Tonga likes Trojans

San Mateo (Calif.) defensive tackle Matangi Tonga (6-2, 250, 4.9) recently took part in USC's lineman camp on Sunday (6/12). Reports described him as "the surprise of the camp and...impressive." Even though the Trojans haven't offered, Tonga has them marked as his leader.

"I've gotten written offers from UCLA, BYU (first to offer), Nebraska, Idaho and Arizona State," said Tonga, from Aragon High School. "Right now, I like USC (no offer), UCLA, BYU, Cal (no offer) and Stanford (no offer) as my top five schools." Tonga said USC leads "pretty heavily" over them all.

"Being at USC's lineman camp really made me feel like I could fit in well there. If they offered me, I'd probably commit there. I really liked working with coach (Jethro) Franklin (defensive line). He's real intense and he always pushes you to try harder, and I think coach (Pete) Carroll is a great head coach.

"It was just fun meeting all the coaches and getting to work with them," he said. "The highlight of the experience was the one-on-one drills at the end of the day between the offensive line guys and the defensive line guys.

"Our defensive coordinator, Britt Williams, played linebacker at USC and he told me that they've also got some great academics. I just really like the coaching staff there and the program.

"BYU comes in right behind them. My brother (running back Manese Tonga) committed there already, but that doesn't have any influence on how I'll make my decision. I think it will be a good place for him, but he and I have a lot of similarities and a lot of differences between us. They're still a good football program and I'm still considering them. I've got a lot of family out there too," he said.

"UCLA is my #3 school. They're a good academic program and their football program is pretty decent. I've never really been out there to visit the campus, but it's great they offered me.

"I'm really not in that much contact with the coaches at Cal or Stanford, so I don't know if they're going to offer. I know that this summer I'd like to get out to Stanford and BYU for camps.

"I defend the run pretty good as a defensive tackle, and I'm also pretty good on offense too," said Tonga. "Sometimes I'll play fullback on offense and I think that I've got some great vision, and if I get the chance, I'm good at breaking to the open field. This year I'm working on getting bigger and stronger so that I'm ready for the next level."

"I'm not being recruited to play fullback by any of these programs. I know I want to play on the defensive line in college."

Bench: 310/Vert Jump: 34"

Final JR (9-2) stats: 50+ tackles/25 TFL/11 sacks

Tonga reports a 3.2 GPA/June 4 first-time SAT scores unavailable.


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