Shoemate gives verbal to USC

The Trojans received their first verbal commit for the Class of 2008 today when Servite star DJ Shoemate announced that he will attend USC. Shoemate was the California State Sophomore of the Year last season while starring on both sides of the ball for the Friars. Click below to read more:

"Man, it was just an unbelievably great day today," said Shoemate. "I came to school a little late and people were telling me that Coach Carroll and Coach Kiffin were on campus. I'm only a sophomore so I expected to hear them say that they were looking forward to watching me develop and that maybe someday I would be recruited by them, I really didn't expect to hear what I heard. I had to call them on the phone and I was able to talk with both of them, they told me I had an offer and it was unreal. I thought I took it well, I kept my composure pretty good and, man, I am just thrilled right now."

Shoemate (6-0, 205) is considered one of the top players in the state as a multi-purpose athlete who saw time last season as a running back, receiver, defensive back and even as a defensive end. He and fellow Trojan commit Chris Galippo have been a big part of the resurgence of the Servite program that is expected to be one of the best in Southern California in the coming years under Coach Troy Thomas.

Last season DJ, he prefers being called DJ as opposed to his given name Dennis, rushed for over 600 yards with 13 touchdowns on the ground, caught passes for 930 yards with eight touchdowns and also added 20 tackles on defense with four blocked punts. In addition to being named the State Soph of the Year he was also 1st team All-CIF Division 1 and Serra League Co-Player of the Year.

"I want to score touchdowns," said Shoemate when asked which position he prefers to play in college. "I'll play defense if the coaches want me to because in college you have to play where they want you but I really want to touch the ball. I want to be somebody who makes the crowd say "ooh". Somebody like Reggie Bush, I've got some big shoes to fill at USC."

Shoemate has been a USC fan since he was ten years old and became acquainted with a current member of the Trojan football program.

"I've known Ryan Kalil and the whole Kalil family since I was ten years old when I first signed up for Pop Warner football," said Shoemate. "Me, Matt Kalil and Chris Galippo all played together and Frank Kalil (Ryan and Matt's dad) was our head coach. Ever since then I've been a huge football fan, always following college football and I'm always rooting for them. Man, I love the USC program. It hasn't even sunk in yet that I'm going there. This has been one of the greatest days of my life. I always knew I would be college bound but to get this offer as a sophomore is incredible. I know by the time I get to USC I'll be ready to go."

DJ said he considers his greatest strength the fact that "I'm a ball carrier. You can give me the ball and watch what I do. I'm going to try and score a touchdown every time" while he needs to work on "reading defenses and maturing." In addition to playing football, he also runs track (100, 200, relays) with a best time in the 100 of 11.1 last year. He also does a 270 power clean, 360 squat and 270 bench.

"I give all the glory to God. I really do. I am so blessed to be in this situation. It's overwhelming to think that this would happen to me right now."

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