- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
As the pads finally began popping last Saturday during the third spring ball practice for the USC Trojans, defensive end Kylie Fitts (Redlands, Calif./Redlands East Valley) watched from the sidelines. Not many recruits were in attendance during the first week, so Fitts' presence was notable. Of course, at 6-foot-4, 260 pounds and one of the top defensive prospects in the state, just about everything Fitts does draws attention.
The trip to USC allowed Fitts to get a close look at USC's practice and he enjoyed a positive experience.
"The first thing that you notice is that there is a lot of intensity," Fitts said of the Trojans on the practice field. "It's a little intimidating at first, but then you see them having fun out there. They have that intensity like me, but it's really cool that they can make football fun at the same time."
Fitts said taking in the practice allowed him to gather techniques he can use to improve for his senior season, as well as compare himself to the USC defensive linemen.
"I want to be able to come in and have an impact right away," Fitts said. "I watch what they do compared to what I do, what I can give to USC and what I can improve on."
Recruiting has been a whirlwind for Fitts, who said he receives daily Facebook messages from coaches and holds around 20 offers. He said he has enjoyed the process but knows that when spring break ends he'll need to sit down with his coach and father to begin narrowing his vast list. He hopes to get it down to a top five or 10 schools. It's a good bet that several Pac-12 schools will be on the list, including Washington, UCLA and USC.
The Huskies will certainly chase Fitts with coach Tosh Lupoi and will use the success of Chris Polk -- a former Redlands East Valley star -- as a recruiting tool. Fitts has also said that Georgia and Oklahoma, along with USC, will receive official visits.
Seeing Fitts on campus last weekend was a good sign for the USC coaches, as Fitts was slightly dismayed early last month when the Trojans junior day came and went without an offer being extended. When the offer came later in the month, Fitts wasn't quite sure how to process it. Although, he said things have become clearer since then.
"I'm grateful for the offer, but I wish it had been sooner," he said. "But whatever the coaches do is what the coaches do. It's all about how I can come in and make an impact. I think I can compete anywhere."
The USC coaches could make an even bigger statement to Fitts with how this coming season plays out.
"I'm going to be looking at how they do next season," Fitts said. "They're going to be ranked nationally and could have a really good season. In a few years they're going to get all of their scholarships back, and I want to be part of something great at the next level."
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