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June 22, 2012
Santa Monica (Calif.) four-star wide out Sebastian LaRue was offered a scholarship by USC at the Trojans Skills Camp June 10.
Fresh off the plane from an unofficial visit to Washington State Thursday, LaRue wanted to go back to USC and finish what he started two weeks ago.
"My coaches picked me up from the airport and I decided to call Coach [Lane] Kiffin and tell him I was ready to become a Trojan," said LaRue. "I got there and spoke with all of the coaches. Marvin Sanders, Tee Martin, Monte Kiffin, Ed Orgeron... everyone was really excited."
LaRue was tempted to commit to USC June 10 when he was first offered a scholarship by Kiffin, but he didn't want emotions to blind his thought process.
"It was very important that I weighed all of my options," said LaRue. "I didn't want to rush into anything. I'm making this decision because USC provides me with a great opportunity all around.
"Education wise, USC is a private institution and their fan base and alumni system is so strong. I admire that about the school. And then in athletics, the name speaks for itself.
"They have the No. 1 team in the country right now with guys like Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. Those are guys I look up to. They even have former players that have been successful coming back to the program like their A.D., Pat Haden.
"Those things are special all around. Not just on the football side of things, but the academic side of things. Having the opportunity to stay close to home and have my family come see me play was a big thing. I especially wanted to have my grandma be able to come see me play. I also wanted to stay close to my high school coaches at Santa Monica because those are the guys who got me to where I am today.
Santa Monica has established a short pipeline to USC in recent years. Last year, Santa Monica sent three-star offensive tackle Chad Wheeler to USC. Entering the Trojan football program at 6-foot-6, 245-pounds last January, Wheeler is now 270-pounds and turning heads as a potential diamond in the rough.
"Chad and I are really cool, and when he was at Santa Monica, he was someone I really bonded with," said LaRue. "It was kind odd because he was a tackle and I'm a receiver, but he's easy to talk to and he works hard.
"He admires athletes and competitors, so we just got along. That was a big part in my decision too. With Chad there, I know he is going to push me with his work ethic."
LaRue will start both wide out and cornerback for Santa Monica as a senior, but will go to USC as a slot receiver.
"The coaches at SC love my versatility and how I can play on both sides of the football," said LaRue. "When I get the football in my hands, they like that I'm explosive whether it's as a wide out or kick returner. They just love they way I compete.
"When they speak of Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, those guys are from the same area I'm from. Knowing how those guys grew up like I did, you have to have a level of toughness and drive to compete. USC likes my competitive nature."
Friday, LaRue will fly out to Atlanta for the inaugural Rivals Five Star Challenge. He becomes commitment No. 8 for USC at the all-star event.
"I'm looking forward to meeting the other commits and seeing how they accept me into the Trojan family," said LaRue. "We all made this decision because of what a wonderful institution USC is. We all share a common goal and a common bond."
And each Trojan commit seems to share a common theme of competition. The creed that started with Pete Carroll's Trojan teams has done nothing but strengthen under Lane Kiffin at USC.
"If you commit to USC, you're committing to competing everyday of your life," said LaRue. "I think I can speak for the other commits when I say; we wouldn't commit to USC if we didn't want to compete.
"USC has a high level program and they treat it as an NFL team. In the NFL, you have to compete, and that's what I love about the USC program. I love the competition level the school produces."
LaRue may still consider taking official visits later this year, but has no specific schools in mind that he would trip to.
"I'm not sure about visits at this point," said LaRue. "I have to talk it over with my family and my coaches. We'll see moving forward, but as of right now, I'm a Trojan and excited to let people know."
USCFootball.com will continue to bring you the latest on Sebastian LaRue at the Rivals Five Star Challenge this week, including exclusive video, photos, interviews and analysis.