NCF On The Trail: Leon McQuay III

Tee Martin is USC's secret weapon 

February, 7, 2013
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While it’s safe to say signing day didn’t quite go as planned for the Trojans on Wednesday, there are still some positives to take away from it all -- most obviously the fact that although small in numbers, USC’s class is filled to the brim with talent.

[+] EnlargeMarqise Lee and Robert Woods
Icon SMITee Martin is one of USC's best recruiters, opening up a pipeline into the Southeast.
With an eye toward the future, there is one more reason to be optimistic if you’re a Trojans fan, and that’s the effort and ability showcased on the recruiting trail by one of the staff’s youngest coaches, Tee Martin.

Lured away from Kentucky in late February 2012, Martin was a hit with just about every player, parent and coach he came in contact with over the past year, solidifying his standing as one of the top up-and-coming recruiters in college football.

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ESPN 150 defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy) is no longer in limbo.


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Signing day primer: USC 

January, 23, 2013
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Team needs: With all-conference cornerback Nickell Robey declaring for the NFL draft and the graduation of safeties T.J. McDonald, Jawanza Starling and Drew McAllister, adding depth in the secondary is a pressing need for the Trojans. Given Matt Barkley’s departure, it was imperative that USC sign another quarterback to pair with Max Wittek and Cody Kessler.

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Scouts: McQuay fills need for USC 

January, 6, 2013
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With limited scholarships and a need for talent in the back-end, USC is certainly achieving success in this 2013 class. After securing a verbal from Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood), USC now has commitments from the No. 1 and 3-rated safeties, and despite some setbacks in this class, the Trojans have reloaded on defense and have secured a great overall group of talented players.

The future in the defensive backfield is very promising, as McQuay III will be paired with top prospect Su'a Cravens (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) to give USC two big, fast and athletic safeties.


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Long overdue for positive news, the USC Trojans finally got some Friday in the form of a commitment from highly coveted safety Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood), live during the Under Armour All-America Game in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Quite frankly, USC needed this one.

[+] EnlargeLeon McQuay
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comThe exit of Trojans defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin didn't faze four-star safety Leon McQuay.
Following a recent rough stretch -- both in recruiting and on the field -- the addition of McQuay to a dwindling class is both significant and encouraging. If the Trojans plan to regain the momentum they built in the summer, securing a pledge from the nation's No. 3 safety is a good start.

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- And then there were five.

Under Armour All-America Game officials have confirmed that Pomfret (Md.) McDonough four-star offensive tackle Na'Ty Rodgers will not announce his decision tonight’s game. Kickoff for the sixth annual game is at 5 p.m. ET and is broadcast on ESPN.

Rodgers tweeted late last night that he wasn’t going to announce his decision and likely would wait until signing day.

“I've decided to not announce tomorrow,” the tweet said. “Sorry folks.”

Rodgers was expected to decide between Maryland and South Carolina at the game, but now he’s going to wait. Oklahoma and Washington have also been in contention with Rodgers, who ranks as the nation’s No. 27 offensive tackle and the No. 9 player in Maryland.

Still scheduled to announce are four-star safety Leon McQuay III, four-star defensive end Ebenezer Ogundeko, four-star athlete Max Redfield, four-star linebacker Trey Johnson and four-star athlete Kendell Beckwith.

McQuay is expected to pick between Florida State and USC. Ogundeko lists Syracuse and Clemson as the favorites.

Redfield listed Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC as his finalists, but the Buckeyes aren't actively recruiting him and he should pick between the Irish and Trojans.

Beckwith will decide between LSU and Alabama. Johnson will choose from Ohio State, Tennessee and Florida, but the final pick will be between the Buckeyes and Vols.

Hackenberg, Olsen earn UA Game starts

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Black Team offense

Quarterback: Christian Hackenberg (Penn State)

Running back: Alvin Kamara

Receiver: Alvin Bailey (Florida), Robert Foster (Alabama), Damore'ea Stringfellow (Washington)

Tight end: O.J. Howard (Alabama)

Offensive tackle: Darius James (Texas), Denver Kirkland

Offensive guard: Grant Hill (Alabama), Joas Aguilar (Texas A&M)

Center: Hunter Bivin (Notre Dame)

Captains: Kelvin Taylor, Hunter Bivin, Robert Nkemdiche, Ben Boulware

Black Team defense

Defensive end: Robert Nkemdiche, Elijah Daniel

Defensive tackle: Greg Gilgmore (LSU), Kennedy Tulimasealii (Hawaii)

Inside linebacker: Ben Boulware (Clemson)

Outside linebacker: Alex Anzalone (Notre Dame), Matthew Thomas

Safety: Keanu Neal (Florida), Leon McQuay III

Cornerback: Vernon Hargreaves III (Florida), Tarean Folston (Notre Dame)

Black Team special teams

Long snapper: Tyler Kluver (Iowa)

Kicker/punter: Sean Covington (UCLA)

White Team offense

Quarterback: Kevin Olsen (Miami)

Running back: Keith Ford (Oklahoma)

Receiver: Laquon Treadwell, Ryan Green (Florida State), Jalin Marshall (Ohio State)

Tight end: Hunter Henry (Arkansas)

Offensive tackle: Derwin Gray (Maryland), Dorian Johnson (Pittsburgh)

Offensive guard: Patrick Kugler (Michigan), David Dawson (Michigan)

Center: Scott Quessenberry (UCLA)

White Team defense

Defensive end: Carl Lawson (Auburn), Joey Bosa (Ohio State)

Defensive tackle: Henry Poggi (Michigan), Kelsey Griffin (South Carolina)

Inside linebacker: Reuben Foster, Yannick Ngakoue

Outside linebacker: Trey Johnson

Safety: Max Redfield, Antonio Conner

Cornerback: Gareon Conley (Ohio State), Shaq Wiggins (Georgia)

White Team special teams

Long snapper: Brendan Turelli

Kicker: Ryan Santoso (Minnesota)

Punter: Shane Tripucka

Captains: Ryan Green, Hunter Henry, Patrick Kugler, Reuben Foster

ESPN 150 S McQuay set to decide Friday 

December, 30, 2012
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- ESPN 150 safety Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) will be making his college decision at the Under Armour All-America Game on Friday.


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The top cornerback at the 2012 Cal-State Game in Visalia, Calif., has been as advertised during the South team's practices this week.

ESPN 150 CB Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) has been a USC commit since April, but that hasn't stopped him from taking other visits and talking to other schools.

While there have been visits taken and rumors floating around for months, the No. 11 CB in the nation is still solid with the Trojans. Previous visits to Cal, Notre Dame and Washington did nothing to dissuade Hawkins from sticking with his dream school.

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Longtime commit Kenny Bigelow (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy) got a preview of his fast-approaching move to Los Angeles over the weekend and the No. 2-rated defensive tackle described his official visit to USC as the "best experience ever."

That's hardly a surprise, given that Bigelow has been one of the more vocal and loyal Trojans supporters since he became the first member of the current recruiting class last November.

"Seeing the McKay Center for the first time since it finished was probably my favorite part of the visit," Bigelow said. "I have never seen anything like that before. Hanging with the coaches and talking with the players was great. Coach O and I talked a lot. I sat in during some position meetings and we met one-on-one in his office. He laid out plans for me and told me what he wants me to do. He needs me to come in and make a difference right away."

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USC coaches visit with Max Redfield 

December, 17, 2012
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LOS ANGELES -- The USC Trojans made a strong push for a former commit Saturday night.

USC coaches Lane Kiffin, Marvin Sanders, Tee Martin, Kennedy Polamalu and John Baxter met with four-star athlete Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) during an in-home visit ahead of the fast-approaching dead period. Redfield decommitted from the Trojans on Nov. 4, about three weeks after his official visit to Notre Dame, but USC has shown a willingness to continue recruiting the No. 4-rated athlete.

[+] EnlargeMax Redfield
Erik McKinney/ESPN.comUSC coaches are making a late push for ESPN 150 athlete Max Redfield, who decommitted from the Trojans last month.
The coaches left Redfield's home at around 10 p.m. on Saturday. Their main selling point during the meeting: location.

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Weekend rewind: USC 

December, 17, 2012
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LOS ANGELES -- The first member of USC’s current class officially visited campus this weekend and could not have been happier.

“Best experience ever,” defensive tackle commit Kenny Bigelow said. “My host Leonard Williams was great.”

Bigelow, the No. 2-rated defensive tackle who committed to the Trojans last November, is scheduled to enroll shortly after the Jan. 5 U.S. Army All-American Game.

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DB Crawford plans visit to Boise State 

December, 16, 2012
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Defensive back James Crawford (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) would like to follow in the footsteps of his uncle Charles Woodson. And that means the 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior would like to find himself in Michigan’s class on signing day.


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After flirting with the NFL last year, Chip Kelly's name has been mentioned as a top target of many pro teams again this year. If he did take an NFL job, where would that leave the Ducks' recruiting efforts?

[+] EnlargeThomas Tyner
Quavondo/ESPNHSWhat would happen with Oregon's star RB commit Thomas Tyner if Chip Kelly went to the NFL?
ESPN 150 running backs Thomas Tyner (Aloha, Ore./Aloha) and Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) could look elsewhere. Tyner was very vocal on Twitter last year when there were reports Kelly was accepting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job. He would likely look at other schools. Wilson, meanwhile, has a great relationship with Oregon RB coach Gary Campbell, who would likely consider retirement if Kelly were to leave.

There is nothing but speculation at this point, but it is assumed the Ducks would move offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to head coach, leaving most of the staff and the Ducks' high-flying offense intact.

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Breaking down the USC visitors 

December, 6, 2012
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The first big recruiting weekend has finally arrived for the USC Trojans.

With five of the six early enrollees and two other top targets scheduled to be on campus this weekend, the Trojans can start to put the underwhelming 2012 season behind them and focus on putting the finishing touches on the 2013 recruiting class. Here’s a rundown of who’s expected to be in Los Angeles beginning on Friday:

QB Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) -- Fresh off capping an undefeated high school season with yet another state championship, the record-breaking Browne will step on the USC campus for the second time since summer. The signal-caller thoroughly enjoyed attending his first game at the Coliseum on Nov. 10 when the Trojans defeated Arizona State, but this three-day trip offers the opportunity to bond with fellow early enrollees.

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