USC OL commit: Texas and others tried but I have a Trojan mindset
Gino Quinones is a senior defensive lineman for powerhouse St. Louis HS in Honolulu.
He picked up a scholarship offer from USC in May, a week after he visited the campus with his high school teammates. He made his pledge just hours after the Trojans offered that scholarship.
Months later, the 6-foot-2, 260-pound prospect says he’s still being recruited by multiple schools. He also says that won’t impact his commitment to USC at all.
“They’re still trying but I’m just focused on USC,” Quinones told usc247.com.
When asked about the schools still recruiting him, Quinones pointed to his list of scholarship offers (Arizona, Fresno State, Hawaii and Utah State) and a Big 12 powerhouse.
“It’s just the schools that offered me and a few like Texas that tried after USC,” Quinones said. “But I’m committed, I have a mindset.”
His dedication to USC means he doesn’t even mind a position switch. Quinones says he’s expected to play offensive line for the Trojans. He just hopes he gets a crack at defense as well.
“I’m not the best pass rusher, that’s why,” Quinones said when asked why USC wants him as an offensive lineman. “I’m still working on it as of today but they know I’m a run stop defensive player. So if they’re in goal line or short down situations, they’re probably going to put me on the defensive line.”
His Trojan mindset has also led him to talking up USC to a teammate. Faatui Tuitele is a defensive lineman the Trojans want to sign badly. He plays with Quinones to create a heck of a high school defensive line.
“We play around and joke around a bit,” Quinones said when asked if he recruits Tuitele to USC. “At the end of the day, it’s what he wants and it’s what he and his family agree to. So I’m respecting his family. I do tell him he should really go there, that maybe we could go against each other for the first time. I even show him some USC fans talking about him. I try but nothing really serious. It’s his decision where he wants to go.”
When Tuitele released his top 5, USC was nowhere to be found on the list. That came as a surprise to Quinones.
“When we went to USC, he had a good bond with them. I talked to him after and he had a good relationship. he said it was one of the greatest visits, that he respects the coaches and that they have a tight bond. They’ve been recruiting him for a while and he likes them a lot. But I mean, I have no clue why he dropped him. It’s personal so I don’t want to ask him.”
USC247.com also asked Quinones for his thought’s on USC’s football season. He believes the UNLV game was a good test for a young team with serious potential.
“I didn’t watch them until the end of the second quarter because we had our morning practice,” Quinones said when asked about USC’s game against UNLV. I think the score was 21-19. From watching the game, its the first game out. They got all the jitters out. JT (Daniels) responded well, a lot of young players played. Of course mistakes our going to be made, whether it’s a freshman or a senior. Coach (Clay) Helton, I’m sure every mistake they made, he’ll correct it. They have smart and explosive players. As far as the game, USC played great. But it was just that they give up those explosive plays, like the 71 yard run. It’s plays like that that killed them.”
He’s anxious to see what happens when USC’s young talent matches up against an experienced Stanford team.
“It’s a big game on the road,” Quinones said when asked about the Stanford game. “Stanford is known for establishing the run. I know Nate Herbig, he’s a teammate of mine, he’s an older brother on that team. And they also have (Bryce) Love at running back. He’s explosive, he’s patient, he’ll hide right behind his offensive line and once he sees the open gap, he’s gone. 40, 50 yards even for a touchdown. It’ll be a good game, it’s an important game. I can’t wait to see how JT and the young players respond. I think they’re going to have to control the clock and control the game with their passing game. I’m pretty sure the coaches know that Stanford is just going to run the ball and run down the clock.”
Quinones plan to graduate from St. Louis HS early, sign a letter of intent in December and enroll at USC in early January. He hopes to take his official visit to USC right before he enrolls.