Malvern Prep’s Keith Maguire gained considerable attention last October for the spectacular, one-handed touchdown grab he made against The Haverford School in the back right corner of the end zone.
Despite the catch that was ranked No. 2 on ESPN SportsCenter’s top 10 plays, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound junior will focus on being a linebacker at the next level.
In a news conference early Friday afternoon at Malvern Prep, Maguire announced that he had committed to play for Clemson. The Tigers went 12-2 last season and lost to Alabama, 24-6, in the Sugar Bowl and national playoff semifinals.
He took a pair of visits to Clemson, including one earlier this month with his dad Keith, and sophomore brother Ryan.
“Football-wise, I love the coaches and how they run the program,” Maguire said. “They’re determined to compete for the national championship each season.
“Also, it’s a college I could see myself going to even if football was not in the picture. It has a great campus, the people are friendly, and I know I’ll get a good education there.”
In the 2016 season, Clemson went 14-1 and beat Alabama, 35-31, for the program’s first national crown. Maguire, a three-star prospect, according to 247Sports, chose the Tigers over runners-up Notre Dame and Ohio State. Alabama and North Carolina were also among his five finalists.
Last season, the Newtown Square resident shined at inside linebacker as the Friars (6-4, 5-0 Inter-Ac) to claim the outright Inter-Ac League championship. He was an Inquirer first-team all-Southeastern Pennsylvania selection.
“He had a fantastic year,” Malvern Prep coach Dave Gueriera said. “His junior-year tape drew the attention of a lot of colleges. He blew up pretty quickly.”
The erstwhile baseball and lacrosse player has bench-pressed 330 pounds, squatted 500, and power-cleaned 300.
Of playing linebacker, Maguire said, “I like being the quarterback of the defense, playing in the middle, and being able to make a lot of tackles.”
The 17-year-old played football for the Rose Tree Colts youth organization and for St. Mary Magdalen in Media from fifth through eighth grade.
“He’s a real good athlete, has long arms, has strong instincts, and he’s mature behind his years,” Gueriera said.
One of Maguire’s Malvern Prep teammates, 6-4, 275-pound junior offensive lineman Jake Hornibrook, picked up a scholarship offer earlier this week from Clemson.