ST. PETERSBURG — Armwood safety Leon McQuay III has verbally committed to USC.
The four-star senior announced his decision during Friday’s nationally-televised Under Armour All-America Game at Tropicana Field.
McQuay, a 6-foot-2, 183-pound athlete, is one of the country’s top safeties. ESPN ranks him as the nation's No. 32 overall player, and Rivals lists him No. 19 nationally.
McQuay chose the Trojans over Florida State, Vanderbilt, Oregon and Michigan, but he said little about his recruitment this week leading up to his announcement. McQuay plans to enroll in college early and will spend his last day in Tampa on Jan. 9.
He’ll join another former Hillsborough County standout with the Trojans. WR Nelson Agholor – a Berkeley Prep and Under Armour alum – ranked third on the team with 340 receiving yards on 19 catches and scored three touchdowns as a true freshman at USC this fall.
“Do I want him to go on the West Coast? Hell no,” his father, Leon McQuay Jr., said before the game. “I’d rather he be right here in Tampa. But a kid like that, you have to let him go.”
McQuay earned all-Suncoast honors from the Times each of the past two seasons. He recorded five interceptions and 54 tackles this fall and had three interceptions – including one for a touchdown – during the Hawks’ 2011 state championship run.
Verbal commitments are non-binding until recruits sign letters of intent in February.
John C. Cotey contributed to this report.