Earlier this month, USC offered Elijah Qualls out of Petaluma, CA one of its precious scholarships. The Casa Grande High School senior has been hot on many programs’ radars, and it’s not hard to fathom why: this 6-foot-2, 280 is a dual-threat athlete, but not at the positions you might think. It’s common for a defensive back to switch to wide receiver (and vice versa), for example, but Qualls brings something different to the table. He plays both defensive tackle and running back, a combination that you pretty much never see.
And man, is he good at both.
As a junior he registered 76 tackles and four sacks at DT, pretty amazing stats in and of themselves. Then, Qualls turned around and torched opponents for 1,139 rushing yards, 215 receiving yards, and 14 total touchdowns.
So yeah, he’s pretty REAL.
It’s likely that at the collegiate level he would only play one position, and with his size, it would obviously be defensive tackle. If USC can land him in the class of 2013, that would be all kinds of excellent because the 2012 recruiting class has exactly zero DT prospects. This normally wouldn’t be terrible, but when you consider USC’s most experienced D-linemen will be graduating and/or going pro at the end of this season, the Trojans will need to rebuild that line as quickly as possible.
This is complicated by the fact that USC has only 15 scholarships to give out. But if Qualls were to commit to USC, that would be a HUGE get for the Trojans. Literally.
Besides USC, Qualls has been offered by all of the other Pac-12 schools, as well as well as Michigan, Oklahoma and Nebraska, to name a few. With so many options on his plate, it will probably be a while before he makes a commitment to any school.
But Trojan Nation need not worry: Lane Kiffin and company are hailed as some of the best recruiters out there. Let’s hope that they can work their magic and land what would be a very good use of a scholarship.
Check out this highlight video of Qualls from YouTube to get a glimpse of what he is capable of: