Damien Mama is a 5-star offensive lineman from California who can play guard and tackle. At 6'4" and 370 pounds, Mama has rare size and strength for the trenches.
However, he also is a gifted athlete who is light on his feet for a big man. Mama fires off the ball to powerfully engage with defensive linemen before using his strength to maul them. He also flashes solid agility in short areas to protect the passer, plus he has a great work ethic.
A wanted man on the recruiting trail, Mama has USC among his top schools, per 247Sports. The Trojans have a great shot to land him due to a few key reasons.
A key element in Mama's recruitment is the Polynesian culture of a program, according to a June report by Lindsey Thiry of Fox Sports Next (subscription required).
USC has a rich history of Polynesian players having success, as players such as Troy Polamalu, Lofa Tatupu, Rey Maualuga and Junior Seau are all former Trojans. The current roster has several Polynesian players, so Mama would culturally fit right in at Heritage Hall.
The Trojans fired Lane Kiffin in September, but Mama was not affected by the decision to give the young head coach the boot.
He did not have a close relationship with the former head coach, per Anna Hickey of FoxSportsNEXT.com (subscription required), as Mama's recruitment is being handled by several assistant coaches at USC.
Many recruits cringe whenever a head coach is fired, especially if they have a close relationship with him. However, it doesn't appear Kiffin's dismissal had much of a negative impact on Mama.
Anyone who has followed the Trojans' program knows that Ed Orgeron is USC's best recruiter. Orgeron is also known as a player's coach who knows how to motivate anyone.
He is now the interim head coach in Troy, and he's made his mark on the team. Orgeron has the Trojans loose and having fun again, which has given them new energy since Kiffin's firing.
With a 6-1 record, the ace recruiter has a solid chance to get the permanent job.
As Orgeron has breathed new life into the Trojans, they have gone a roll. Aside from a loss at Notre Dame, USC has won six games by playing spirited football since an embarrassing 62-41 defeat at Arizona State.
The Trojans' biggest victory came on November 16 over a highly ranked Stanford team. USC seems to have regained its famous swagger and mojo, which will help attract elite prospects like Mama once again.
A former Alabama pledge, 4-star offensive lineman Viane Talamaivao officially flipped to USC last week. This was big news, as 'Bama rarely loses a commitment, plus it signaled that the Trojans were on their way back to regaining momentum on the recruiting trail.
Talamaivao also is a close friend of Mama, according to Greg Biggins of Scout.com (subscription required). With both players being so tight, and with both being offensive linemen, it may be hard for Mama not to sign with USC.
USC offers Mama a chance to stay right at home, as the campus is not far from his home in southern California. While staying near home is not the best thing for every recruit, it appears to be a potentially great move for Mama.
His friends and family would get to see him play while he would be in an environment and culture that is not foreign to him.
Another reason why Mama could opt for Troy is because he grew up a fan of the program.
The Trojans are Mama's childhood favorite team, according Greg Biggins of Scout.com (subscription required). The chance to play for the team you grew up idolizing as a kid is always hard to pass on. Also, Mama's family has a lot of USC fans, says Recruiting Nation of ESPN.com (subscription required).
Mama is featured on the 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map. Use this interactive resource to track his recruitment through National Signing Day!