Profile: Christian Rector
Position: Outside Linebacker
Location: Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola
Weight: 235 pounds
Recruiting: Rector grew up a big USC fan and the only surprise to his commitment was how long he took to make it. The Trojans offered in early March but Rector took his time and said he didn't want to make an emotional or quick decision. He said it wasn't a football decision, what put the Trojans over the top for him was the academic support, alumni support and networking after his playing days were over. Location played a minor role but Vanderbilt was actually the No. 2 choice for him.
What to Like: Rector has a solid frame, shows good quickness getting up the field and advanced technique for a young lineman. He has a chance to develop in to a strong pass rusher at the next level as he already uses his hands well to keep opposing lineman off him, closes very well and has a non-stop motor to him. He has the strength to stand up well against the run and does a nice job of taking on and shedding blockers but is even more affective running down plays from behind. His frame will be able to hold another 25 pounds or so easily and he offers the versatility to play as an OLB in a 3-4 or a traditional DE in a 4-3 set.
Areas for improvement: Rector plays as a full time defensive end for Loyola but said he'll come in to USC as an outside 'backer. That will be an adjustment for him as he has never had to play in space before so doing things like dropping back in to coverage, changing direction and covering backs and tight ends will probably be a little rough at first. Saying that, Rector will likely be more of a pass rushing OLB than a SAM so his role shouldn't change too drastically but will still require him to improve his overall athleticism.
Overall Analysis: Rector was a solid pickup for the Trojans and fills a specific role very nicely. If the Trojans play a base 3-4, which is what it sounds like right now, Rector will fit in very nicely as a pass rushing specialist. He has the frame, long arms, toughness and motor to get to the quarterback. He'll need some time to get stronger and fill out his upper body but the potential is definitely there. With the college level coaching he has gotten at Loyola, he'll come in to USC a lot further ahead, technique wise, than most freshman and should make a smooth transition to the college game.