Juarez reaffirms USC pledge
TORRANCE, Calif. - After his latest triumph on the football field, Mique Juarez admits that things don't always go his way.
You wouldn't know it from watching him play Friday night. North Torrance's all-world athlete threw three touchdowns and ran for three more in the first half of his team's victory over Ojai Nordhoff High. Juarez watched the second half from the sideline as the Saxons completed a 49-0 shutout.
Juarez's solemn reminder was in reference to the delicate intricacies of recruiting and media relations.
He silently committed to USC after a visit to campus in January of this year. His plan then was to share it with his inner circle before announcing his pledge to the public at a later date, only he wasn't afforded that opportunity.
"My parents and I, we talked about it," Juarez said. "We wanted to keep it just with the coaches only. But it kind of got out there, it happens and you just have to keep going."
Juarez says he told Steve Sarkisian, Peter Sirmon and another confidant that he was committed to USC. The news broke shortly after.
"It just happened," Juarez said. "(The confidant) texted me back saying, I don't know how the news got out, and all that. And I was just like, Whoa. My phone was blowing up and I was like, Oh no, this is crazy."
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker was hoping to take a less abrupt approach with the news of his commitment.
"I had bad communication on that part," Juarez said. "I didn't let a lot of people important in my life know about this. So I really wanted to keep it low, so I could contact and tell all the people that supported me throughout my life, just to know what I'm doing and my choices. I just wanted to keep it on the low.
"But it came out, so the coaches found out and all that. So it was kind of my mistake and at the same time, like, dang it, I forgot to tell all the people that helped me. It was a big surprise for all of them."
But life goes on. Juarez is still crushing opposing high school teams and he's still committed to USC. In fact, he says the leaked news didn't impact his relationship with the football program.
"No, no, not at all," Juarez said. "It didn't affect me at all. It happens. Mistakes, things tend to slide out, I don't blame anybody on that."
Juarez seems sincere. When given a scale from 1-10, with 10 being certainly committed to USC, he would rate his dedication to the Trojans as strong.
"As of right now I'd give myself maybe a high eight, maybe a seven," Juarez said. "I'm still there, I'm still with them."
USC's case with Juarez has been helped by what's happening in the Coliseum this season.
"Just the way they've been playing," Juarez said. "They've been using Su'a Cravens well, and just watching their defense, it's like, you're expecting so much and just looking at the way they're playing, it's crazy. They're doing a lot of great stuff on defense and they're looking at me at defense. So I'm just like, you know, if they're going to use me like that too, why not play with a great atmosphere like that."
The love from the Trojans coaching staff also helps. USC continues to recruit Juarez as hard as ever.
"They're still contacting me the same way, I'm still hearing from the same coaches," Juarez said. "They're showing me love, showing that they care about me and all that. The same thing is still going."
Juarez plans to be a regular presence around USC this season. He'll be at the Coliseum for today's game against Stanford and expects an impressive performance from the Trojans.
"They've been playing crazy the past two games, blowing out teams, so I'm expecting the same thing," Juarez said. "They're playing like a team and they're just putting up a lot of points. So I expect a lot from them like they've been doing for the past two weeks."
After some time at the Coliseum this weekend, he'll head across town to see another big game.
"As of right now, I will be going to the USC game early because they want me to hang out with the coaches and all that," Juarez said. "And my family and I, we want to go out to see the UCLA-BYU game. BYU has offered me as a quarterback and UCLA has also offered me. So I just want to check out what's going on with them, and BYU has been winning some crazy games. So I want to check that game out, too."
He'll take plenty of visits to schools outside of Los Angeles. He's previously mentioned Ole Miss, Nebraska, Oregon, Michigan and Oklahoma as potential destinations.
"I'm just looking around to see what the other schools have, the opportunities, see what they have to offer out there," Juarez said.
The five-star prospect is just waiting to figure out when he'll take those trips.
"I haven't set my dates yet," Juarez said. "I'm thinking about my bye week. I'm not sure who I'll be visiting, but as right of now, I'm thinking October, November will maybe be my official trips."
Juarez's plan is to see some of the biggest games in college football.
"As a kid, you already know the history behind the two rival schools and all that, so I really just want to see the big games, like Ohio State-Michigan and all them," he said. "I just really want to see those games right there."