Malvern Prep linebacker Keith Maguire chooses Clemson

Malvern Prep’s Keith Maguire, right, brings down St. Augustine Prep’s True Robinson in last season’s opener at Villanova.

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.

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Malvern Prep’s Keith Maguire (4) intercepting a pass intended for Penn Charter’s John Washington (23) last season.

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.”

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Malvern Prep’s Keith Maguire (4) pushing La Salle quarterback Danny Solecki out of bounds in a nonleague contest last season.

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.