Berkeley Prep's Agholor ends the suspense and signs with Southern Cal (UPDATED 2:45 P.M.)

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Wed. February 1, 2012 | Joey Knight | Email

Berkeley Prep's Agholor ends the suspense and signs with Southern Cal (UPDATED 2:45 P.M.)

On Tuesday night, Berkeley Prep senior Nelson Agholor missed a contested floater in traffic in the final seconds that would've given the Buccaneers basketball team an upset of crosstown nemesis Jesuit.

But 15 or so hours later, Agholor was right on the mark -- at least in the eyes of USC fans.

The three-way Buccaneers sensation brought the bay area's most suspenseful National Signing Day subplot to a nationally televised climax Wednesday morning by signing with the Southern Cal.

Agholor (6-foot-2, 180 pounds), who visited the Trojans' campus last weekend, said he'll play receiver at USC, adding the Trojans' plethora of talented receivers was actually an appealing factor. 

"I've always had a dream to be a Trojan, no matter what, throughout everything," said Agholor, who also visited Florida, FSU, Oklahoma and Notre Dame. "I loved every school; I was dealing with five great universities. But I always loved Southern Cal and I decided I wanted my dream to come true and be a Trojan."

With Berkeley's entire high school student body -- seated in the bleachers -- and an ESPNU audience watching, Agholor announced his decision at a table in the center of the school gymnasium, flanked by three fellow Berkeley signees on each side.

As he spoke with an ESPNU reporter, whom he heard through an earpiece, he pulled out a cardinal Trojan cap with a golden bill.

"It means so much to me," Agholor said. "Because if you asked me four years (ago) would I be in this position I would tell you no. I grew up with two older brothers (Felix and Franklin) that played sports. They were very athletic and they were great players. I was not even close to as athletic as them.

"But, you know the old saying, it's not what you know but who you know, and I met a great guy in (Berkeley coach) Dominick Ciao, and all he did was push me and move me in the right direction toward not really greatness, but on my way towards that."

Ciao's connections to USC go back nearly a decade. Between coaching stints at Jesuit and Berkeley (2004-06), the highly respected veteran was a special assistant to then-Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin -- who now has the same job at USC.

Perhaps not coincidentally, USC was the first school to offer Agholor. "Monte's a great man," Agholor said.

One of the most celebrated recruits in bay area history, Agholor -- a Nigeria native and the fourth of five children -- is ranked the nation's No. 18 prospect by Rivals.com, No. 47 by ESPNU and No. 61 by Scout.com.

In four years at Berkeley, he excelled at running back, cornerback and return specialist, collecting  4,732 rushing yards, 921 receiving yards, 12 interceptions and eight kickoff returns for TDs. 

He said Florida was his No. 2 choice.

"I love Coach (WillMuschamp,"  Agholor said. "We share very similar morals outside of football."

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