USC commit gets open, still open

REDONDO, Calif -- When four-star linebacker Mique Juarez committed to USC two months ago, it was a pledge he made in private to the coaching staff because of his unfamiliarity with the recruiting process. As his stock rises nationally, Juarez is still sorting out the possibilities.

Torrance (Calif.) linebacker Mique Juarez had a weekend that he will remember his entire life.

After a stellar performance at The Opening Regional in Los Angeles Sunday, Juarez not only received an invitation to the finals at NIKE Wolrd Headquarters in July, but an invitation to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl next January.

It was a day the USC commit could only dream of 24 hours earlier.

“I try not to look at it so much as just an achievement,” said Juarez. “I really try to look at it as motivation to keep going — to keep working harder. Anything can happen.

“You can lose your scholarship. I’m not where I want to be. I need to push and strive to get better. It’s great motivation because I know where I have to be to play in college. It’s a blessing and an honor.”

Even an hour into the camp Sunday, Juarez wasn’t sure if he was going to have a chance to be selected to The Opening Finals.

“I missed the first half of the camp, so I didn’t really know how the rest of the day would play out,” said Juarez. “I didn’t think there was a chance to get invited to The Opening, but once I got into drills, I felt anything could happen.

“I just wanted to work hard and do my best. I wanted to prove to everyone that I deserved to be out there and get an invite. I just showed my passion for football.”

Juarez committed to USC in January, although that commitment wasn’t meant to be public. With a desire to still visit other schools, Juarez has wavered from his pledge so much as maintain his interest in exploring his options.

“I’m keeping my options and USC knows that,” said Juarez. “I do want to play my freshman year and USC signed up a lot of guys last year. So I’m still seeing what other schools catch my eye.

Michigan and Notre Dame are two schools I want to see, but those will be official visits.”

Maintaining a soft verbal commitment with USC, his relationship with the Trojans staff still exceeds the familiarity he has with any other school. It was more than a year ago when USC offered Juarez a scholarship at their camp.

“The coaches stay in contact with me and have been good about talking with my parents,” said Juarez. “I feel like USC wants to now me more. They want to not only be close with me, but my family.

“They always want us to come up to the school and they welcome us. They keep pushing harder and harder to show me they want me to be a Trojan. USC really shows me a lot more love than other schools.” Top Stories