June 19, 2010
Pleasant Grove's Arik Armstead verbally commits to play football, basketball at USC

By Bill Paterson

Pleasant Grove's Arik Armstead, a 6-foot-7, 270-pound incoming junior, verbally committed today to play football and basketball for USC in 2012-2013.

Armstead is the younger brother of USC defensive end Armond Armstead.

The news comes less than two weeks after the NCAA hit USC with major sanctions that include a two-year bowl ban and the loss of 30 scholarships over three years. The school has said it will appeal the penalties.

"It makes sense," Guss Armstead said. "We are familiar with the program. With his brother being there and once the basketball thing came into play, (Arik) decided to go ahead and commit."

Guss said he doesn't expect the sanctions, if upheld, will impact Arik.

Although he will play both sports, Arik will attend USC on a football scholarship.

With colleges targeting potential players at earlier ages, it is becoming more common for top recruits to verbally commit early. But a verbal commitment is non-binding and Guss said he expexts some schools will continue to pursue his son.

But making an early decision is good, Guss said, because his son can now focus primarily on preparing academically and athletically for college.

Still, it's a rare for an athlete to double at the D-I level, especially in football and basketball.

But Arik attended a showcase basketball camp on Friday at USC. Guss said USC coach Kevin O'Neill "was really, really impressed" and made the invitation to join the basketball program after watching him play.

USC football coach Lane Kiffin offered Arik a scholarship in the spring.

According to Rivals.com, the other football schools to offer Arik were UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State, Oregon State, Fresno State, Washington State and Washington.

"He can be a very effective player in both sports," said Guss, a renowned sports trainer.

Arik attended a football camp for linemen at UCLA this morning.

Guss said Arik will compete in the Rising Stars football camp at USC on Wednesday and Thursday.

Guss said Armond, who will be a junior at USC this fall, helped seal the deal.

"He said, 'Dad, this is a good place for Arik. They've treated me well. I'm doing well academically and socially.' He's been really encouraging to his brother."

Arik Armstead seconded that in an interview with USCFootball.com's Gerard Martinez.

"I just decided that the football team is excellent, the basketball team is on the rise, the academics are great and my brother goes to SC.

"He loves it there, and he loves L.A. Everything just fit. I also have a real good relationship with Coach O'Neill and Coach Kiffin."

As for USC's problems with the NCAA, Arik said: "I'm kind of making a statement. SC is an excellent school, and the sanctions can't take away from that."

About the Prep blog

Bee staff writers Joe Davidson and Bill Paterson provide news, analysis and insight on the area high school sports scene in their Prep Blog. Have a question to ask them? Send them an email any time at jdavidson@sacbee.com or bpaterson@sacbee.com.

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