USC Football Recruiting: What Leon McQuay's Verbal Means to the Trojans

Rick McMahanSenior Writer IJanuary 4, 2013

Leon McQuay III (photo from
Leon McQuay III (photo from

Okay Trojan fans, you can breathe a sigh of relief now.

In a classic case of "you win some, you lose some," Mission Viejo, Calif. athlete Max Redfield—to no one's surprise—committed to Notre Dame after being an early USC pledge.

Redfield, a 4-star prospect, had been playing a strange guessing game as to where he would wind up, but those who followed high school recruiting knew his verbal to the Irish was just a formality.

Of far more importance to USC was the announcement that 4-star safety Leon McQuay III would be joining the Trojans in 2013.

McQuay, ranked the No. 3 safety in the nation by ESPN and the No. 6 prospect at his position by, was an absolute must have for the Trojans after Redfield decided to take his game to South Bend.

Now the future in the defensive backfield is once again very bright for USC as McQuay will be paired with top prospect Su'a Cravens, another 2013 Trojan recruit.

In McQuay, the Trojans get an extremely athletic safety who has incredible upside as well as a frame (6'1", 185 pounds) that can easily put more weight on at the next level.

But the verbal from the Seffner, Fla. prep star means so much more to the Trojans.

After a disappointing season capped off by an equally frustrating loss in the Sun Bowl to Georgia Tech, USC had spent the last couple of weeks hemorrhaging former verbal recruits who decided to check out other programs.

First, defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes opened his recruiting back up and then this week, wide receiver Sebastian Larue decided to do the same.

All of a sudden, it looked like USC's top-five class was in jeopardy of falling apart.

That changes with McQuay's nod to the men of Troy.

Although Lane Kiffin and his staff still have some ground to make up—especially in the case of Vanderdoes, who may still wind up with USC—the Trojans are back on the right side of the ledger when it comes to recruiting news.

As for the loss of Redfield and Larue, Trojan fans will tell you that if they don't want to be here, good riddance.

And they are right.

Instead, quality players like Leon McQuay will venture west to take their place.

And not only on the field but in the hearts of the fans of those who follow the cardinal and gold and who know just how important his verbal is to a program that hasn't had a lot of good news recently.