California linebacker Joshua Tatum (6-2, 220, 4.5) of McClymond's High School in Oakland announced his commitment to USC this afternoon at 4:30 pm. He had actually told Trojan coaches he was their man during his official trip to USC for the UCLA game on Dec. 3.
"I gave my full commitment (in public) to the Trojans this afternoon on ESPNU," Tatum said. "I just feel great about the program and the school's academics. They have amazing tradition. The academics are very competitive and they have a great business program--which is what I want to major in.
"I also have family in southern California. My uncle (Leslie Small) got his PHD in business/economics at USC and my aunt went there too.
My No. 2 school was definitely Miami. Then came Tennessee. Miami's location was the thing that really hurt them. But it was really a battle between USC and Miami. On my trip to Miami (Nov. 18), I fell in love with their coaches, the program and most importantly, the players.
"But I knew in my heart that I was going to USC when I visited them for the UCLA game and I told the USC coaches I was going there. That was when I first got to really love the USC players too, guys like the Ting (Ryan and Brandon) brothers (DBs), my host Ryan Powdrell (LB), Chris McFoy (WR) and Thomas Williams (LB).
"Their preparation for games is the best bar none," Tatum said. "Those coaches really make it fun, more so than anywhere else.
"My leg is coming along fine (following Oct. 2 ACL surgery). I'll be cleared to play football again in April.
"The USC coaches love my charisma on the field and my leadership qualities. They want me to come in and play weakside linebacker because of my speed and agility. I'm very loose in the hips and they want me to play in open space where I can roam free."
2.8 GPA/1350 SAT.