NCF On The Trail: Kylie Fitts

ESPN 300 DT commits to UCLA

December, 8, 2013
It took UCLA until the beginning of December to land its first defensive line commit in the 2014 class, but the Bruins got a special one on Sunday, as ESPN 300 defensive tackle Ainuu Taua (Lompoc, Calif./Lompoc) made his commitment.

The 6-foot, 293-pound tackle is the nation's No. 216 prospect and No. 20 player in California. He held offers from a number of Pac-12 programs, but the Bruins were always going to be difficult to beat.

This past weekend, Taua took an official visit to UCLA -- his fourth visit, after trips to Washington State, Oklahoma and Mississippi -- and made his commitment. Taua is the third ESPN 300 prospect to commit to UCLA in this class, joining wide receiver Austin Roberts (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) and cornerback Adarius Pickett (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito).

It's an intriguing pick up in two ways, as Taua has the ability to form a terrific team with 2013 defensive line signees Eddie Vanderdoes, Kylie Fitts and Kenneth Clark, adding to a dynamic group up front, but he is also part of a good group of big-man friends in Southern California, which includes USC commit Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial), uncommitted ESPN 300 guard Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and uncommitted guard Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch). Delp doesn't hold a USC offer and looks to be a fairly solid UCLA lean, but Mama is one of the bigger Trojans-Bruins battles left on the board. Talamaivao's commitment to USC gives Steve Sarkisian's program plenty of pull with Mama, but Taua heading to UCLA swings some momentum toward Westwood.

As a senior, Taua recorded seven sacks and 36 total tackles, almost matching his junior year output, when he posted seven sacks, 49 stops and an interception.

UCLA now has verbal commitments from 13 prospects in the 2014 class, including four four-star recruits.

UCLA hurts rival with pickup of Fitts 

February, 5, 2013
REDLANDS, Calif. -- Good news keeps rolling in for UCLA, as the Bruins added ESPN 150 defensive end Kylie Fitts (Redlands, Calif./Redlands East Valley) on signing day eve.

Fitts, who committed to USC last spring, opened his recruitment in early January when he was told by USC that he would no longer be able to enroll early. The Bruins jumped at the chance to get back into the game for the nation's No. 85 overall recruit.

In adding Fitts to the recruiting class, the Bruins pick up two victories. The first comes from adding a USC decommitment who was still being pursued by the Trojans. The second is the fact that Fitts is simply a tremendous football player.

ESPN 300 DE Jason Hatcher makes call 

February, 5, 2013
After weeks of speculation involving USC, Louisville and Kentucky, ESPN 300 defensive end Jason Hatcher has made up his mind heading into signing day.

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DE Fitts gives Trojans one last chance 

February, 4, 2013
If it were up to him, ESPN 150 defensive end Kylie Fitts (Redlands, Calif./Redlands East Valley) wouldn't be facing a signing-day decision.

All of the tension and speculation would be over.

The former USC commit never expected to be tangled in a stressful situation as Feb. 6 looms. He initially had no plans to stretch out the process and surely didn't anticipate to be such a hot topic in the West region these last few weeks. If it were up to him, he'd be taking classes and studying for exams.

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The One Who Got Away: RB Thomas 

January, 31, 2013
In a topsy-turvy recruiting season that has had Trojans fans teetering on the brink of insanity with the decommitments of one-time USC verbals Eddie Vanderdoes, Max Redfield, Eldridge Massington, Sebastian LaRue and Kylie Fitts -- not to mention the uncertain status of others such as Jalen Ramsey and Torrodney Prevot -- it’s worth taking a quick look back to signing day 2011. While the saga of the Class of 2013 has been filled with plenty of drama, nothing compares to the way Lane Kiffin and his staff were rocked by the last-second defection of De’Anthony Thomas.

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ESPN 150 DE enjoys Notre Dame trip 

January, 27, 2013
The bitter cold of the Midwest struck ESPN 150 defensive end Kylie Fitts (Redlands, Calif./Redlands East Valley) as soon as he deplaned on Friday for his official visit to Notre Dame.

The former USC commit managed to pull out his phone to inform his Twitter followers what he was -- or, in this case -- wasn’t feeling.

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Signing day primer: USC 

January, 23, 2013
Team needs: With all-conference cornerback Nickell Robey declaring for the NFL draft and the graduation of safeties T.J. McDonald, Jawanza Starling and Drew McAllister, adding depth in the secondary is a pressing need for the Trojans. Given Matt Barkley’s departure, it was imperative that USC sign another quarterback to pair with Max Wittek and Cody Kessler.

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USC coaches visit with Max Redfield 

December, 17, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The USC Trojans made a strong push for a former commit Saturday night.

USC coaches Lane Kiffin, Marvin Sanders, Tee Martin, Kennedy Polamalu and John Baxter met with four-star athlete Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) during an in-home visit ahead of the fast-approaching dead period. Redfield decommitted from the Trojans on Nov. 4, about three weeks after his official visit to Notre Dame, but USC has shown a willingness to continue recruiting the No. 4-rated athlete.

[+] EnlargeMax Redfield
Erik McKinney/ESPN.comUSC coaches are making a late push for ESPN 150 athlete Max Redfield, who decommitted from the Trojans last month.
The coaches left Redfield's home at around 10 p.m. on Saturday. Their main selling point during the meeting: location.

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Fitts ready to be a Trojan 

December, 9, 2012
As fellow official visitors walked toward the field through the Coliseum tunnel on Saturday night, USC defensive end commit Kylie Fitts (Redlands, Calif./Redlands East Valley) looked up at the stands and envisioned a sellout crowd. He imagined himself in a USC uniform -- a thought that sent chills through his body.

Perhaps the biggest Trojans fan among USC’s verbal commitments, Fitts fulfilled a lifelong goal this weekend by officially visiting the campus.

“Stopping by the Coliseum on Saturday night was probably the best part of the whole visit,” Fitts said. “Growing up, it has always been a dream of mine to play at the Coliseum. Going through that tunnel gave me chills. I got caught up in the moment, picturing the crowd. Coach (Ed) Orgeron was there telling us to imagine taking the field and playing under these lights. ... It was amazing. I got a lot out of the visit. Being there on campus so much this year on unofficial visits, there’s not a lot of new stuff to learn. But talk to Coach O and being there this weekend gave me the feeling of already being enrolled. I can’t wait.”

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Breaking down the USC visitors 

December, 6, 2012
The first big recruiting weekend has finally arrived for the USC Trojans.

With five of the six early enrollees and two other top targets scheduled to be on campus this weekend, the Trojans can start to put the underwhelming 2012 season behind them and focus on putting the finishing touches on the 2013 recruiting class. Here’s a rundown of who’s expected to be in Los Angeles beginning on Friday:

QB Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) -- Fresh off capping an undefeated high school season with yet another state championship, the record-breaking Browne will step on the USC campus for the second time since summer. The signal-caller thoroughly enjoyed attending his first game at the Coliseum on Nov. 10 when the Trojans defeated Arizona State, but this three-day trip offers the opportunity to bond with fellow early enrollees.

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Isaac not enrolling early at USC 

November, 29, 2012
A bumpy senior season for four-star running back Ty Isaac (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic Academy) has gotten bumpier.

Isaac said Thursday he will not enroll early at USC as originally planned, though not by his own accord. He committed to the Trojans in May and had voiced his intent to graduate early from high school, but recent obstacles regarding Joliet Catholic's policy will not make it possible for him to enroll at USC in time for the spring semester. Classes at USC begin Jan. 14.

"Just didn't work out down the line with a couple things," Isaac said in a text message.

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USC recruiting strong despite losses 

November, 21, 2012
An underwhelming season has hardly affected USC’s recruiting efforts, as the Trojans have maintained their standing atop the new ESPN class rankings. Preseason aspirations of a BCS championship have since been deflated, but USC commits have, for the most part, stood firm.

[+] EnlargeChris Hawkins
Erik McKinney/ESPN.comA disappointing season for the Trojans hasn't scared off ESPN 150 recruits likes Chris Hawkins.
Aside from the unsurprising decommitment of four-star athlete Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) earlier this month, the Trojans’ bumpy campaign has arguably helped solidify the stance of some in the nation's No. 1 recruiting class.

“I just want to see the Trojans win,” four-star cornerback commit Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) said. “We’ve been fighting hard battles. I just want to see them get back on their feet and win. It was very tough to see them lose. The defense, in particular the defensive backs, haven’t played very well. It just makes me want to get there even more. Hopefully, I can get there and help my team win games.”

Redfield, who USC has recruited as a free safety, decommitted a day after the disappointing 62-51 defeat to Oregon at the Coliseum. He attended the game, but the decision to reopen his recruitment had nothing to do with the Trojans’ record.

Redfield simply wanted to give Notre Dame, Oregon, LSU and Washington clean, unbiased looks. The success of the Fighting Irish under third-year coach Brian Kelly hasn’t hurt, but it’s not entirely why Redfield has decided to weigh his options.

Apart from that, there has been minimal activity since late July when USC bagged its final commitment. Yet, that steadiness could change as the Trojans limp through the end of the regular season following a loss to rival UCLA.

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Weekend Rewind: West 

November, 12, 2012
• The Washington Huskies hosted six official visitors for the big win over Utah and the guests fit into several categories. There were two Washington commitments in offensive tackle Sean Harlow (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente) and defensive end Daeshon Hall (Lancaster, Tex./Lancaster), two recruits committed to other Pac-12 programs in USC defensive end commit Kylie Fitts (Redlands, Calif./Redlands East Valley) and Arizona running back commit Pierre Cormier (San Diego, Calif./Madison), and two uncommitted recruits in athlete Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) and defensive end Austin Hooper (Concord, Calif./De La Salle).

• But those weren't the only standout prospects in the state of Washington this weekend. The Washington State Cougars had four high school standouts on campus for official visits. Cougars verbal commitment Gerard Wicks (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) was joined by USC commit Sebastian LaRue (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica) and uncommitted prospects Daquawn Brown (Los Angeles/Dorsey) and Jeff Camilli (Shingle Springs, Calif./Ponderosa). The Washington State visitors arrived Saturday and stayed on campus into Monday.

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Weekend Rewind: Washington 

November, 12, 2012
Washington made the most of its final home game of the season.

With six official visitors in Seattle over the weekend, the Huskies knocked off Utah 34-15 and put together an impressive performance with plenty of prospects in the CenturyLink stands.

For offensive line commit Sean Harlow (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente) it was an opportunity to reaffirm the decision he made in July. For defensive end commit Daeshon Hall (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster) it was a chance to return to his hometown for a few days. For unofficial visitor and Oregon State commit David Ajamu (Shelton, Wash./Shelton) it was a moment that gave him something to think about after earning an offer from the Huskies.

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Weekend Rewind: USC 

November, 12, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- USC receiver commit Sebastian LaRue (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica) took an official visit to Washington State and was still in Pullman taking a tour of campus as of Sunday evening. He published a photo on his Twitter account of a group of Washington State fans holding up a sign that read, "LaRue come to the Zzu." LaRue said he was scheduled to return home Monday.

Trojans defensive end commit Kylie Fitts (Redlands, Calif./Redlands East Valley), who intends to enroll early, took a trip to Washington for the Huskies' final regular-season home game against Utah, his first official visit. He is scheduled to take his official to USC on the weekend of Dec. 7, along with the rest of the early enrollees. Recent decommit Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) was also in Seattle for an official visit. He also expects to take trips to LSU and Oregon in the near future.

Four-star defensive tackle commit Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Calif./Placer) took an unofficial visit to Cal, while four-star quarterback commit Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) was at the Coliseum for the Trojans' 38-17 victory against Arizona State.

Also attending Saturday's game were Class of 2014 offensive lineman Mason Cole (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake), who made the cross-country trek for an unofficial visit, as well as Class of 2013 commits Nico Falah (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) and Steven Mitchell (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany).

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