St. John Bosco defensive end Malik Dorton ended months of speculation about a silent commitment Friday by announcing his decision to attend USC next fall.
"I've decided to commit to the University of Southern California," Dorton said. "It just seemed like a better fit to me -- the football tradition and my relation with Coach [Ed] Orgeron and Coach [Lane] Kiffin really stood out."
The four-star prospect chose the Trojans over 15 other schools in front of a gathering of family and media. The 6-foot-3, 227-pound Dorton had scholarship offers from the likes of UCLA, Oklahoma Nebraska and Ole Miss.
Dorton listed several reasons for committing to USC, but location and the fact that he and his family have followed the Trojan football program since he was young were factors other schools couldn't compete with.
But while tradition was key in solidifying Dorton's pledge Friday, the Trojans' efforts to upgrade and modernize their success in athletics didn't hurt.
Dorton got one final look at USC last weekend on an unofficial visit before making his commitment.
"The McKay Center was beautiful," Dorton said. "I've never seen anything like that. There's a lot of high technology as far as the training room, the weight room and stuff like that. It was real pretty."
His role in the Trojans' new 5-2 defense was also something that interested him. Dorton had seven sacks and 97 total tackles in a similar defense a year ago.
"They want to use me the way my school uses me now, so it's intriguing to me," he said.
Next year, USC will lose starting outside linebackers Morgan Breslin and Devon Kennard. Replacing those versatile defenders off the edge is something Trojan recruiters Tee Martin and Orgeron have spoken to Dorton about frequently.
"We've talked about the number of ends and backers that are leaving," Dorton said. "We've talked about a lot of things, but that's been the main focus -- playing early with those guys gone."
With the addition of Dorton, USC now has eight players verbally committed in the class of 2014. Four of those are four-star prospects.
Dorton said he will still take official visits to the two schools -- Washington and Arizona State, besides USC -- that he'd penciled in previously. So today's pledge won't put a complete end to the recruiting process.