4-star quarterback visits USC

Carmel, IN dual-threat QB Morgan Newton, one of the top quarterback prospects in America this recruiting year, made an unofficial visit to South Carolina earlier this week and came away impressed with what the Gamecocks have to offer. Read inside as Newton tells GamecockAnthem.com how he enjoyed his time in Columbia and where USC now stands in the race for his services.

The 6'5", 215 pound Newton, who is rated by Scout.com as the no. 7 quarterback prospect in the country this year, has garnered early offers from Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Kentucky, Virginia, South Carolina, Clemson and Penn State.

South Carolina jumped into the mix with an offer last week, and Newton made the trek to Columbia on Wednesday afternoon to get his first look at what USC has to offer.

"We visited South Carolina on Wednesday," said Newton. "It went pretty well. I got to talk with Coach Spurrier, Coach Spurrier Jr., and Coach Reaves. I got to see some of the campus and talk to the strength coach. Overall, it was a pretty good visit."

According to Newton, one of the highlights of the trip was talking with USC head coach Steve Spurrier.

"I got to talk with Coach Spurrier. He's real cool. We talked about recruiting in general. We talked about the quarterbacks they have now and the quarterbacks they're recruiting. Spurrier also talked about the overall direction of the program," he said. "One of the things Spurrier said he's attracted to is my ability to run and throw. He said when the play breaks down it would be nice to have a quarterback that can run. Spurrier has a pass-first offense, but the ability to run and throw is something he's looking for."

Following his time at USC, Newton said he's gained a much better feel for what South Carolina is all about.

"I definitely learned a lot more about South Carolina. Before the trip I knew they had Coach Spurrier, but once you get down there you get to have a feel about the whole city, the program, and the University," he said. "It's obvious that they're a program on the rise. With Coach Spurrier and his knowledge and history, he's a guy that is always going to give you a chance to win. I know he's going to throw the ball. Last year they were in a lot of games that they could have won. I definitely learned a lot more about them."

Newton said that Coach David Reaves, his USC recruiter, plans to come watch him practice at his school in May during the evaluation period, and he's considering making a return trip to South Carolina in July.

While the Gamecocks made a good first impression on Newton, the highly touted signal-caller is not yet ready to name any favorites in the race for his services.

"Right now I'm just getting out to see some places. In May we'll see who all is really interested when they come to watch me throw. After that we might be able to narrow down the list a little bit."

Newton isn't sure when he'll come to a final decision on his college choice, but he does know several factors that he'll look for in a school when the time does come to make his pledge.

"I don't really have a timeframe, but when the decision is right and we feel everything is right, that's when I'll make (a commitment)," he said. "I want to feel comfortable with the coaching staff and what they're doing education-wise. I'll look at the quarterback development so I can possibly go to the NFL. Coach Spurrier is one of those guys that's proven he can get quarterbacks to the NFL. Those are some of the things I'll be looking at when it comes time to make a choice for a school."

Newton closed by describing what strengths he brings to the football field as a quarterback.

"I feel as if one of my strengths is being versatile. I can throw and run at the quarterback position. Obviously I can do some things in the shotgun, things under center, and the spread. Having the ability to run helps that. I have a 4.52 forty time."

In his junior season, Newton completed 124 of 213 passes for 1,900 yards and 25 touchdowns. He also rushed for 750 yards and 11 touchdowns. Morgan, who boasts a 3.5 GPA, is a scholar athlete and honor roll student who projects as a full qualifier.

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