From Staff Writer Ed Castro’s story earlier this week about REV football standout Kylie Fitts committing to USC
By Ed Castro Staff Writer
REDLANDS — Redlands East Valley football player Kylie Fitts had every intention of waiting a bit longer before deciding where he would play college football.
Then came Saturday when he spent the day at USC.
That was all it took as Fitts, a defensive lineman who has been sifting through NCAA Division 1 scholarship offers for the past several months, accepted an offer from USC on the Trojans’ final day of spring practices.
“I wanted to wait but I went out there before the spring game and I loved everything about it,” Fitts said.
Fitts will complete his prep career this season and enroll at USC in December.
“I’ve known for a while but I wanted to wait,” Fitts said. “The original plan was to set up a visit next month and then make the announcement.”
But the thrill of the trip to USC was too much.
“I talked with coach (John) Baxter and he explained it all to me,” Fitts said. “They set up an academic game plan for me and then I talked to athletic director Pat Haden. They took me to the new John McKay Center. It was an awesome experience.”
The announcement ended a grueling recruiting process.
“Kylie is not a kid that talks very much so I know it had to be a little overwhelming and probably a bit inconvenient at times,” Redlands East Valley coach Kurt Bruich said. “But when you are that good you will get that much attention.”
Fitts had plenty of offers.
“You name it … Notre Dame, Oklahoma; the big boys really came after him,” Bruich said.
It’s going to be a transition for Fitts, but it’s a transition Bruich believes he is ready for.
“He’d be fine anywhere, Bruich said. “He is beyond ready. He already has a college body.”
REV football’s upcoming season, however, may provide new challenges.
“What he has to realize is that the commitment comes with a tag on it,” Bruich said. “Now there will be a lot of of people who will want to block him and try to make a name for themselves. He has a target on his back.”
It was a big day for Redlands East Valley as well.
“Kylie is a tremendous athlete and this obviously is a feather in our cap here at Redlands East Valley and all the hard work Kurt and his staff have put into the program,” athletic director Rhonda Fouch said. “We are excited that he has verbally committed to the Trojans.
“I think next season will be an amazing one for him and our football program. So congratulations to Kylie.”
Fitts’ decision was made easier after a sit-down with his father.
“I probably decided two weeks ago when me and my dad were talking about everything,” Fitts said. “I’ve been a Trojan fan since I was little. We decided that was the school we wanted to go to.”
A quick encounter with USC coach Lane Kiffin reaffirmed his decision.
“I love him,” Fitts said. “After I committed he came over and gave me a hug. He congratulated me. It was just a cool experience.”
Graduating early also was part of the plan, Fitts said.
“I wanted to get it out of the way so that I can focus on my senior season,” he said. “I want to focus on my academics. I really want to focus on my team and leading them as far as we can go.”
Fitts was one of three high-profile recruits to embrace USC in April. He was joined by quarterback Max Browne (Skyline High School in Sammamish, Wash.) and Rancho Cucamonga defensive back Chris Hawkins.
For REV, winner of the Citrus Belt League each of the last three years, Fitts led the Wildcats last season withhad a team-high 8.5 quarterback sacks and 79 tackles.