Catching Up With T.J. McDonald

T.J. McDonald's desire to test himself against the best is what makes him standout at as one of the most complete football players in the 2009 recruiting class, and a perfect fit at USC. Inside we discuss a variety of topics with the five-star safety.

A lot has transpired since we last caught up with USC commit T.J. McDonald.

All-American safety Taylor May's announced his decision to stay in school, Rocky Seto took over as USC's defensive coordinator and McDonald shined at the US Army All-American Bowl.

The five-star safety from Fresno (Calif.) Edison HS, was thrilled to find out that Rocky Seto would replace Nick Holt as the new defensive coordinator at USC.

"I was very excited. I am happy for him and his family," McDonald said. "What a turnaround for him. Here he was offered the defensive coordinator job at Washington, he stays at USC because he and his family are happy in Los Angeles, and now after Holt leaves he is the defensive coordinator at USC."

"It's exciting because he was a big part of my recruitment and a big reason that I am coming to USC. I know him the most out of anybody"

McDonald, who has become extremely close with Seto throughout the recruiting process, said Pete Carroll's choice to promote Seto calmed any concerns he had about the changes on the coaching staff.


T.J. McDonald
"He coached guys like Taylor Mays and Kevin Ellison and look where they are at," McDonald said.

With Taylor Mays' decision to stay in school for his senior season, McDonald said he is excited to learn from one of the top returning players in all of college football.

"Personally, it's a good opportunity for me because I am going to get the chance to learn from an All-American," McDonald said. "I will be able to see how he carries himself on and off the field. I will be able to learn a lot from his work ethic and workout plans.

"I think it's going to be a good thing for me because Taylor is a really good dude. When I went on my official, he was telling me a lot about stuff outside of football, so I know that I will be able to learn a lot from him.

"With Taylor Mays, Josh Pinkard and Kevin Thomas back, they are all veterans. We will be able to learn a lot from them, and hopefully get some playing time."

At 6-2, 212 pounds, McDonald has the physical maturity and football savvy to come in and compete for playing time at the strong safety position as a freshman.

"They like me down by the line of scrimmage the way Kevin Ellison played," McDonald said. "The way that he was able to play and hit people was how I played in high school.

"I feel like I can follow that role and buy into it. I want to be a leader down there like Kevin Ellison was."

McDonald showed off his leadership skills and physical ability at the US Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, where he was one of the most impressive defensive players on the West squad.

"I just tried to stay consistent all week," McDonald said. "You get to test how good of a player you are when you are going up against the best players out there."

McDonald's desire to test himself against the best is what makes him standout at as one of the most complete football players in the 2009 recruiting class, and a perfect fit at USC.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at kevin@scplaybook.com


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