Commitment has eye on spur spot

Edward Muldrow
Edward Muldrow

It's not unusual for a high school standout to go from the secondary to the front seven on defense, often because they lack the speed needed to cover college receivers.

It's much rarer for a standout prep defensive end/outside linebacker to move from the front seven to the secondary in college.

However, that's the plan for South Carolina commit Edward Muldrow, who plans to start his career in Columbia as the Gamecocks' fifth defensive back, the hybrid safety/linebacker position dubbed the "Spur."

"I think it's going to be a really easy transition for me, because they basically play the same defense that we play now," said Muldrow, who stars at South Gwinnett (Ga.) in suburban Atlanta. "They want me to play their Spur."

Muldrow, who is 6-foot-4, 192 pounds, and fellow commit Jordan Montgomery have both been recruited as candidates to fill one of the most demanding and unique positions on USC's defense. If either of them struggle with the multi-faceted responsibilities of the Spur, they could easily add some weight and become linebackers.

However, USC's coaching staff believes they each have the potential to play down in the box as run stoppers while also moving adequately enough in space to help in the passing game. Muldrow believes he's has the skills needed to fill the role.

Though he is typically used as a blitzing end/linebacker, he has experience playing safety, and he is sometimes dropped into coverage via zone blitzes. He also is a standout slot receiver/tight end on offense, showing the athleticism he'll need to contribute for Ellis Johnson's defense in Columbia.

"He can play outside backer, end or safety," South Gwinnett coach John Small said. "He can cover you man to man, put his hand down and rush the quarterback or play in space. Whatever you need.

"I think he's going to be an outside backer-type kid [at USC]. He's going to do whatever they ask him to do. I know that. He gives the school a lot of different options. He can just do so many different things. I think he'll be one of those hybrid players for them."

If Small's projections are correct, Muldrow may ultimately develop into a linebacker. He believes Muldrow will gain 30 to 40 pounds and eventually play at about 240 pounds, meaning he'll likely move out of the secondary unless he retains his speed and quickness.

Small said that college coaches were most enamored with Muldrow's versatility, length, fluidity and his ability to play with leverage, despite often being matched up against much larger offensive linemen. Muldrow has 4.6 speed.

But his mentality may be his best asset.

"I go hard," he said. "I go harder than most people. When coaches would come in and see the film, they couldn't believe some of the plays I made that most people weren't even going after."