Last week, Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes coach Dave Miller hinted that his star defensive lineman Sione Potoae was seriously thinking about other schools, despite making an early oral commitment to Washington. Now a major national player has officially entered the picture, clouding the picture even more.
"Sione did pick up an offer from USC today," Miller said.
"Rocky Seto, that recruits the school and has recruited it for years, called and said Pete Carroll wanted to talk to Sione. We called coach Carroll at 2 p.m., and Sione had a good conversation with coach. Coach said they were excited about him, wanted to officially offer him a scholarship and they were going to start the process of recruiting him."
Potoae is ranked as one of the top defensive linemen in the nation. The 6-foot-3, 285-pounder already is ranked as the nation's No. 8 defensive tackle and one of the top 250 players in the nation. He made an early oral commitment to the Huskies assistant Joel Thomas on Feb. 12.
But during the spring evaluation process schools from all over the nation have stepped up their recruiting on Potoae. He has offers now from Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, Arizona State, USC, Arizona, Hawaii and Boise State. Miller said other programs like Notre Dame and UCLA are also very interested.
"He's got to make sure that he takes his time and does this right," Miller said. "He committed awfully early, and he still feels good about Washington. But he feels good about USC. You have to take a look at USC when they offer.
"Sione is going to have to take some visits and see where he fits. He might still fit best at Washington. When he committed, he was a 16-year-old rookie that didn't have a whole lot of knowledge of the recruiting process. He's now gaining more knowledge as he goes through it, and I think he sees he has to go through the process now."
USC does recruit the Pacific Northwest and has had some success, most recently with star defensive back Taylor Mays. But the Trojans have also offered Washington players like Steve Schilling, Reggie Williams and Jonathan Stewart in the past, but they weren't able to lure them to Los Angeles.
Miller reiterated that Washington is still a very viable option, and Potoae is going to have conversation tomorrow with the Husky coaches about his status and the USC offer.
"They done a fantastic job," Miller said. "They couldn't have done anything better. Clearly they're making a statement that the program is going in the right direction with their recruiting efforts and early success. I don't think that's going to change, but an offer from USC is a very serious offer."