National signing day: Waiting pays off for Corona Centennial’s Tuasivi Nomura

CORONA, CALIF. -- FRIDAY, OCT. 20, 2017: Corona Centennial defensive back Chris Venable intercept
Centennial linebacker Tuasivi Nomura (42) watches as teammate Chris Venable intercepts a pass during the first quarter on Oct. 20, 2017.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Tuasivi Nomura wasn’t ready to make a decision in December.

The Corona Centennial linebacker was considering a handful of Division I schools, including Power Five programs Colorado, Iowa State and Arizona State. But less than a week before the early signing period opened Dec. 19, Nomura was offered a football scholarship by USC. That gave him pause. He needed to conduct more research and mull his decision longer. Plus, if the Trojans were offering this late, other schools might also show increased interest.

Nomura’s decision proved wise.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound tackling machine will decide on a college Wednesday after becoming one of the top prospects in Southern California. Schools increased their communication with Nomura. Kansas, Kansas State, Louisville and UCLA made him offers in January.


He had used three of his NCAA-allotted five official school visits before Christmas. He took weekend trips to Utah State, Iowa State and Colorado during the fall, but his patience led to him having the chance to take official visits to USC and UCLA. He will choose between the two rivals, Colorado and Iowa State, at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Nomura agreed that his positional versatility — he has been recruited at linebacker, safety and nickel back — likely led schools to circle back to him after assessing their needs following the first wave of national letter-of-intent signings. The pickings can be slim for programs trying to add depth at particular positions following the early signing period. Guys who might not fit what a school typically looks for — height, weight, speed, body type, etc. — may become more attractive.

Eighty-four of the top 100 California recruits, per the 247Sports composite rankings, signed in December. Only 12 Southern California prospects remained.

Some were committed but were waiting to assess coaching changes. JSerra receiver Tarik Luckett didn’t sign initially despite committing to Colorado in September. He wanted to see if his position coach, Darrin Chiaverini, was retained by new head coach Mel Tucker. Luckett took advantage of an NCAA rule change that permits prospects to take a second official visit to the same school if the program makes a coaching change. A trip to Colorado in mid-January reaffirmed his desires to join the Buffaloes despite a late push from Oregon recruiting him to play cornerback.


Lawndale running back Jordan Wilmore wanted to see the direction of USC’s offense before signing. Wilmore decommitted in January amid all the Trojans’ turnover on the offensive staff. He took official visits to Utah, UCLA and Arizona State, and is expected to pick among the three Wednesday.

The top unsigned California prospect, No. 4 Kyle Ford, is expected to sign with USC despite overtures from Oregon and Washington. The No. 35 prospect, 6-8 receiver Darren Jones, is committed to Utah but has to improve his academic standing to be eligible to play next season. Narbonne safety Jordan Patterson, No. 96, also must shore up his academic standing.

No. 42 Asa Turner (Washington), No. 82 Don Chapman (North Carolina) and No. 93 Cade Albright (Brigham Young) committed in the last two weeks. Santa Ana Mater Dei tight end Michael Martinez committed to UCLA last summer. The No. 52 California prospect didn’t sign in December but will officially become a Bruin on Wednesday.

No. 67 Jamaal Bell is choosing among a trio of Mountain West programs and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame’s McKel Broussard, No. 100, has interest from a handful of mid-major programs, including Rice and a recent scholarship offer from Texas El Paso.

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