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Will Camren McDonald follow Long Beach Poly tradition?

Four-star tight end/wide receiver Camren McDonald plans to follow some Long Beach Poly traditions, but will he follow the Poly to USC pipeline?

USC has a long standing tradition with pulling top players from Long Beach (Calif.) Polytechnic. It has been one of the most fertile Trojan pipelines, most recently with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Iman "Biggie" Marshall and Jack Jones

Though he didn’t start his career there, five-star quarterback Matt Corral is in line to be the next Jackrabbit to don the cardinal and gold after his recent transfer to the historic Southern California powerhouse. But will Corral be the only 2018 Long Beach Poly prospect to make the jump to USC?

The Trojans are also looking at four-star Camren McDonald. The 6-foot-4, 210 pounder plays wide receiver, but is projected to play tight end at the next level. Most schools have labeled him as a hybrid because of his frame and his abilities to go get the ball when it’s thrown up.

“I can play with my hand in the dirt. I can split out wide and I can go all the way outside,” McDonald said. “I like that because it creates better matchups for me.”

The other matchup McDonald is looking for is the one with his future college. He’s looking for a compatible school that is a winner because as he says “recruits don’t want to go to a losing program.”

USC’s season reversal from in the dumps at 1-3 to Rose Bowl champions over Penn State has piqued McDonald’s interest in staying home for school.

“In the beginning of the season, USC was losing, but they found a way to turn the switch and Coach [Clay] Helton turned that program completely 180 degrees, so they’re at the top of my list right now,” McDonald said. 

“Not to mention the Poly to SC is a pipeline all the way back to Darrell Rideaux, Kareem Kelly, so I mean all these guys went from Poly to SC and then Jack, Biggie, JuJu right now, so it’s a pipeline and they’re at the top of the list, one of the schools at the top of my list.”

McDonald saw how the turnaround all began with Helton switching quarterbacks and inserting Sam Darnold in the lineup.  

“That quarterback switch was one of the best coaching moves of all college football this year,” McDonald said. “Darnold is probably the best quarterback in college football right now.”

As a big target on the outside, he knows the importance of a good signal caller and he’ll get the opportunity to play with one of the nation’s best with Corral’s transfer. Even before Corral’s enrollment at Long Beach Poly had been announced, McDonald was already eyeing the possibility of playing with the nation’s top quarterback.

“Matt Corral is my guy. Me and Matt Corral talk all the time,” McDonald said the weekend before Corral’s transfer destination was revealed. “Being a pass catcher, you don’t want to go to a school with a shabby quarterback, but it is Division I football, so you’re not going to find that many shabby quarterbacks.”

McDonald says that he visits USC “all the time” since the school is “right up the street,” he is still looking at a number of potential colleges. He is hoping to hear from Michigan, Oklahoma and Notre Dame while he has plans to visit Washington as well as Texas A&M and “maybe a few [other] SEC schools, but that’s kind of far though.”

He has no plans to make a commitment any time soon. Instead, McDonald wants to take his time and string it all the way to National Signing Day “like the typical Long Beach Poly dude,” McDonald said with a chuckle. Yet another Jackrabbit tradition.

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