So’oto joined Virginia as a graduate assistant when Bronco Mendenhall’s staff came to Charlottesville from BYU, and took over defensive line duties when Ruffin McNeill moved to Oklahoma. So’oto was in Mendenhall’s first recruiting class for the Cougars and had a brief journeyman career as an undrafted free agent in the NFL.
In recent days, So’oto began following a number of accounts on Twitter belonging to USC coaches, administrators, media figures, and recruits.
So’oto’s impact at Virginia has been especially marked in recruiting. Defensive linemen have been among UVA’s top signees in each class, with national top-75 prospect Jowon Briggs headlining the 2019 class along with in-state top-20 recruit Ben Smiley.
USC released former defensive line coach Chad Kauha’aha’a in early February after hiring Todd Orlando as the Trojans’ new defensive coordinator. Former defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast was fired after USC gave up 49 points to Iowa in a Holiday Bowl shellacking.
UPDATE: Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman is now echoing the report from Jamie Oakes: