USC Trojans: Leon McQuay

A back-to-back secondary challenge 

August, 26, 2013
LOS ANGELES -- With USC’s 2013 season opener at Hawaii just a handful of tropical sunsets away, all conversation regarding the inexperienced Trojans secondary seems as guarded as King Kamehameha's Palace.

There is the sense that the USC secondary has improved in fall camp from its unimpressive spring performance, but it’s sometimes difficult to measure growth when the Trojans’ defensive backfield is dissected daily by two future NFL wide receivers in Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor and two pro-bound tight ends in Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer.

While the USC receiving unit has the ability to make most collegiate secondaries appear hopelessly inadequate, the question remains: Has the Trojans’ secondary matured enough against the passing game in fall camp to transition from a liability to a contributing asset?

LOS ANGELES -- The USC Trojans held a full-pads practice Saturday in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which included a 52-play scrimmage that was dominated by the defense.

“It was great to see the defense come out with such a physical mindset and execute so well,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “The defensive coaches have done a good job of getting them ready through the first week. I thought things were really good up front, Hayes Pullard was strong in the middle, and Lamar Dawson was the MVP of the day because he was so aggressive against the run.”

Dawson led the way with six tackles, including two tackles for loss, while Morgan Breslin and Su’a Cravens each added four tackles. All four of Breslin’s tackles went for a loss, while Pullard added two tackles for loss. The defense also had five sacks.

The offense was without quarterback Max Wittek and wide receiver Marqise Lee, both of whom were held out of the scrimmage after suffering knee injuries during the drills session before the scrimmage. Wittek's knee was rolled up on while he held during a place-kicking drill, and Lee came down hard after making a catch in the end zone. Both stayed on the sideline for the rest of the day -- Wittek had an ice pack on his knee -- and Kiffin said they will get checked out by team doctors.

The offense struggled with multiple fumbles during the quarterback-center exchange as new center Max Tuerk continues to adjust to his new position.

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While the participation of 14 commits in all-star events over the weekend provided USC Trojans fans with a sneak peek of the nation’s No. 5-ranked class, the momentous pledge of ESPN 150 safety Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) on Friday at the Under Armour All-American Game was undoubtedly the highlight.

USC secured a much-needed second safety to pair with No. 1-rated Su’a Cravens (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta), who attended the U.S. Army All-American Bowl week activities but did not participate due to injury. Both McQuay and Cravens are early enrollees and will have the opportunity to compete for immediate playing time this spring following the graduation of safeties T.J. McDonald, Jawanza Starling and Drew McAllister.

McQuay became the 15th member of a recruiting class that recently lost two ESPN 150 prospects: defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Calif./Placer) and receiver Sebastian LaRue (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica). Former commit Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) officially switched to rival Notre Dame minutes before McQuay announced on the same chair. It was a major recruiting victory.

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ESPN 150 S McQuay commits to USC

January, 4, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- After four prospects decommitted from the USC Trojans since the beginning of November, the Trojans have finally got some good news as ESPN 150 safety Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) verbally committed to USC tonight during the Under Armour All-America Game.

The 6-foot-2, 183-pound four-star athlete selected the Trojans over Florida State, Oregon, Vanderbilt and Michigan.

As a senior, McQuay totaled 54 tackles and five interceptions on defense. He also added five receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown on offense.

McQuay, the nation’s No. 3 safety and a starter in Friday's UA Game, is expected to enroll early at USC and be eligible to play spring football.

With McQuay's decision, the Trojans have 15 verbal commitments, including 10 who are members of the ESPN 150. Each of the 15 commitments is ranked as a four-star or higher.

Conley decommits; what's next? 

November, 27, 2012
Michigan has lost the commitment of defensive back Gareon Conley (Massillon, Ohio/Washington), the No. 9 ranked cornerback prospect in the 2013 class. With 22 commitments for Michigan, there are roughly three spots open in this class.

The Wolverines have a few main targets out there, and a few prospects who could find themselves with a Michigan offer depending on how things play out.

Running back Derrick Green (Richmond, Va./Hermitage) is still a main target and has an in-home visit with Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson and defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery on Tuesday night. Green has seen two schools in his top list, Auburn and Tennessee, fire their head coaches, which can't hurt Michigan. The coaching staff has also reached out to former target and current USC commit Ty Isaac (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic), who also could be getting an in-home visit from the coaching staff.

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McQuay, Goodman could replace Redfield 

November, 4, 2012
The USC recruiting class had held steady for 99 days. It had filled to capacity some six months before National Signing Day, well before the start of the college football season.

Four-star athlete Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) was one of eight recruits to decide on USC in July alone. On July 18 he became a coveted final piece for a class that already included program building blocks such as No. 2-rated defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy), top-rated safety Su'a Cravens (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) and No. 2-rated pocket passer Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline).

On Sunday night, Redfield -- who had downgraded his stance on the Trojans to "soft" following an official visit to Notre Dame on Oct. 12 -- officially decommitted from USC.

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ESPN 150 DB McQuay sets visits 

September, 18, 2012
ESPN 150 defensive back Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) will visit Vanderbilt and Michigan during consecutive weeks in October, according to his father.

This weekend the 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior will take an unofficial visit to Florida State this weekend when the Seminoles host Clemson. He will follow up that trip with official visits to Vanderbilt on Oct. 13 and Michigan on Oct. 20.

"Those were trips we had penciled in for a while and now it looks like that's what is going to happen," said Leon McQuay Jr. "Leon is definitely looking forward to visiting both programs, as they have been at the top of his list for a while."

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WeAreSC Recruiting Mailbag 

September, 14, 2012
WeAreSC recruiting reporter Blair Angulo answers reader questions in his mailbag every Friday. Have a USC recruiting question of your own? Submit it here.

Zack Smith (Garden Grove, Calif.): (When it's all said and done, will Max Redfield be a Trojan?(

I think yes.

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Video: Leon McQuay III update on visits 

September, 2, 2012

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McQuay III names a top III 

June, 4, 2012
Safety prospect Leon McQuay (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) has decided to release his top three schools, and none is within 700 miles of his home.

Michigan, USC and Vanderbilt made the cut, and it's due largely to their music departments.

"Leon and his coach came up with the list. He's chasing the music thing and those three schools have the best music programs," said his father, Leon Jr. "If that's something that he's chasing then I can only be happy for him."

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