Wednesday marked yet another New Jersey pick-up for the Southern California Trojans.
Like Brian Cushing and Dwayne Jarrett before him, Camden (N.J.) Woodrow Wilson safety Antwine Perez gave his verbal commitment to USC on Wednesday at an announcement at his school. He chose the Trojans over Michigan.
"I felt real comfortable out there," Perez said. "I especially felt comfortable with the coaching staff, especially coach Todd McNair."
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McNair, who coaches running backs at SC and has a budding reputation as a top recruiter, went to high school with Woodrow Wilson head coach Michael McBride, which played a factor in the comfort level Perez cited.
"I've known coach McNair for a long time," Perez said.
The nation's No. 3 safety prospect and the No. 37 overall prospect nationally also cited the opportunity to play early at Troy at strong safety. Darnell Bing, the current starter at that position, is a candidate to declare for the NFL draft after this season. Even if he doesn't leave, the hard-hitting Perez likely would see the field during his freshman campaign before becoming a starter.
Five-star Seattle athlete Taylor Mays already has committed to the Trojans and has been mentioned as a possible candidate at strong safety, but Perez said that the Southern Cal staff told him that they were looking at Mays at tight end or linebacker more so than safety.
Because of his tendency to deliver bone-crunching hits, Perez has drawn comparisons to former USC standout Ronnie Lott, a comparison that the state of New Jersey's No. 2 prospect has shied away from.
"It's flattering," Perez said. "But I am not too big on those comparisons."
In fact, while the Trojans coaching staff has offered Perez the chance to wear No. 42 (Lott's old number), the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder isn't sure that he will take them up on the opportunity.
Perez had good things to say about the Wolverines, who were a close second for his services.
"I loved Michigan," he said. "It was a great opportunity as well, but in the end, Southern Cal was for me."
Perez is the Trojans' fifth verbal commitment for the class of 2006 and second Rivals100 selection, joining Mays, heading to Los Angeles.