USC reportedly lands Virginia defensive line coach Vic So’oto

Justin Berl/Getty Images
Justin Berl/Getty Images /

Virginia defensive line coach Vic So’oto is slated to become USC’s final assistant coach, according to a report from 247Sports.

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On Signing Day, Clay Helton indicated he wanted to have his staff completed within the next two weeks. He’s on track to make good on that promise.

Vic So’oto of Virginia is expected to join the Trojans as the new defensive line coach “barring a last-minute change of heart,” Jamie Oakes of Wahoos247 reported on Wednesday.

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Who is Vic So’oto? He has been the defensive line coach at Virginia since 2017, having been promoted from a graduate assistant role following the 2016 season.

He played linebacker and defensive end at BYU before graduating in 2010, making his way into the NFL as an undrafted free agent. Over a four-year career, he spent time in Oakland, Washington, Arizona, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh.

He got his start working as a GA shortly after his career ended in 2014.

As that makes clear, So’oto is quite young and has limited experience. The plus for USC is his place on the American Football Coaches Association’s 35 Under 35 list for 2020.

He got that nod because of his promising start at UVA. Taking over in 2017 after they managed just 25 sacks, he helped produce 28 sacks in 2017 and 26 sacks in 2018. By 2019, his front was sixth nationally with 46 sacks, a single-season record for the Cavaliers. They were also 22nd in tackles for loss.

It’s worth noting most of those sacks were completed by linebackers, but in Todd Orlando’s 3-3-5 defense, the role of the defensive line is more to occupy blocks to free up linebackers to make havoc plays. So the profile seems to fit.

Encouragingly, Virginia’s rush defense averaged 139.31 yards given up per game, conceding 3.89 yards per carry. USC, by comparison, gave up 162.31 yards per game and 4.48 yards per carry in 2019.

So’oto may also be a positive force on the recruiting trail. Having dismissed Johnny Nansen, USC’s primary link to the Polynesian community, the Trojans will get a new link in So’oto, who is a cousin of the late, great Junior Seau.

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