It's been a crazy last few months for Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds linebacker Joshua Tatum. From blowing up this past summer and having scholarship offers from just about every top program in the nation, to tearing his ACL in week four of the season and wondering of those same schools would stand by him or pull their offer. Tatum had nothing to worry about as every school kept their offer on the table and the talented athlete ended the process moments ago choosing between national powers USC and Miami.
"I'm going to USC," Tatum first told us last week. "USC just felt like the right place for me. I knew on my visit that USC was where I wanted to go, it's just a special place and I can't wait to be a part of their program. Going back to when I camped with USC in the summer, I really liked it there and felt I bonded well with the coaches.
"Then when you watch SC play on T.V, you can't help but be impressed. They're going for their third national title in a row and I don't see things slowing down one bit. The real keys for me were watching the team get ready for their game with UCLA on my official visit. It's crazy how pumped up the team gets and how the coaches even get in to it.
"The visit to SC also allowed me to get to know all the players on the team and that was huge for me. That was something I really loved about my trip to Miami and it was something I hadn't had a chance to do yet with the guys at SC. When I met all the players at SC, guys like Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart and also some other players that aren't as well known, I was really amazed at how cool everyone is. No matter who you are, everyone is treated the same and there is no egos or anything there.
Tatum took visits to Tennessee, Miami and USC and was looking hard at Cal as well before choosing the Trojans.
"All of the schools were great to me," Tatum said. "My visit to Tennessee was great and I loved Miami. Cal is a very good program and they were a school I was seriously looking at for a long time and were the first school to offer me. USC just had way too much for me to pass up though.
"Everything I was looking for in a school, they had. This wasn't just a football decision either. USC is a strong school academically and that was important to me and my family. Distance wise, I'm getting away from home, but I'm still close enough for my family and friends to come and see me. I won't get better coaching anywhere in the country and the opportunity to play for a guy like Ken Norton who has won Super Bowl rings is just another added bonus.
"I had a home visit last week with Miami and they are a great program. I really can't say enough about them and how classy they have been. Miami was a dream school for me growing up and I know I would have fit in well there and loved that experience. It definitely wasn't anything Miami didn't do, it was just a case of believing USC was the ultimate place for me. Now that I'm committed, I'm going to do my best to recruit some other great players to play with and I think a lot of people are going to be surprised when they see the class we sign come February."