In a Twitter post, Tuipulotu writes his flip to USC was "a tough decision for me and I have nothing but love" for the Huskies.
Just nine days before national signing day, the Huskies have lost their most touted recruit.
Marlon Tuipulotu, a five-star defensive lineman from Central High School in Independence, Ore., announced Monday evening that he was changing his commitment from Washington to USC, a dramatic twist late in the 2017 recruiting cycle.
Tuipulotu had made a nonbinding verbal commitment to the Huskies last April, but USC made a late charge to get him to flip.
“Never thought this day would come, but after talking with my family and prayers with them about this situation, (I) have decided to decommit from the University of Washington,” Tuipulotu wrote in a Twitter post Monday evening. “This was a tough decision for me and I have nothing but love for the players, the school, and the coaches at the university. A special thanks to Coach Pete and Coach Malloe as they recruited me from the beginning and were one of the first schools to offer. I honestly wish them nothing but the absolute best in everything they do.”
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USC made a late push with Tuipulotu — with USC recruiting coordinator Johnny Nansen, a former UW assistant, leading his recruitment, according to Scout — and Tuipulotu made a clandestine visit to Los Angeles this weekend.
“From here,” Tuipulotu wrote, “I would like to announce that I am still planning to graduate early and will be attending the University of Southern California.”
Scout had rated Tuipulotu as UW’s highest-ranked recruit in this class — No. 53 overall — and earlier this month 247sports.com bumped Tuipulotu up to a five-star rating. UW coach Chris Petersen has never signed a five-star recruit, and Tuipulotu’s commitment never seemed to be in question until late last week.
Tuipulotu’s decommitment is a rare recruiting loss for Petersen, who hates the drama often associated with recruiting. So when a recruit makes a pledge to the Huskies, the coach essentially asks the recruit to shut down his recruitment.
That approach has typically worked for Petersen during his UW tenure. Before Monday, only two other recruits in the past four recruiting classes had back off a commitment to the Huskies: quarterback Jalen Greene in 2013 and Sumner running back Connor Wedington last month.
Just a week ago, Tuipulotu had wrapped up his official visit to UW and in an interview with Scout seemed to reaffirm his commitment to the Huskies.
“The coaching staff was a real big factor,” he told the recruiting service. “Coach (Chris) Petersen and Coach (Ikaika) Malloe just sold it for me with what they believed and I was all for it. …
“I’ve been up there a lot, so the most important thing for me was bonding with the guys and hanging out with the coaches,” he added. “I loved my time up there just hanging out with all of the players and the other commits. It was a good chance for me to spend some time getting to know a few of my future teammates.”
Now, he says his future is in Los Angeles.
Tuipulotu’s flip leaves the Huskies without a defensive lineman in this recruiting class.
Over the wekened, the Huskies hosted another defensive lineman for an official recruiting visit — Ali Gaye, a three-star recruit from Edmonds-Woodway High. Gaye was offered a UW scholarship earlier this month, and Scout reports that he plans to make an official visit to Ole Miss this weekend.
National signing day is Feb. 1. The Huskies have 15 known commitments in this class, which Scout ranks 20th nationally and third in the Pac-12, behind USC and UCLA.