Rivals100 linebacker Levi Jones had fans of a few different universities sitting on the edge of their seats before he finally committed to a school.
The 6-foot-3 and 225-pounder took his time with recruiting, drawing attention and scholarship offers from top schools before narrowing his choices to just a select few. Jones made his pledge on ESPN early in the morning on signing day, choosing the USC Trojans over Florida and Florida State.
"Fight on,” Jones told a national TV audience after committing to USC.
Jones is USC’s first commitment on National Signing Day and is arguably the biggest surprise addition for the Trojans. While TrojanSports.com had reported on Jones’ serious interest in USC since March of 2016, it seemed he was expected to pick Florida State by the majority of those covering recruiting.
But USC stayed consistent. Tommie Robinson was in Austin, Texas regularly to make contact with the superstar linebacker and keep USC on his mind.
In the end, it paid off. It came down to three schools but USC helped themselves with a strong finish this season, offering an opportunity to play early and by building a strong relationship with Jones.
“It was the comfortability,” Jones said on ESPNU of his commitment to USC. "The relationships I've built. The opportunity to come in. It's just a great school, make an impact. Just overall, it's a great place to be at."
That comfort level at USC extends beyond the campus and the school, to the coaches and the recruits arriving on campus.
"With Coach (Clay) Helton, just from the beginning, him not pressuring me into making a decision," Jones said. He told me to get out and look at all my options. And just the relationships with the people going in with my class, as far as Hunter Echols, Brett Neilon, all of them. Just overall, just everything."
Despite our early prediction that Jones would commit to USC, even here at TrojanSports.com, there was some difficultly making that final prediction.
Jones struggled with his decision as well. He says he decided to commit to USC just hours ago.
"Back and forth," Jones said. "I've been going back and forth this whole time. Last night, at about what time, honestly about midnight, it was a done deal. But it's been a long, tough, process."