Stovall springs to decision

Lancaster (Calif.) four-star athlete Melquise Stovall commits to USC Friday, becoming the Trojans third commitment in as many days

Lancaster (Calif.) Paraclete four-star athlete Melquise Stovall had more than feeling at the USC spring game a week ago.

While Stovall appeared torn on where to go for college three weeks ago after an unofficial visit at Cal, the 5-foot-8, 180-pound receiver/running back had an epiphany last Saturday.

Stovall’s seven-on-seven team head coach, and co-founder of 4th Quarter Sports, D’Vah Thomas, knew a commitment wouldn’t be far off.

“The morning of the USC spring game is when he said, ‘Coach, I think it’s time,’” said Thomas. “We had breakfast together and the morning of the spring game is really when it triggered for him.

“So by the end of the spring game, it was over and he had committed to USC. But I think he wanted to wait a while before it went public. As his mentor, I could only support him.”

USC running backs coach Johnny Nansen visited Paraclete High School Wednesday. One hesitation Stovall had with USC was how the Trojans wanted to use him within their offense.

Cal and Washington both wanted Stovall as a slot receiver — the position he prefers to play in college. While USC was recruiting him almost exclusively as a running back, Nansen and the coaching staff revealed a more detailed plan at the spring game of how they intend to use Stovall all over the field.

“Those other colleges did a good job recruiting him hard, but I think Melquise’s thing was to go to a college and compete at a high level,” said Thomas. “He felt USC was ultimately the highest level offer he had.

“He wanted a high level of competition on and off the field because the academics at USC are so strong as well. He felt that was the best fit for him and where he wanted to be.”

While Thomas coaches Stovall in the off season for 4th Quarter Sports, he coaches against him during the season. Thomas is also the recruiting coordinator and a assistant coach at Salesian High School.

“I coached against him when we had Marquise Ware and Jamardre Cobb,” said Thomas. “Melquise is phenomenal.

“He’s a student of the game, he’s smart, he’s athletic, he’s quick and he’s tough. He is everything you want in a football player. Everything he does on the football field he does with a purpose. He’s a great football player.”

In USC’s offense, Thomas sees Stovall being a threat from multiple positions.

“I think they can use him like Adoree (Jackson),” said Thomas. “He can even play a little defense too. He’s close with Coach (Keith) Heyward and Coach Heyward has made a big impact in his recruitment.

“He’s been on the kid and let him know if he wants to play defense, he can also. Melquise is that much of an athlete where they can use him on offense and defense. I think they would more on offense though just because he is so smooth and dynamic.

“For our seven-on team he plays slot, running back, flanker, spilt end, cornerback and safety. He’s our No. 1 athlete on our seven-on-seven team.”

That seven-on-seven team will be traveling all over the West Coast this summer. While Stovall plans on being a midyear graduate, he has expressed a desire to still take a few official visits before enrolling in college.

“I don’t know if he’ll take any official visits during the season,” said Thomas. “He’s getting ready to be an early enrollee and with his team focused on the season, it makes it difficult to go o visits.

“I know we’re doing a college tour with our seven-on-seven team this spring and summer. We’ll hit a couple of tournaments and then visit some Pac-12 schools and a couple of Mountain West schools too.

“We’ll visit Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, San Jose State, Oregon, Oregon State, San Diego State, Cal and Washington.”

Stovall had 1,600 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior, hauling in 21 receptions for 415 yards as a receiver. He had 2,450 all purpose yards last season.

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