Santa Monica (CA) High School offensive tackle Chad Wheeler committed to the Arizona State Sun Devils last month, but a recent scholarship offer from the hometown USC Trojans was just too good to pass up, and Wheeler is now a Trojan.
“It was a great honor to get that USC offer,” Wheeler said. “It’s a great traditional football school. It’s just a great school in general; it’s amazing to have that opportunity in my life.”
News of Wheeler’s plans to switch his commitment from Arizona State to USC leaked earlier this week, but the three-star recruit wanted to wait until after USC’s win over Syracuse on Saturday to make it official.
The 6-6, 258-pound offensive lineman will add depth to a position of need for the Trojans and the fact that he plans to enroll early adds to his value for the Men of Troy, who are dealing with scholarship reductions.
“At my old private school I took a lot of extra classes that count towards my graduation,” Wheeler said. “Those first two years kind of paid off I guess, not playing football.”
Wheeler’s relationship with the USC coaching staff and the opportunity to play in front of family and friends were two major factors in his decision.
“My family, everyone wants me to go to USC,” Wheeler said. “It’s close by and everything, so I could visit my family all the time. And it’s a better education system.”
Wheeler t has flown under the radar a bit during the recruiting process, but he has been in contact with the USC coaches since making a strong showing at the Rising Stars Camp.
“I have been really close to Coach Cregg and Coach Pola,” he explained. “They have been on me since the Rising Stars Camp, and before that too.”
Wheeler was recruited by schools as both a defensive end and offensive tackle, but will play on the offensive side of the ball when he arrives on campus in January.