schweiger made his pledge known during the US Army All Star game, when he chose the Trojans over Oklahoma on national TV.

Although he waited until January 2nd to announce his choice, Schweiger actually knew that he wanted to be a Trojan a few days prior to the game after receiving an in-home visit from Ed Orgeron, and he explained that the fiery defensive line coach was a main factor in his decision, "I just love the way he coaches, and I think that I really can see myself playing for him," he said. "I know that he'd be able to get the best out of me. He's such an intense guy. After that lineman camp, I kind of forgot how good of a coach he is, how he's able to get the best out of his players. It seemed like he really had a plan. I know I made the right choice."

"Coach O said that he was in the living room with his wife watching the Army game when I announced, and he jumped out of the seat and was screaming and his wife said ‘what happened? Are you OK,' and he said ‘Jeff just committed!' He said he was real excited."

Schweiger had narrowed his choices down to USC and Oklahoma some time ago, and although the Sooners made a push after his official visit, the proximity to home factor played a big role in the end, "I mean, that Oklahoma trip was awesome. I liked it a lot, but Oklahoma and USC are so similar, why not choose the one where my parents can come and watch me? If it was a big thing, where Oklahoma was so much better than USC then I would probably consider Oklahoma a lot more, but they were so similar. So it was like, one's closer to home and one's not, so that was the deciding factor. I said it wasn't going to be, but it was in the end."

The Nor Cal star also explained that his unofficial visit to USC earlier in the season, when he saw the Trojans in action at practice, played a big part in his decision, "I went to watch the practice and everything, and the guys seem like they're a real tight group," he said. "It seems like their practices are business, but the guys are having fun. It was cool coming down, checking out the campus, and we just got right up in the drills. I just like the atmosphere."

Slated to come in at the LEO defensive end spot where departing senior Omar Nazel has played for the past two seasons, Schweiger is determined to arrive ready to see action immediately, "Coach O said that as long as I learn everything and get to where they think I'm going to be, which is going to be pretty easy for me, physically, then I'll play for sure. As soon as I graduate I'm coming down. I want to get as early a jump as I can. I'll be down there as soon as I can. I'll probably be staying with one of the guys on the team. I'm 6'5 and 245. I told the coach I would come in at like 255 at least, and he said that would be fine. He said that it would be fine if I come in where I'm at because they can put the weight on me when I get there. I'm going to come in at 255 and I'm going to run track this year too so I'll stay fast."

If you caught any of that US Army All-Star game, no doubt you saw Schweiger put in quite a performance as he was constantly in the East team's backfield causing problems. The experience made a lasting impression and he made some friends along the way, "It was awesome being surrounded by so many good players," he said. "I think it gave me a little taste of college, how its going to be. It was cool playing with all of those guys. Everyone was fast. It felt good playing on defense when you can trust every guy out there. I met Keith Rivers and Jeff Byers, we hung out the whole time. They seemed like they're real cool guys. It just seems like they're the same type of guys as me. Down to earth type guys."

Up next for Schweiger is his official visit to USC which he's going to take this weekend. As for the future? "I want to be the best player that I can be, and then I want to win a national championship, get myself a ring, " he said. "That's one of my goals now. Just coming out of high school, its weird being able to say that. Come in and win a national championship, build some bonds with some other really good athletes, and have fun."


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