When Trey Quinn was offered a chance to play in next January’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl, he had a special reason for accepting the invitation.
Trey Quinn has caught 245 passes in 3 seasons at Louisiana's Barbe High School
Sure, the game matches up many of the nation’s best football prospects and it is televised live nationally by NBC. The U.S. Army game, initiated in 2000, is also the longest running national all-star game for football prospects.
But it is the mission behind the game – to promote the U.S. Army and America’s military objectives – that meant something extra to Quinn.
Quinn, a standout wide receiver at Lake Charles (La.) Barbe, is playing in the Army game to honor the memory of a cousin, Patrick Williamson, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2009. Williamson, a cousin on Quinn’s mother’s side of the family, was a Louisiana native and a college student for two years before he enlisted in the Army in 2006. On Oct. 27, 2009, Sgt. Williamson was killed in the Arghandab Valley of Afghanistan when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device (IED).
“My family was devastated,” Quinn said of his cousin’s passing. “He was a great guy. We would always get together for the holidays. Patrick, like his brother Max, was a big strong guy who we all looked up to and admired. When the Army All-American opportunity arose, we immediately thought about the connection with Patrick and the Army.
“My middle school football team wore helmet stickers in honor of Patrick in 2009 and his memory lives on not only in our house but with others as well due to his foundation. My Aunt Sybil, Uncle Buddy and their family run a foundation in Patrick's name that raises funds to support our wounded veterans and those currently serving in many different ways. They also give scholarships to local schools.”
For more information on the Patrick Williamson foundation, check out the link below.
“Our real heroes are not athletes,” Quinn added. “They are the soldiers like Patrick who fight for our freedom so that people like me can enjoy the opportunities that God has blessed me with. Hopefully I can use this blessing to honor Patrick, his family, all of our fallen heroes and their loved ones, as well as those that continue to put themselves in harm's way for our protection.”
Quinn’s father, Dave, said the idea to play in the Army game first came up when one of Quinn’s Barbe teammates, DeSean Smith, was selected to play in the 2013 game this past January.
Quinn once tossed a no-hitter in the 2008 Little League World Series
“They came to the school and tied it in to a Veteran’s Day presentation,” Dave Quinn said. “It kind of hit me. Trey and I talked about this. We said it would be such a great way to honor him. If we could use a blessing somebody has given him, we thought it would be great.
“They have a foundation in Patrick’s name that they use to give scholarships. He was just a great All-American kid. Like all military families, everybody was proud but it was also such a huge loss. He was a kid just getting started with his life.”
Many Layers To Quinn’s Story
Trey Quinn, listed at 6-1 and 200 pounds, has become one of the nation’s top 2014 wide receiver prospects after catching an amazing 245 passes in his first three seasons at Barbe High School. He is rated as the nation’s No. 120 prospect overall, the nation’s No. 16 wide receiver and the eighth-best prospect in Louisiana this year.
But there are many more pegs to Quinn’s story, including:
* He was an outstanding baseball player, even throwing a no-hitter during the 2008 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. Quinn’s Lake Charles team, coached by his dad, lost to eventual World Series champion Hawaii in the U.S. championship game.
* His grandfather Bobby Keasler was the head coach at McNeese State from 1990-98 and at Louisiana-Monroe from 1999-2002.
* His mother Angie was the big-school record holder in the high jump and was also a sprinter in her high school days.
* Quinn has given up baseball to work on football and improving his speed. He is instead running track and, this past week, turned a blistering 10.4-second mark in the 100 meters. He has been clocked at 4.39 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Quinn talked about at least putting his baseball career on hold to work on football.
“It was difficult,” he said. “Since I was 4 years old, I have played baseball with a very special group of friends and we have experienced a lot of success on the diamond together. Not being with them for the first time since we were 4 was the hardest part.
“Right now I am focused on my dream of playing college football and have been lifting weights and running track this spring. I have put on some quality weight and gotten a little stronger and faster, so I am excited about that. I run all of the short sprints – the 100, 200, the 4x100 relay and 4x200 relay.
“I have not completely closed the door on baseball, though.”
His dad added, “That was very tough. That same group that went to the Little League World Series, they’re still together. They are ranked 10th in the country. They won the state last year. Baseball America and Perfect Game, which rank prospects, had Trey ranked highly in his age group.
“For him to walk away from that, it was very difficult. His heart wasn’t into it at the time. He’s really into football. He’s used this time wisely. He’s gotten faster, he’s running track and he’s getting into the weight room. He has put on about 15 pounds of muscle.”
Quinn made a big splash on the gridiron at Barbe as a freshman in 2010, when he had 67 catches for 1,238 yards and nine touchdowns. He came back as a sophomore and hauled in 67 passes for 1,220 yards and 12 scores as Barbe went 9-4.
This past season as a junior, Quinn helped lead the Buccanneers to a 13-2 record and a berth in the Class 5A state championship game. Archbishop Rummel won that game 35-14 at the Louisiana Superdome. For the year, Quinn had 111 catches for 2,094 yards and 26 touchdowns.
“First of all, God has blessed me with ability and health, so all of the glory goes to him,” Quinn said. “I have been very fortunate to play with two of the best quarterbacks to ever play at my school. A receiver is only as good as the guy spinning it to him.
“Jared Foster (now playing baseball at LSU) was the quarterback my freshman year and my current quarterback is my childhood friend Kennon Fontenot. My coaches have also put me in situations where I can succeed, so the credit goes to my coaches and teammates.
“I have always been surrounded by great teammates from the moment I stepped foot on campus. Barbe is a big 5A school with a lot of talent walking the halls. In addition to our outstanding quarterbacks, we have had great receivers. DeSean Smith is heading to LSU, and my childhood friend Gunner Leger is another great receiver who is also a great left-handed pitcher in baseball. Kade Demarie has always had my back and has been a weapon too. We have had a great running back in Courtney Galantine, and our offensive line has given us enough time and room to do what we do. We have an O-lineman named Nick Fontenot who is a D-I prospect.”
Sonny Shipp, who has covered Louisiana recruiting 14 years and writes for Geaux247.com, talked about what makes Quinn special.
“He’s got good size and a good size/speed ratio. He is very advanced as far as having the football in his hands, running crisp routes and really being a polished receiver. The biggest thing with him is he has been such a high baseball prospect over the years that he has spent so much of his summer playing baseball.
“If word hadn’t gotten out that he was putting so much of his stock into football, he would have been a Major League Baseball draft prospect next year. He has dedicated himself just to football now. Now that he has decided to put everything into football, it will be interesting to see how much better he is as a senior after making football his number one focus.”
So Where Will He Go?
Quinn said he has no favorites and no timetable to make his college decision. He made an unofficial visit to Clemson over the weekend of April 13-14 and was at LSU’s spring game this past Saturday.
Those two schools as well as Texas Tech, Ole Miss, Texas, Notre Dame and Oklahoma State all seem to be heavy in his thoughts. He said he plans to continue making college visits this spring and summer.
Here were his comments on each of those schools:
* LSU -- “I love my hometown and state, LSU is our state school, and they are a winning program. I have a very strong relationship with wide receivers coach Adam Henry. They were one of the first to offer me and that meant a lot to me.”
* Texas Tech – Coach (Kliff) Kingsbury has believed in me from the day he saw me. They have an offense that I would fit into really well and I am a big Danny Amendola fan.”
* Clemson – “This is another offense that I think would be a great fit for me. They have great coaches, a very attractive campus and I love what they do with Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. The traditions of the Hill and Howard's Rock were very cool. The time we spent with the coaches really stood out to me as well.”
* Ole Miss – “I think the culture that Coach (Hugh) Freeze and his staff are trying to create in Oxford is very much in line with my family values. They have a great offense and a beautiful campus.”
* Texas – “Coach (Mack) Brown is a great man of integrity and we liked his direct approach. Their offense looks wide open, too, and Austin is within driving distance for my family.”
* Notre Dame – “We have not visited there yet, but it obviously has a great combination of academics and athletics, as well as a very rich history and elite reputation.”
* Oklahoma State – “They have another high powered offense with a great leader in Coach (Mike) Gundy.”
* Auburn – “Coach (Gus) Malzahn is a great offensive mind and they feel like I could be a big part of their offense.”
Also Check Out
For more information on the Patrick Williamson Foundation, click here.
Also, here are links to videos with some of Quinn’s athletic exploits: