Class of 2018 quarterback Matt Corral doesn’t remember his exact age at the time, but he does recall walking down the tunnel of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as a child. There to watch his older brother, David, a signal-caller at Ventura (Calif.) Buena at the time, participate in a quarterback showcase, it was then that he made a bold statement to his father.
“As I was walking out of the tunnel I remember telling my dad that I was going to play on that football field one day,” Corral said.
Fast forward to the present, and with the Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian standout having given a verbal pledge to USC late last week, Corral is well on his way to making good on his prediction.
A budding star, Corral threw for 3,283 yards and 36 touchdowns with six interceptions, while also rushing for 414 yards and five touchdowns this past season. The 6-foot-2 Corral fell in love with the Trojans program at the age of seven after seeing former quarterback John David Booty lead USC to a victory on television one Saturday.
But his long-time affinity for USC was just one of the many factors that made his decision to commit to the Trojans an easy one to reach, even if he is still in just his sophomore year of high school.
“USC had everything that I needed and wanted, and the same thing for my parents,” said Corral, who plans to major in business. “My parents were comfortable with that school, with me going there. If a school has everything that I need and want, and it has what I want athletically, why look somewhere else?”
Clay Helton and his staff also played a significant role in luring Corral to USC. Back in October, when Helton was still coaching under an interim tag, the Trojans became the very first program to extend an offer to the young passer. Offers followed from Texas A&M, UCLA, and just within the past two weeks, Michigan, but a recent unofficial visit to USC helped seal the deal.
“He’s always been very welcoming to me,” Corral said of Helton. “Plus, one of my good friends is Michael Pittman, who is up there now. And I was just hanging out with him, [USC athletic director] Pat Haden and Clay Helton, and I just had a good time. I just had a good time with everybody there.”
And that includes Tyson Helton, the new Trojans quarterback coach who outlined exactly how Corral would fit into USC’s offensive system.
“… He brought me into his office and we were breaking down film, and that was just unreal to me,” said Corral, who was told he will be the only quarterback that USC will take in his class. “It was my first time breaking down film with a college coach. We went over the type of scheme that USC is going to be running. He told me 70 percent gun and 30 percent under center, and that’s what I run now in high school.”
Corral, as the first piece of the puzzle in USC’s 2018 class, fully intends to get in the ear of other potential Trojans targets, including one particular running back who has gathered quite a bit of attention himself.
“T.J. Pledger (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade), he’s a big-time running back that USC has already offered,” Corral said. “He’s one of my best friends, and I’m already talking to him about USC.”
Now in the midst of the offseason, Corral is actually just as busy as ever as he looks to continue to refine his passing skills, while also running the 100m, 200m and 4X200m for Oaks Christian’s track and field team.
“Right now I’m running track every day, and then I throw every day,” Corral said. “I also lift Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Some days I have three workouts a day.”
Of course, one thing Corral doesn’t need to spend any more time or energy on is the recruiting process. Firmly committed with no intention of wavering down the road, it’s safe to say that he’s all USC.
“It’s just a dream come true,” Corral said.