In what he described as the hardest decision he has ever made, Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe Catholic offensive lineman Kristofer O'Dowd announced he will be spending the next four years of his life at USC.
O'Dowd, 6-5, 290 pounds is a huge pickup for the Trojans as he's the top offensive lineman in the West region and arguably one of the top five nationally as well.
"I can't even tell you how happy I am right now," O'Dowd said moments after the press conference. "This is just a great moment for me and I'm so excited to have this decision out of the way. The past month and especially this past week, I lost count of how many people have stopped me to ask where I'm going to school.
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"It was a little stressful and a lot tougher than I imagined it would be. Right now, I guess the main feeling I have is both joy and relief and I'm ready to move on to the next chapter of my life."
O'Dowd said he actually decided on the Trojans this past Sunday.
"I've liked SC a lot ever since they offered back in the summer," O'Dowd said. "This was a tough process for me to narrow down everything from all the offers I had to six schools and then to a final four. After I took all my trips, I just weighed everything together and USC was clearly the best school for me.
"There were several factors I liked about the SC program. For starters, the program itself is like one big family. The relationship I developed with the players on the team, the coaching staff as well as just seeing how well the players and coaches get along was special. You just don't see that anywhere else, everyone just gets along so well and I wanted to be a part of something like that.
"The fan support and how big SC is in Los Angeles is exciting too. They don't have an NFL team in L.A so everyone gets behind and supports USC football. I also really liked both Coach Carroll and Coach Ruehl a lot and they told me they want me to come in and be an impact player from day one.
"I play tackle here but they recruited me to play center and I'm hoping to come in and play next season. That's my goal and I think I have a shot. The coaches want everyone to be ready to compete and when I talked with Ryan Kalil on my visit, he told me he would help me out and teach me the offense. Sam Baker is coming back and he told me the same thing, he's there for me and will do whatever he can to help my transition to college and I'm looking forward to that.
"I don't know if I really had a No. 2 choice. Arizona has been recruiting me the longest and I've built a great relationship with those coaches. The hardest part in all of this for me was telling the coaches I was going somewhere else. A lot of people here including my family were hoping I would stay close to home but I had to do what I felt was best for me. When I weighed everything against each other, my family fully supported me and had no problem with my decision. I'm just excited to be a Trojan and I can't wait to get out there."