USC Football Insider Scott Schrader has now placed an expert prediction for the program to land Five-Star Edge Matayo Uiagalelei in this year's recruiting cycle. Wednesday marks the Early Signing Period, so the timing of this is perfect. Of course, the prediction itself is perfect as well. Schrader's confidence level in SC landing the St. John Bosco product is 55%:
The On3 recruiting prediction machine (Schrader works for On3) now has USC at a 51% chance to pick up Uiagalelei. Uiagalelei is also a musician, so the hope is that SC's standout opportunities and connections there can also help land him at this university. Uiagalelei is the No. 4 player in the entire talent-rich state of California (all recruiting rankings and ratings in article are as of 247Sports).
Uiagalelei is also listed as the No. 5 Edge in the country. That's big, as SC is likely losing their top guy at that position in Tuli Tuipulotu this offseason. The unanimous First-Team All-American is likely going to the NFL due to his prospects of likely being a first or second round selection.
SC picked up Kyon Barrs via the transfer portal, who has a Second-Team All-Pac 12 selection on his resume, but he's more of a tackle. The Trojans also found a linebacker transfer in Jamil Muhammad, but neither of these pickups address specifically the Edge rusher position, which Uiagalelei most certainly does.
An athletic kid, USC Football recruiting target Matayo Uiagalelei also plays tight end for Bosco.
Matayo Uiagalelei would likely not be playing tight end for USC Football, but his experience as a two-way player in high school proves how strong of an athlete he is. He's the No. 31 overall recruit in the country. Even just his size alone is impressive. He's 6-5, 265 pounds, and "has unique athleticism for someone his size" according to 247Sports National Recruiting Expert Chris Singletary.
Singletary cited "excellent agility, change of direction, bend and power" as to why Uiagalelei is one of the top players in America. He described Uiagalelei as "light on his feet and plays with very good power and technique on the edge and in the run game."
"(Uiagalelei) displays a twitch out of his stance that translates to explosion once he makes contact with the blocker along with a strong punch to control and disengage to defeat the blocker," said Singletary.
This is the type of defensive player that the Trojans could most certainly use in their quest to control the line of scrimmage moving forward. They don't have much depth on the Edge with Tuipulotu likely moving on to the draft, and with Nick Figueroa out of eligibility. Korey Foreman has not been a consistent performer yet, and Romello Height is still searching for his first career sack.
Uiagalelei is a prime candidate to not only receive significant playing time early in his college career if he commits to USC, but also to make a significant difference as part of this Trojan front seven. Shaun Nua and Roy Manning would love nothing more than to work with a talent like Uiagalelei at Edge.