But while USC hadn't offered McDonald yet, UCLA did, doing so after their 1-Day Camp earlier this month.
On Thursday, McDonald decided to blaze his own trail and committed to UCLA.
"I committed to Coach (Rick) Neuheisel and he told me he was real excited, and to stay in touch, and to get down there soon and he welcomed me to the Bruin Family," said McDonald. "I plan to take another visit down there next week and check it out when we drop T.J. off."
McDonald had felt a strong pull from the Bruin coaches ever since they picked up the interest in him, led mainly by his recruiter, Todd Howard.
"I think what pulled the trigger was me going down there for the spring game, and going to the camp, and the interest that they had in me," said McDonald. "It seemed like the school for me."
Growing up in an SC family, McDonald had always envisioned himself following in his families footsteps, but the opportunity that presented itself at UCLA was one he felt the most comfortable with.
"I think that growing up, I was in an SC family, and I got to hear all the stories, and then my brother is going there," said McDonald. "But once I got the offer from UCLA, I felt like it was right."
McDonald said his father was thrilled that he would have the opportunity to play in the Pac-10.
"He took it all in and he was real supportive about it," said McDonald. "He felt UCLA was the best fit for me, which was pretty exciting, being that he's a die-hard Trojan. And he supports me all the way. He said his hatred will be a little bit less now."
UCLA has recruited Edison well historically.
"Ricky Manning went to UCLA, Brandon Breazell had a great career there, and now Courtney Viney is blossoming into one of the best corners at the school, so we've had some history from Edison there," said McDonald.
McDonald said he's gleaned a lot from his father throughout the years. "I feel like him going through it, and him being at the highest level, he knows the path that I need to take and the way to get there," said McDonald. "Knowing that, it's huge for me."
McDonald got his first offer from Washington, and the Huskies made a big impression on him.
"With Washington, it was real close," said McDonald. "I had them as a huge favorite, because hey were the first school to offer me, and knew I could be that guy."
But ultimately, the closeness to home won out.
"UCLA is just close to home, and I got real comfortable in LA all the times we've gone down there," said McDonald. "UCLA made a huge impression on me, and I want to be a part of that."
His brother just being across town also was a bonus.
"Yeah, thats going to be cool too, we always talked about it," said McDonald. "It will be like he's right next door."
So how did T.J. take the news?
"He laughed," said McDonald. "He had a feeling I was going to go there all along. He said 'of all the schools, it had to be the Bruins'. SC clothes are lying around every where I walk. So I'm going to have to get some UCLA gear in here."
Through his brother, and the camp circuit, which he did as a sophomore, McDonald has gotten to know several of UCLA's players.
"I know Morrell Presley, I went to a bunch of camps with him, and then Randall Carroll too," said McDonald.
McDonald is 5-11 3/4 and 180, but his father and brother both have good size, and he thinks he's still growing.
"I don't think I'm done growing," said McDonald. "I might just end up having a spurt, and I might have second thoughts about being a corner, and maybe play safety. Or I can be one of those big corners."
McDonald's camp plans include a return trip to the B2G Elite Football Program next week, then back to Fresno to work with Edison during their summer league.
McDonald is a three-star safety by Scout.com, and is another in a long line of stellar defensive backs for Edison.
As a 2008 junior at Edison, McDonald had 32 catches for 627 yards and nine touchdowns and ran for two more touchdowns. Defensively, he had 82 tackles, six pass deflections, three sacks and two picks.
BRO will have more from McDonald.