The 6-2, 220-pound linebacker visited USC along with wide receiver Markeith Ambles from McDonough, Georgia and USC offensive lineman commit Giovanni Di Poalo. The trio had a chance to get familiar with the new coaching staff and really enjoyed the experience.
"It was good. I learned a lot of things about the coaches that I didn't know before," said Shirley, who was hosted by Wes Horton. "Overall it was a good trip. I got to hang out with the team. They were all laidback and not all ‘We are this and we are that.'"
So how about Ambles and Di Poalo?
"They loved it. Markeith (Ambles) seemed like he was in heaven, being in California, coming from the other side of America," Shirley said. "He seemed like he had fun."
For Shirley, the highlight of his visit was the chance to talk football with Monte Kiffin and Ed Orgeron, who impressed him with their coaching experience and knowledge of the game.
"Just talking with the coaches and talking with Coach O and Coach Kiffin was the highlight," he explained. "I got to ask them questions and find out about them for myself. They know what they are doing. They don't play any games."
Shirley seemed genuinely excited about the opportunity to learn from a defensive coordinator as respected as Monte Kiffin.
"To be the best you have to be coached by the best and (Monte Kiffin) is definitely one of the best," he said. "They always have the best of the best wherever they go, and they make the best of the best."
The USC coaches told Shirley that they would use him as a WILL backer in their system, which is the position that he prefers to play in college.
"WILL backer, just dropping into coverage and rushing," he said. "I like being able to run around and helping out the defensive line by being in the right place so that they don't get double teamed."
So what will be the biggest factor in Shirley's choice?
"The relationships with the coaches will be a big factor," he said. "That's why I decided to take my trips so late, so I can see how everything boils down."
The four-star linebacker will be in Miami next weekend for his final official visit, and has narrowed his list of schools down to four, with Miami, Washington and Arizona still in contention along with USC.
"I want to check out Miami and see what it is all about," he said. "I have heard it's a (NFL) factory.
"At Washington, you have Coach Holt and Coach Sark and they are great coaches. I can tell that they are up and coming and they are going somewhere.
"Arizona, I feel like I could help the program by just the way that I play."
Fans of all four schools will have to wait until Shirley makes his commitment on National Signing Day on FoxSports.
Linebacker Josh Shirley will pick between USC, Washington, Miami and Arizona.
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