Steve Sarkisian acknowledged the need to sign multiple offensive linemen as part of the 2014 class and one of his primary targets was Damien Mama, Rivals’ No. 1 offensive guard.
Live on ESPNU’s Signing Day Special, Mama committed to Sarkisian’s Trojans, giving the coach his first big catch of the day.
With USC facing uncertainty along the offensive line, landing Damien Mama was a necessity. His 6-5, 360-pound stature is rather imposing and Mama figures to stand a chance of earning significant playing time in 2014.
Aundrey Walker and John Martinez shuttled in and out of the right guard position, it’s conceivable Mama could unseat both of them. The Trojans have interchangeable options along the offensive line however, which may result in Mama lining up at left guard.
Mama is a huge get in more ways than one — pun thoroughly intended. With USC having so many issues on the offensive line in terms of continuity, chemistry, Mama has the ability to play early and often as a freshman, which the Trojans will need him to do if they are to have any hope that he doesn’t take a Mormon mission.
For USC, that’s a big deal since they don’t have a history of players leaving on a mission and returning. The Trojans aren’t as well-versed in handling that kind of situation as BYU is. Obviously, Mama could switch gears and decide against taking a mission, which would be a boost for the Trojans.
Alicia de Artola:
Clearly landing Mama is a big deal for USC, even if it isn’t all that surprising. Offensive line has been a major concern for USC for far too long and every elite lineman the Trojans can land makes the picture look that much stronger.
What’s more, there’s a reason Mama is so highly-thought of. His size is balanced by surprising athleticism and his impact could be immediate with several gaps to fill on the offensive line. Of course the biggest question is whether he’ll be around to have an impact in 2015 and 2016.