Melquise Stovall teams with Stephen Carr, shows off versatility


Class of 2016 USC commit Melquise Stovall (Lancaster, Calif./Paraclete) has had an outstanding offseason, starring on the spring 7-on-7 and camp circuit. His run of stellar performances continued this past weekend at the B2G Elite Los Angeles 7-on-7 Regional in Costa Mesa (Calif.), but the experience was just a little extra special for the ESPN 300 athlete this time around. After all, not only was he playing with a new 7-on-7 team in Ground Zero Panoramic, but in doing so, he also received the unique opportunity to play alongside his cousin, Class of 2017 USC commit Stephen Carr (Fontana, Calif./Summit), who like Stovall, is generally regarded as one of the top running back prospects in his class nationally.

“Playing with my cousin has been great,” Stovall said midway through the Saturday session. “He’s one heck of a player. It’s big. We like to see who can get the bigger catch, or who can kind of shake whoever a little more. We just compete, and it makes us both better.”

An explosive playmaker, the 5-foot-8, 177-pound Stovall has made quite a name for himself on the high school level at Paraclete, not just at running back, but also at wide receiver, cornerback and on special teams as a return man. He showed off that versatility this past weekend, spending most of his time in the slot on offense, but also lining up on defense at cornerback, where he came up with a highlight-reel pick-six early on that caught everyone’s attention.

That ability to perform at such a high level at so many different positions is something that Stovall takes great pride in.

“I like to label myself as an athlete -- a DB, a receiver, running back, special teams ... anything you need.” Stovall said. “That’s important to me. I don’t want to be a one-position player. I like to move around.”

And judging by what they’ve told Stovall, the USC coaching staff is more than OK with that idea.

“I talk to the offensive coordinator, Coach [Clay] Helton, and he sees me as an offensive athlete -- a running back/slot receiver,” Stovall said. “He compared me to Reggie Bush and Adoree' Jackson. He said that he needs an Adoree' Jackson full-time on offense. I also talked to [defensive backs] Coach [Keith] Heyward, and he wants me to play a little nickelback and corner also. I love the sound of that.”

Having given a verbal pledge to USC in mid-April, Stovall says that he is firmly committed to the Trojans, but he does still plan to take some official visits in the fall, with Cal, Miami (Fla.), Washington and Washington State standing out as some of the programs that have continued to pursue him.

“I’m solid to USC,” Stovall said. “I love the coaching staff. They showed me a lot of love. USC is in my backyard -- that’s home right there, and I grew up watching them. I still want to take official visits though. I’ve never been anywhere, so I think that it would be a good experience.”

Stovall figures to have somewhat of a narrower window than most to fit those trips in, however, as he’s intent on graduating early from high school so that he can arrive on campus in time to participate in spring drills.

“That’s a big deal, getting those extra six months with the team,” Stovall said of his early-entrant plans. “You can get your schooling situated, and come spring ball, you’re ready to go.”