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January 17, 2011Absecon (N.J.) linebacker Anthony Sarao arrived on the USC campus not knowing what to expect.
He left as the latest Trojan commit.
The one-time Stanford pledge made the switch after a weekend in Los Angeles. The commitment brings an end to a whirlwind recruitment, with USC emerging slightly after the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
"It was a perfect visit," Sarao said. "I had a great time out there."
Sarao only firmed up his plans to visit after talking with Joe Barry in San Antonio. But the four-star prospect saw all he needed on the visit to in order to make up his mind.
"The highlight was getting the opportunity to talk to Coach Monte Kiffin and Coach Joe Barry," Sarao said. "We talked a lot about plays and that kind of stuff. It was great one-on-one time."
The USC staff was a big sell to Sarao. The linebacker previously said that he would not decommit simply because of Jim Harbaugh's departure, but he would be turned off if other members of the Stanford staff were to follow him. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio accepted the same position with the San Francisco 49ers on Friday.
"USC has one of the best coaching staffs in college football," Sarao said. "They definitely know what they're talking about."
Sarao joins Sunnyvale (Calif.) running back Amir Carlisle not only as one of the weekend's commitments, but also as one of the Stanford defections. Sarao also got to talk with several players he met during the U.S. Army All-American game.
"He actually didn't know I was going to be on the visit, so he was kind of surprised," said Sarao, who was hosted by wide receiver Kyle Prater. "But it was good talking to him. I talked a little with Aundrey Walker and George Farmer, too."
Now that his commitment is firm, Sarao can focus on the future.
"I'm just going to keep working hard so that when I get there, I can contribute as a freshman," Sarao said.
Sarao called the Stanford coaching staff to inform them of his decision before announcing his commitment to USC. Sarao was accepted into Stanford with a 4.0 GPA.
As a junior, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound linebacker had Sarao had 123 tackles, 11 sacks and two blocked punts. He also made the U.S. Army All-Junior Combine Team a year ago with a a shuttle-run record of 3.86H seconds.
In 2010, Sarao had 79 tackles and 7.5 sacks.
USCfootball.com will keep you updated on Sarao through signing day.