The hard-hitting safety for USC’s 2017 recruiting class is in. Four-star Isaiah Pola-Mao officially signed his letter of intent with the Trojans on Signing Day.
Isaiah Pola-Mao made his commitment to USC last week, and followed through by signing his national letter of intent to the Trojans on Wednesday.
USC had battled ASU and Washington for Pola-Mao’s pledge, winning out when the safety announced his college decision last Friday.
With his signature on the dotted line, the Trojans are now assured of Pola-Mao’s place in the class. The question now is just how deeply Pola-Mao can embed himself in Trojan lore.
Pola-Mao is a relative of USC safety great Troy Polamalu, so there’s no questioning his pedigree. At 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, the four-star prospect is a powerful presence in the secondary with impressive physical tools paired with above-average ball skills.
MORE SIGNING DAY: Tracking All of USC’s Class of 2017 Signings
The punishing hitter is rated as the No. 15 safety in the class, the No. 2 player out of Arizona and the No. 116 prospect in the country.
Where He Fits
Clancy Pendergast went looking for size at the safety position and he found it in Pola-Mao.
There will be plenty of competition for Pola-Mao to prove himself against at USC before he’ll see time on the field though.
MORE ON SIGNING DAY: Tracking USC’s Signings
While Marvell Tell will be eligible to depart for the NFL after the 2017 season, USC’s current safety group includes highly-rated prospects like Ykili Ross, Jamel Cook and C.J. Pollard.
On top of that, Pola-Mao will face a direct challenge from fellow 2017 signee Bubba Bolden.
All that said, there’s no reason Pola-Mao can’t lock down a starting job after a year to develop — if not sooner — given his ideal measurements for Pendergast’s scheme and competitive nature.
High School Highlights
He Reminds Us Of…T.J. McDonald
Rarely do you see a safety as tall as the 6-foot-4 Pola-Mao, making it hard to find a true comparison in recent USC history. But the big-hitting Phoenix native patrols the field in a way similar to T.J. McDonald, uncorking ball-jarring hits up towards the line of scrimmage and disrupting the downfield pass game with above-average coverage skills.