The commitment of four-star Isaiah Pola-Mao gives the 2017 USC football recruiting class one of the top safety duos in the country and more.
When Isaiah Pola-Mao picked up the USC hat during his commitment announcement on Friday morning, he boosted the Trojans’ recruiting class in more ways than one.
On the surface level, Pola-Mao’s decision to spurn ASU and UW for USC added yet another top-rated prospect to the haul.
The four-star safety is rated as the No. 14 safety in the class, the second-best player in Arizona and the 116th in the country overall.
With his commitment, the Trojans 2017 class as a whole moved up from No. 9 to No. 8 in the 247Sports composite rankings, leapfrogging Texas A&M and moving one step closer towards a potential Top 5 finish.
From an individual perspective, Pola-Mao adds much more than just numbers in the recruiting race.
Pola-Mao is an enforcer in the secondary with size at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds. He’s no stranger to big hits, whether disrupting passes downfield or coming up in run support.
That physical ability and aggressive style makes him ideal for the defensive Clancy Pendergast runs at USC.
Moreover, even though the Trojans already had a big-bodied safety committed in Bubba Bolden, Pola-Mao’s addition puts USC in even better position to cope with a few losses from this year and next.
Starting safety Leon McQuay III is off for the NFL while part-time starter Chris Hawkins and John Plattenburg both have just one season of eligibility remaining.
On top of that, Marvell Tell is a junior in 2017 and will be eligible to declare for the draft in 2018.
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USC has Ykili Ross, Jamel Cook and C.J. Pollard set to compete for greater roles this season, but Pola-Mao and Bolden should keep the Trojan safety group strong for the next few years.
Another positive Pola-Mao’s commitment signals? USC continues to find success recruiting players of Polynesian descent, this time adding a player related to legendary Trojan safety Troy Polamalu.
Keeping strong roots in the Polynesian community is key for USC recruiting and the successful pursuit of Pola-Mao, Marlon Tuipulotu, Brandon Pili, Tayler Katoa and Juliano Falaniko, among other targets still on the board, shows that the Trojans are doing well in that department.