Long Beach and USC share a rich tradition of football excellence, with each school being responsible for feeingd each others' success.
Poly supplied the elite talent and USC provides the stage for the players to go on to professional notoriety.
Saturday, Poly sophomore receiver Camren McDonald accompanied USC incoming freshman Jack Jones to the Coliseum for a Trojan spring practice. It was an enjoyable experience, but the news of the day came after practice was over.
“Coach [Gavin] Morris let me know that Coach Tee [Martin] was offering me a scholarship,” said McDonald. "I wasn't really expecting an offer going up there because I haven’t had much contact with USC.
“I’m in the class of 2018, so they’re not allowed to reach out to us yet. I just went up there to watch practice and talk to the coaches. I talked to Coach Tee and he said he liked the way I looked on film.”
McDonald already has scholarship offers from Oregon State, UCLA, Utah and Washington State. However, the USC scholarship offer does hold special meaning.
“I think really highly of all my offers, but USC is definitely toward the top because I go to Long Beach Poly and they’ve signed the top players out of Long Beach Poly the past three years,” said McDonald. “Juju [Smith], Iman [Marshall] and now Jack [Jones].
“The history of USC makes it very high on my list. Growing up watching USC play, I know a lot about the program. My cousin [Jeffery Hill] went to USC and was on the practice squad.
“He stopped playing football, but he can’t stop speaking highly enough about the school. He loves that school. There’s a lot of tradition behind USC, just like at Poly.”
McDonald is listed as a wide receiver, but last season for the Jack Rabbits, he played a hybrid role which categorized him as a tight end.
“I switched to tight end last year for Poly, but it's not your typical tight end position,” said McDonald. “I played more of a Y or H-back type tight end. It wasn’t a traditional tight end position.
“I know USC uses those types of guys, so I assume that’s where they want me. If they needed me to play on the outside, I still could do that.”
McDonald attended a few USC games last season, so he is familiar with the Trojans offense. While USC has a new head coach and new offensive coordinator, the offensive changes schematically haven’t seen many drastic chances this spring.
“I’ve been impressed with their offense ever since the first game last season,” said McDonald. “I could see how I could fit in their offense. It’s a pro-style offense and they use the tight end a lot.
“They use their tight ends like an NFL team, and that’s a really good look for me. I just love what they’re doing over there.”
Of course, being that McDonald is still two years away from signing a letter of intent, his focus isn’t on recruiting or taking additional visits to other schools.
“An offer from any Pac-12 school on the West Coast would be amazing, but it’s early,” said McDonald. “My parents and I really think it’s too early to start thinking about recruiting. I’m more focused on getting better day by day.
“But… if Washington and Notre Dame came into the picture, that would be amazing. My parents really like Notre Dame and Washington because of their campuses. I’m just playing everything by ear. The USC trip wasn’t even planned until last week, so if we go somewhere, we go somewhere. If we don’t, we, we don’t.”