If there is anyone navigating the football recruiting waters unbelievably well, it’s Louisville Football. Yesterday, they picked up 2021 3 Star CB Kani Walker and 3 Star S Derrick Edwards. Today, they landed 2021 3 Star S TJ Quinn.
Committed.. Thank you God ✞ ✞ pic.twitter.com/V7BQTDqsqu— TJ Quinn (@tjquinn0415) June 18, 2020
The 6’1 200 lbs prospect picked the Cards over offers from Virginia Tech, NC State, Cincinnati, Kentucky, and Illinois, among others. He is the 84th ranked S in the nation per 247sports. New Inside Linebackers Coach Derek Nicholson and Safties Coach ShaDon Brown were the lead recruiters for UofL.
Quinn plays for Lowndes High School in Valdosta, GA, a town Louisville has recruited particularly well over the years. He recorded 51 tackles, including 1 tackle for loss. He picked up 1 sack and broke up 7 passes. Quinn’s father, Terry Quinn Sr, was a RB/DB that played for legendary coach Howard Schnellenberger from 1991-1994.
Our staff watched Quinn’s highlights and gave our breakdowns of his game below.
TJ Quinn is yet another S prospect that has common traits this UofL staff looks for. He has good size at 6’1 200 lbs and uses it to crush opponents with big hits. Big hits compliment his excellent tackling overall. In coverage, Quinn is shows excellent ability to change direction on a dime to stay with receivers. He’s adept at being able to breakup passes. As with Louisville’s other S prospects, Quinn is a very intelligent player. He is able to quickly read what the offense is doing (run or pass) and then react just as quickly; either staying back and covering a receiver or attacking the line of scrimmage and bringing down the ball carrier. Quinn has very good speed and accelerates quickly to get to top speed.
Watching Quinn’s highlights, the first thing you notice is his big hitting. He’s smart about when he chooses to lower the boom. Often, he does so when it’s a pass play in front of him and he delivers the blows more with form tackling than simply lowering his shoulder. His hits aren’t illegal and he’s not a headhunter. They are good, clean hits that will send a message to receivers that it’s going to be a long game.
Overall, Quinn is an excellent tackler that understands how to get his body in position to effectively bring down ball carriers. He keeps his pads low, breaks down well, keeps his hips sunk, has a wide base, and always has his body squared up with the ball carrier. He usually attacks the ball carrier, keeping them from being able to juke him. When a ball carrier does attempt to cut or juke to make Quinn miss, his body is in perfect position to be able to adjust, cut the maneuver off, and make the tackle. His form is very nice, as he uses a shimmy to keep himself in position. As he tackles, he wraps the opponent up with both arms around the mid-section of said opponent. He then uses his leverage from being low, with hips sunk and butt down, to drive the ball carrier back or into the ground. Quinn’s strong legs also aid in the tackling, driving forward hard and sending runners back. This ability would suggest he would fit as an in-the-box S, but as we see below, his ability to cover means it’s hard to label him that way.
When in coverage, Quinn shows excellent ability to cover his half of the field. Whether a receiver runs a post route, flag route, or in or out breaking routes, he can cover them. This is in large part to his fluid hips which he can flip on a dime. He can back pedal well and allow a receiver to commit to a route and once that happens, the hips flip to the left or right and he stays right with the receiver like a gum on a shoe. Since he’s able to stay with receivers so well, it makes breaking up the pass easy. Quinn’s long arms aid in this endeavor as he often gets a hand in passing lane to knock passes down and away. He also uses his big hits to break up passes as he is very good at timing his hit as the ball gets to a receiver. Quinn is at his best in coverage when he’s playing centerfield. It allows him to do what he maybe does best: read and react.
Speaking of read and react, it is arguably Quinn’s best skill. Hmm…it seems to be one of the main traits this staff likes in its defenders. Quinn is able to use his eyes to diagnose what the offense is doing quickly. If he determines a play is a pass, he reads both the QB and the receiver that is coming into his area. This allows him to time up his big hits or know when to flip his hips and run with a particular receiver to break up a pass. If he determines a run play is happening, Quinn will quickly get to the line of scrimmage from his pre-snap position to bring down the ball carrier for little or lost lost yardage. Quinn is just a very smart player that understands what offenses are trying to do and it allows him to be in the right place at the right time almost every time. That may also have something to do with his speed and acceleration.
Quinn has very good speed and it shows on film. He can get to any place on the field quickly and he can keep up with fast receivers. He flies around with the field and just seems to be everywhere and that is due to his speed. Coupled with his speed is his acceleration. That shows up as he is reading and reacting. Once Quinn determines what a particular play is, he’s able to accelerate from 0 to top speed very quickly. This means he doesn’t always have to play up in the box to help against the run. Quinn can stay back and, once he reads run, can be around the line of scrimmage immediately to help make the stop.
TJ Quinn is a S that knows how to play the game. He can hit hard, tackle well, and cover half the field. To be honest, I was surprised at the lack of interceptions since he’s in position to knock down so many passes. I think once he gets to Louisville this could change. Bottom line, Quinn is a player with the potential to be a game changer. I don’t see any reason he won’t meet that potential.
Louisville has it’s ENFORCER on the backline of it defense. So far in this class, Louisville has targeted ballhawks and playmakers, Quinn is the Enforcer in the room. TJ Quinn runs through opposing players when he tackles. The young man is very strong. Once TJ has you in his grasp, you are either going backwards or wherever he throws you. The young man isn’t afraid to lay the ‘BOOM’ at all. Although he is a big hitter, he’s also a sound fundamental tackler. TJ is really good and breaking down, squaring his shoulders and wrapping up ball carriers. Quinn often takes great angles when approaching ball carriers and rarely misses on a tackle. All defenses need a sure tackler at the safety spot and Louisville has theirs.
TJ Quinn is a 6’1 long-arm, versatile athlete. Quinn uses his long arms to keep opposing players off of him, making it easier for him to displace blockers. Quinn has really good speed for a safety, he can get to his top end speed really quickly. I love TJ’s closing speed and tackling as a safety, I also love his eye discipline and ability to quickly diagnose plays. Quinn also has a really good feel for the game that no doubt was in his blood.
TJ follows in line with the theme of the coaching staff this year in recruiting smart young men that are good football players. TJ has great instincts and anticipation on the football field. He quickly diagnoses run plays, and attacks appropriately. Quinn has very good eyes and is very smart, he rarely gets tricked or let’s an offensive player behind him at safety. Once the ball is in the air, Quinn has an uncanny ability to force incompletions at the last second. I anticipate his interception numbers to go up during Quinn’s senior year because the young man is always in the right place on the field.
Quinn has really good cover skills as a Safety. His speed and quickness allows him to cover sideline to sideline. Standing 6’1 with great leaping ability, Quinn has really good height to defend taller receivers and tight ends. Playing safety Quinn often finds himself lined up against slot receivers, but because of his length and quick reactions Quinn’s able to make up a lot of ground on any pass play. As said earlier, Quinn’s eyes, instincts, and quickness are a huge part of why he’s so good in coverage.
TJ Quinn is potential star S. His hard hitting style matched with his ability to cover might bring comparisons to former Card and New York Jet Calvin Pryor. His versatility in being able to play back or in the box make him a unique weapon. Quinn will need to work on getting interceptions to really become fully formed. There’s little doubt he should be able to do so. This is an exciting pickup because of he’s such a disruptor to opposing offenses. The secondary just got even more stacked with the addition of TJ Quinn. It’s easy to imagine him becoming a fan favorite. And if he reaches his full potential, Quinn can definitely be All-ACC.
With TJ Quinn’s commitment, Louisville now has 15 for the 2021 class. According to 247sports, UofL’s class now ranks 23rd nationally and in the 5th in the ACC. That’s right, the 2021 class is in the Top 25 nationally. This staff has done an excellent job and there’s no sign of the momentum in recruiting slowing down anytime soon.