Southern California standout Damien Mama is recognized as one of the most dominant offensive linemen in the 2014 recruiting class. The 6'4", 370-pound St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif) senior, remains uncommitted and is currently considering scholarship offers from premier BCS programs throughout the nation.
Mama, listed as the country's No. 1 offensive guard in 247Sports composite rankings, is capable of contributing early in his collegiate career. The dominant blocker is weighing offers from UCLA, BYU, Wisconsin, Alabama, Ohio State and Wisconsin, according to 247Sports.
The 5-star prospect also picked up an offer from nearby USC in March. The Trojans remain in the mix, although the recent coaching change has impacted Mama's perception of that recruitment.
Mama joined Bleacher Report for a conversation centered on his nationwide recruitment and how he reacted to the dismissal of former USC coach Lane Kiffin.
Bleacher Report: I know it's been a long recruiting process but you're now getting to the point where it's time to start lining up official visits. Which campuses are you scheduled to visit?
Damien Mama: I'm definitely taking official visits to Notre Dame (Nov. 22), Alabama (Nov. 8) and Wisconsin (Oct. 12).
B/R: What stands out to you about those schools that led you to line up those trips?
DM: Those are places of best interest for me. School-wise, playing football, different things. They're schools I'm considering and I'm looking forward to finding out more about them.
B/R: You'll be touring various campuses across the country. What exactly are you looking to accomplish with each visit?
DM: It’s about figuring out where I can see myself living for 4-5 years. I want to find out what the campus atmosphere is like, especially on a game day. I want to learn as much as I can about the school, see the football facilities and the educational buildings.
B/R: Now that you've scheduled those three official visits, you still have room for a couple more. Do you have any plans to use one of those visits on a nearby school like UCLA or USC?
DM: No, I've been to both of those schools already (he attended camps at UCLA and USC this summer). I think I understand what they're about. I'm not really sure if I'll be visiting a school on the west coast. Maybe BYU.
B/R: You've had the attention of college football teams for a while. When did you receive your first offer?
DM: My first offer actually arrived during my sophomore season. I wasn't even on our varsity team yet. It was completely based off practice film. Colorado offered me. It was pretty surprising. It was an exciting moment.
B/R: At this point you have dozens of BCS-level offers. When did things really start to take off in your recruiting process?
DM: It definitely picked up when I was a junior. I started to get a lot of offers and a lot of mail. It hasn't really slowed down since.
B/R: You've listed USC among your favorites throughout this process. What was your reaction to the firing of head coach Lane Kiffin?
DM: At some point, I started thinking that (the firing) was going to happen. I just never expected for it to happen this fast and this early in the season.
B/R: Are the Trojans still in the picture despite the program's current transition?
DM: When I see the coaching change and what USC does next, I’ll have to evaluate the team. Until a coaching change happens, yes, it’s still a school I’m considering. I've always liked USC. That’s still how I feel.
B/R: I know you're used to talking about college, but how is your senior high school season at St. John Bosco going?
DM: It's going great. We're playing really well and working to get better everyday. I'm just enjoying putting in the work with my team. It's been fun.
MaxPreps.com ranks St. John Bosco as the nation's No. 4 team.