He goes by the nickname “Solo” because it forms the shortened part of his first name. On Wednesday, Solomon Tuliaupupu could have earned the the nickname another way: He alone was the most significant development in Southern California football, and for USC, with a nod to classic Hollywood.
Tuliaupupu chose the Trojans ahead of scholarship offers from Notre Dame, UCLA and Oklahoma, as well as some 27 others. Of that group, the aforementioned three and the Trojans made up the quartet of the linebacker’s finalists.
“At USC it was about the Trojan family,” Tuliaupupu told ESPN after announcing his commitment, all while holding a King Kong figurine to honor the way his family plays football.
The newly-shaven head linebacker — who donated his formerly lengthy locks to a cancer charity — joins high school teammates J.T. Daniels and Amon-Ra St. Brown as critical addition to USC’s 2018 class.
In the end, the decision came down to the program that comprised the best fit for the 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker, who could emerge as a difference maker in 2018 and beyond.
The senior, who signed his scholarship paperwork at the school on Wednesday, is coming off a pair of truly dominant seasons for Mater Dei (Calif.), where he anchored a national championship defense during his senior campaign. Now he’s ready to move forward to major college football, at USC.