"I feel it's the right place and the right situation,'' Woolridge, who was granted a medical waiver by the NCAA earlier this year and will graduate with his degree in sociology in May, said Saturday. "I believe everything happens for a reason. Coach (Bruce) Pearl was very intense and verbal, Coach (Cuonzo) Martin had real hard practices and stressed defense, so I think I'm prepared to play for Coach O'Neill.
"It's kind of funny how things work out.''
Woolridge, known as "Swiperboy" when he performs rap music, wrote and recorded a song at UT called: "Never leave you like Kiffin,'' a reference to the controversial departure of former Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin for Southern Cal after the 2009 season.
"I haven't talked to Coach Kiffin yet, but Coach O'Neill said he and Coach Kiffin talked about it, and they thought it was pretty funny,'' Woolridge said.
O'Neill coached at Tennessee 1994-97.
The 6-foot-9, 215-pound Woolridge, originally from Sherman Oaks, Calif., said the Trojans plan to utilize him at small forward, where he can take advantage of his 3-point shooting abilities and the potential for a mismatch by virtue of his length.
Woolridge played 93 games at UT, starting 20. He scored 300 points, an average of 3.2 per game.
Woolridge spent most of last season at power forward and center for the Vols, playing in 25 games and starting four. He averaged 4.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. He scored 17 points in UT's loss at Kentucky, hitting five consecutive 3-point shots in the first half.
But Woolridge will probably always be best known for spearheading the Vols' 76-68 win over then-No. 1 and undefeated Kansas on Jan. 10, 2010. Woolridge scored 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.
"I only have one year, so I wanted to find a place where I fit in, and the only thing USC doesn't have his a three man,'' Woolridge said. "It's big for me to come back to the West Coast. My mom and family are happy.''
Woolridge had narrowed his choices to Wake Forest, UNLV, UTEP, New Mexico and the Trojans after deciding to leave Tennessee.
Woolridge is UT's second transfer since the season ended. Freshman guard Wes Washpun is returning to his home state to play for Northern Iowa.
Mike Strange contributed to this report.