Mique Juarez keeping his options open

Mique Juarez is a USC commit, but he plans on keeping his options open.

Torrance (Calif.) North four-star linebacker Mique Juarez recently showed off his skills on both sides of the ball in a scrimmage against Redondo Union High School.

The 6-foot-2, 222 pound athlete is being recruited almost exclusively as a linebacker, but he has worn many hats throughout his high school career.

As a freshman and sophomore, Juarez played cornerback before getting too big for the position. As a junior he moved inside a bit playing linebacker and some safety, depending on where he was needed. On offense he played quarterback during his sophomore season, but then switched to receiver last year when his team had a senior QB they felt comfortable with.

Heading into his senior season, no one on the squad can spin the football as good as Juarez, so he is moving back under center for his senior season.

During the scrimmage, Juarez showed off his arm slinging the ball all over the field. Right now he isn't a Pac-12 level quarterback, but one school on his list is recruiting him as a QB and even sent a coach to the scrimmage to check him out.

“The only school right now is BYU," he said after the scrimmage. "That's actually the position I was actually willing to play, and actually the position I wanted to play, but getting bigger and just getting faster and stronger to play linebacker, which is the position everyone wants me at, I’m taking it.”

It is rare for Juarez to ever come off the football field, but he doesn't mind the extra work.

"It’s not challenging at all, the only thing that I have to do is keep training and keep working hard," he said. "Just stay conditioned and have the stamina just to keep playing both ways, that’s the only thing I can help myself with, that’s how everything works.”

On the recruiting front, Juarez is getting a lot of attention from the West Coast schools.

Oregon State, Washington State, and Washington have been actually coming hard," he said. "And then there is USC and UCLA.”

Oregon got into the mix last month, offering Juarez a scholarship.

“I picked up an Oregon offer," he said. "When I found out the day that I got offered I was like ‘Whoa’, they were just in the National Championship, even though they lost, that’s actually still a great program. It felt like a blessing you know, I didn’t actually think I would get that offer.”

While Juarez remains committed to USC, it's the Trojans and the Bruins who appear to be the highest on Juarez's list. He has great relationships with USC linebacker coach Peter Sirmon and UCLA linebacker coach Scott White.

“Right now I am just keeping my options open, just enjoying the recruiting process right now, anything can happen and I'm just enjoying it as of right now," Juarez said. "USC is a great school, UCLA is a great school, all of these other schools are great that I’ve gotten offers from.

"Anything can happen, anything can change my mind, just right now I'm looking more into other schools to see what they have, and still listening to USC with what they have.”

Both local schools are recruiting Juarez using one of their current stars as a blueprint for what his role would be.

"USC sees me as a linebacker who can play safety, like what Su'a Cravens is doing, that's where they see me," he said "As for UCLA, they compared me with Myles Jack. I love Su’a Cravens and I love Myles Jack, because that Myles Jack is a freak athlete. He’s crazy out there on the field, and then Su’a Cravens he just comes with the hit, you know he’s a great player out there. So yeah I look up to both of them.”

Juarez also has a couple NFL role models he looks up to.

“Seeing as I was playing quarterback, I see myself as Cam Newton, but that’s changing. Cam Newton’s a big dude so I compared myself to him," he said. "But as of right now, I like watching Clay Matthews. I like watching him, especially with him having played at USC, that’s actually a good athlete, and that’s a good linebacker right there.”

When the Trojans finished up spring practice in the Coliseum, Juarez was there checking out the team.

"I actually enjoyed it, you know especially talking to the coaches, especially coach Sirmon," he said. "I had a good deep talk with him, and it was good. All the of other coaches, coach [Keith] Heyward, talking about offense, so I mean that was cool. It was a good experience there, just getting to know and getting closer with the coaches, that was cool, I liked it.”

Wherever Juarez ends up, he plans on graduating from high school early and enrolling in college early.

"That’s definitely something I’m still trying to do, especially my coaches and my counselors that are pushing me to get to that position," he said. "I just need to keep doing what I’m doing, I have one more semester to finish and after that I must take economics and government over the summer so I can graduate, because that’s a requirement that I must finish.

"Right now I’m going on the right path and if I graduate early, wherever I go, I’m just hoping to get that spot. It’s all about training and working hard just to beat the person that’s in front of you.”

By the time Juarez graduates, he hopes to be even bigger than what he is right now.

“I’m 6-foot-2 and 222 pounds," he said. "Right now I’m just hoping I can get another inch on me, but my dad wants me to get to 235. So I mean I’m on the right path, I’m right there. My dad’s actually 6-foot-5, he’s a pretty big dude, and mom is 5-foot-7.”

One potential concern for Juarez keeping his commitment with USC is the depth chart, since the Trojans landed four stud linebackers in the class of 2015.

"Seeing USC have so many commits and signings this year, I do look at the depth chart especially because you know I want to play my freshman year," he said. "I don’t want to be sitting around waiting for my time. I just want to show the coaches what I have so obviously I look at the depth chart, because having so many people that you need to beat out, or that have been there already."

The Trojans may also need to convince Juarez's father that USC is the right place for his son.

“To be honest I grew up a USC fan," Juarez said. "Then when I got to the sixth grade I became a UCLA fan with my dad. So it's UCLA all the way with him.”

Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for more updates on Mique Juarez and the USC recruiting class of 2016.

Ryan Abraham has been the publisher of USCFootball.com since 1996. You can follow him on Twitter at @InsideTroy or email him at ryan@uscfootball.com .

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