Putting things in perspective

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These are exciting times for top high school senior football players. These are the days when those young men are supposed to be dreaming of state championships, the prom and what the future might hold.

But those things haven't been on Robert Quinn's mind in recent weeks.

Just a few weeks ago, Quinn -- a 6-foot-5, 245-pound defensive end from North Charleston (S.C.) Fort Dorchester -- was putting the finishing touches on a stellar high school career. Just about the only thing he had to worry about was which college scholarship he wanted to accept.

That has changed.

Quinn passed out one day at school, but didn't think much of it. Not long after that, he passed out twice more before being taken to the hospital. Doctors ran a CAT scan, which revealed the problem -- a fluid build-up had caused a blockage in his spinal cavity.

The doctors cleared the blockage and determined it was not cancerous. They were able to get the fluid to run through and now he says he's feeling fine. The ordeal was quite a scare for Quinn, and it's something he might not be done dealing with yet.

"I feel fine right now," Quinn said. "The doctor said it's going to be a lifelong thing, though. It's something I've always got to watch out for in case it starts happening again."

As might be expected, the experience put a lot of things in perspective for Quinn.

"I really wasn't sure what to think when I heard what was going on," he said. "At first the doctors had told me I probably wouldn't be able to play football again. I didn't know what to think, but everybody else was just worried about me."

Quinn always knew the people close to him cared about his well-being. However, because of his condition, he learned that the concern extended far beyond his immediate family.

"My mom stayed at the hospital with me the whole time," Quinn said. "I was there for about a week and she was there through it all. There were a lot of family and friends that came by to see me. I saw a lot of people that I had never even known before. That meant a lot. I think it was the kind of thing where it seems like just about the whole community came together for me."

The doctors have since determined that Quinn will be able to play football again. He won't be participating again this year, but he's adamant that he will be playing "somewhere" next season.

While he has been worried about bigger things, football still occupies a central part of Quinn's heart. It's been tough knowing his teammates are out there each weekend without him.

"Oh, it kills me," he said. "I was at this last game they had and it was tough not being able to be out there."

Quinn is waiting for the go-ahead from doctors before he returns to school. When he isn't doing work assigned to him by his teachers, you can probably find Quinn watching SportsCenter or a football game on TV.

"I'm going to see the doctor again soon and I'll know a lot more after that," he said. "They want to make sure I'm doing fine before they tell me it's OK to go back to school. I feel fine right now. I was a little weak the first couple of days just because I hadn't been doing anything, but I'm good now. I should be doing everything but football before too long."

Quinn, who holds scholarship offers from just about every program in the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conferences, has received a lot of support and well-wishes from the coaches who have been recruiting him.

"All the coaches sent me cards and stuff," he said. "They just all told me that they're praying for me and they hope everything goes well. They don't know exactly what will happen with me in the future, but they all say they're more concerned about me as a person than me as a football player."

Missouri gets a big arm: Missouri beat Nebraska easily on the field this season, and they just beat the Huskers for one of the most coveted quarterbacks in the country. Ballwin (Mo.) Parkway West's Blaine Gabbert had been committed to Nebraska, but he recently had a change of heart and pledged to Missouri last weekend. Gabbert is ranked as the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the nation by Rivals.com.

LSU adding commitments: A 58-10 win over Louisiana Tech isn't anything to brag about when you're the top team in the country. But if it helps you pick up two commitments, it's nothing to dismiss. LSU picked up commitments from quarterback Jordan Jefferson and safety Karnell Hatcher last weekend. Hatcher, from Delray Beach (Fla.) Atlantic, is the higher-ranked of the two and committed over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Miami. Jefferson, from Destrehan, La., received his offer Saturday and wasted no time committing.

Penn State steals one from the Lonestar State: The Nittany Lions went into Big 12 country and stole away safety D'Anton Lynn from Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Arkansas and others. Lynn, a 6-1, 177-pounder from Celina, Texas, had 57 tackles as a junior.