From the talks about the number two safety prospect Leon McQuay III, he can play any position in the secondary. He would be quite the cornerback, standing at 6’2” and weighing 185 pounds. His covering skills are good enough despite this size, but what teams like about him is how hard he hits, which is why safety is his ideal position. This is what the USC Trojans want him for.
McQuay has roamed the Armwood Hawks’ (Seffner, FL) defensive backfield and helped his team to a 7-3 record as well as finding themselves in a tie at the top of their conference. The defense he plays for has only been giving up 12.2 points per game and shutout three of their opponents. They will play their first playoff game this week against Largo High School (Largo, FL).
McQuay has recorded 31 solo tackles, 13 assists, four interceptions and a forced fumble this season, which are pretty solid numbers. What these stats don’t reflect is how many passes he’s broken up with his hard-hitting ability. As I said earlier, that’s what teams what him to do and which is why I think he will play safety in college.
His ability to cover receivers though makes him quite an asset. You want him to roam around and make plays, but when you’re blitzing he doesn’t become a liability if you need him to play some man. He’s also fast enough if you want him to come on a safety or a corner blitz. With how hard he hits, this could equal more fumbles as well.
Southern Cal’s coach Lane Kiffin is doing what he can to restore his Trojans to their former glory. He’s been bringing in some great recruiting classes and the talent is coming, they just haven’t been able to put it together on the field yet. One problem that could hinder McQuay coming is the amount of talent Kiffin has there right now. It’s unlikely that he would start immediately if he chooses the Trojans, which could make him sign somewhere else.
If McQuay does select Southern Cal, he would be joining a defense that’s good, but still needs to get better. I remember back in the early 2000s, when USC had a shut-down defense and an unstoppable offenseand they would blow everyone out. Times have changed and now they’re trying to get back there. Right now they are giving up 23.5 points per game, which is good enough to be 40th in the nation, but with the talent that they’re recruiting, it should be lower than that.
I think if Kiffin can convince McQuay, he could possible be redshirted his first year, but by his sophomore or junior year, I could see him being that big time safety that roams around, waiting to punish any receiver that decides to go over the middle. He will get a lot of work too in a Pac-12 where there are a lot of high-powered offenses.