Napavine’s soon-to-be senior lineman Keith Olson announced his verbal commitment to the University of Southern California (USC) on Twitter Tuesday night.
Olson, at 6-foot-6, 285-pounds, is a 3-star offensive tackle and the 18th-ranked prospect in the state for the class of 2022.
He’s the first Class 2B player from Washington state to commit to a Power-5 school since 2012, according to 247 Sports.
He anchored a formidable Tigers line this season, paving the way to a 5-1 overall record that included five-straight victories to end the season and culminating in an unofficial regional championship victory.
Olson had six other Division-I scholarship offers, including Oregon State University where his father, Kurt Olson, played linebacker. But Keith said his family had his support no matter where he committed.
Olson said it was USC's offensive line coaches that swayed his decision the most. Clay McGuire, USC’s head offensive line coach, has ties to Washington after spending six years as Washington State University’s offensive line coach.
“Every o-line coach, they’re all great guys,” Olson said. “Coach McGuire, he knew the Washington area pretty well and we got along pretty good. He’s a small-town guy.”
Olson took his official campus visit to USC on June 19, six days after visiting Utah and a week before heading to Oregon State.
He admits he was skeptical of how much he’d enjoy southern California and the big-city lights of Los Angeles. He soon found out that USC’s campus felt like it’s own separate entity from L.A.
“It’s called USC Village and you walk out of there and it’s like across the crosswalk and you’re at the Coliseum,” Olson said. “The Coliseum’s real nice, the facilities are great, the weight room’s good. It’s nice.”
It’s been a heck of a journey for a Napavine kid who didn’t even like sports when he was younger. He certainly never imagined he’d one day be committing to a USC team that has won 11 national championships.
He was always the big kid with little coordination and became frustrated with sports. But the now four-sport athlete (football, basketball, baseball and track and field) stuck with it and used motivation from his high school football and basketball coaches to keep pushing himself further and further.
He soon developed an unrivaled determination and work ethic, and by the end of his sophomore season, had built himself into one of the top football players in the state.
“As I got a little bit older, I started enjoying it a little bit more,” Olson said. “But I never imagined I would be going to USC.”
Now the weight of figuring out where he’s going to play next has been lifted — not that lifting weights has ever been a problem for him. But now he can focus solely on his final year of high school sports and prepare for his future career as a Trojan.
“It’s good knowing I’m going to have a spot for me after I’m done with high school,” Olson said. “I don’t have to worry about that anymore.”