Tag:T.J. McDonald
Posted on: December 21, 2011 8:06 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:46 pm
 

T.J. McDonald returning to USC for senior season

The Trojans may have lost offensive tackle Matt Kalil and defensive end Nick Perry early to the NFL, but they can take solace in the fact that junior free safety T.J. McDonald will be returning for his senior campaign.

McDonald, the son of former Southern Cal All-American and San Francisco 49er Tim McDonald, announced via an interview at  USCTrojans.com the news Wednesday afternoon.

The video, which can be seen below and by following this link, as well, shows McDonald in full USC regalia answering various questions about his decision, the role his father and head coach Lane Kiffin played in the decision and what, if any, impact T.J.'s choice may have on Southern Cal's other prominent junior known to be considering making the NFL leap, junior quarterback Matt Barkley.

McDonald cites both team and personal goals as seasons why he made the choice to return. The potential to play in a bowl game as well as match his father's All-American pedigree, compete for the Thorpe Award and get his degree are specifically mentioned.

Though McDonald is rated as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 free safety potentially available for the 2012 draft, the decision is a sound one. McDonald, who like former USC standout Taylor Mays, is at his best driving downhill towards the line of scrimmage, would be challenging a relatively strong class of senior safeties and is likely to enter next year as the elite prospect at his position.

McDonald finished 2011 with 67 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss. The 6-2, 205 pound junior led the team with three interceptions and also blocked a kick and recovered a fumble in earning First Team All-Pac-12 honors this season.







Posted on: December 16, 2011 3:45 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:47 pm
 

Miami loses two more to NFL

A couple of weeks ago I predicted that the first underclassment to declare early for the NFL draft might come from Miami and Southern California. This was not only because of the fact that both programs are consistent producers of talent but also because neither was going to be playing in a bowl game this year.

I anticipated a few 'Canes and Trojans might leave early. Instead, it is quickly proving to be a case of mass exodus from both programs -- which continued on Friday with the news that offensive tackle Brandon Washington and defensive end Olivier Vernon were leaving Miami for the NFL.

They join redshirt sophomore running back Lamar Miller, wide receiver Tommy Streeter and defensive tackle Marcus Forston in former 'Canes leaving Al Golden's program for the NFL since the end of the season.

Southern Cal, likewise has already seen two prospects leave early -- offensive tackle Matt Kalil and defensive end Nick Perry. Quarterback Matt Barkley and safety T.J. McDonald are also known to be strongly considering making the leap.

Of the two newest underclassmen leaving Coral Gables, Washington is the more highly regarded pro prospect. The 6-4, 320 pound Washington has starred for the Hurricanes at left tackle and left guard. Though he played well outside at tackle this season, most project him back inside at guard in the NFL. Washington has a short, stock build. He is surprisingly light on his feet and plays with intensity and physicality. The feeling among scouts is that Washington could play outside at the next level, but he could become a Pro Bowl caliber guard.

Washington had previously told members of the media that he was returning to school, explaining that he had not even petitioned the NFL for a grade, was excited about the progress Miami was making and was committed to earning the college degree that no one else in his family had previously attained.

The lure of NFL dollars, however, must have proven too much for Washington. He is currently behind only Stanford's David DeCastro (who also is leaving school early) among NFLDraftScout.com's 2013 guard prospects.

Vernon is a very surprising choice to leave early considering that he was suspended for the first six games of the season due to taking accepting innappropriate benefits from a booster and registered just 18 tackles on the season. The 6-3, 265 pound true junior had flashed earlier in his career, recording 10.5 tackles for loss and six sacks a year ago. Vernon has an explosive burst off the snap but still needs a lot of technical work to earn consistent playing time at the pro level. He is viewed as a prospect potentially capable of making the switch to outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme, which does help his cause.

At this early point, however, Vernon is only ranked 29th among defensive ends in the 2013 class and thus not even a surely draftable commodity.
Posted on: December 2, 2011 1:30 pm
 

Barkley, Kalil not only Trojans exploring NFL

Considered possible top five picks in next April's NFL draft, it should come as no surprise that Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley and left tackle Matt Kalil are considering leaving school early.

According to multiple sources, these aren't the only Trojans exploring their options.

Defensive end Nick Perry, a 6-3, 250 pounder in the midst of a breakout campaign is also strongly considering making the jump to the pros. I've been told that if Perry receives a first round grade, the decision has essentially been made. Even if the grade he receives from the NFL Advisory Committee is "a little lower than [first round], he'd still likely go."

Perry led the Pac-12 with 9.5 sacks through the regular season. He also has 13 tackles for loss among his 54 stops, which ties him for third in the conference and three forced fumbles. While slimmer than scouts might want as a full-time defensive end in the 4-3 alignment, Perry's size and athleticism may make him perfectly suited to transition to outside linebacker for a 3-4 club.

Free safety T.J. McDonald is also strongly considering making the leap to the NFL early. The son of former USC All-American and San Francisco 49ers' All-Pro safety Tim McDonald, the 6-2, 205 pound Trojan star has a build and reputation as a big hitter reminiscent of former USC standout Taylor Mays. McDonald has proven to be more comfortable in coverage than his former teammate, however, and has better ball skills. He leads the team with three interceptions this year and had three in 2010, when he earned Second Team All Pac-10 honors in just his first season as a starter. McDonald led the Trojans in tackles (89) in 2010. He finished third this season with 67 stops, including 2.5 for loss.

Perry is currently rated 30th overall on my Big Board and is sixth overall among defensive ends on NFLDraftScout.com's rankings.

McDonald is my 40th rated prospect and ranks second behind only Alabama's Mark Barron among NFLDraftScout.com's 2012 free safety prospects.


 
 
 
 
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