Four-star linebacker Niuafe Tuihalamaka out of Bishop Alemany announced his commitment to the USC football recruiting class for 2022.
USC football’s recruiting class for 2020 won’t be particularly active as Signing Day approaches, but that’s not stopping the Trojans from making recruiting inroads for other classes.
On Tuesday, USC snagged their first commit for the 2022 class in four-star linebacker Niuafe Tuihalamaka.
In a tweet with graphics featuring the linebacker and a quote from Phillipians saying, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Tuihalamaka thanked his parents, his brothers and sister and his Alemany support system.
“I’d like to thank every person I got the chance to work with, especially my uncle Nehumi who helped me with strengthening myself not just for football but life itself,” he wrote. “With that being said I will be announcing my commitment to…THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!!”
Tuihalamaka is already positioned as one of the top prospects in the class of 2022. The four-star ranks 61st nationally, seventh in California and fourth among linebackers in the 247Sports independent rankings.
It is interesting to note how USC was able to secure the commitment of a prominent Polynesian linebacker just a day after letting go of top-level Polynesian recruiter and linebackers coach Johnny Nansen. It speaks well to new defensive coordinator Todd Orlando’s recruiting pitch.
As a sophomore at Alemany, Tuihalamaka posted 65 tackles and seven tackles for loss with eight additional QB hurries, according to Max Preps.
Greg Biggins of 247Sports compared Tuihalamaka to Benardrick McKinney of the Houston Texas as a linebacker with a “thick build” who could “grow into a defensive lineman by the time he hits a college field.” He praised him for his “relentless passion” and his qualities as a “natural leader.”
Considering the anxiety around USC’s recruiting performance in 2019 and 2020, landing such a promising prospect for 2022 could put the Trojans off to a much better start for that class. It’s especially valuable to have a player with strong leadership qualities lead the charge in recruiting other prospects towards the cardinal and gold.
USC’s 2021 class is similarly positioned with five-star quarterback Jake Garcia at the helm, along with four-star linebacker Ma’a Gaoteote and four-star defensive tackle Jay Toia in the class.
The class of 2020 is not so strong and isn’t likely to finish with a bang either. USC ranks 52nd nationally after the recent commitment of three-star tight end Jack Yary, with few options left on the table to add on Wednesday’s Signing Day.