Story continues below videoFrom The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News
Most recruiting analysts believe Carlton Geathers is a project. Perhaps it is that challenge that has endeared him to his future coach.
The 6-foot-11 Carvers Bay center signed with South Carolina last month. Gamecocks basketball coach Darrin Horn raved about Geathers' potential before speaking to members of the school's booster club on Tuesday.
"We're really excited about Carlton," Horn said. "He's a young man that we think his best basketball is ahead of him. The great thing from him is that we've seen great strides from him. We'll get him on campus and get to work with him. We know about the bloodlines, and I think he's going to fit in really well with what we do."
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Horn's recruiting class is ranked 17th nationally by Scout.com. The Gamecocks signed three four-star prospects - Bruce Ellington, Damontre Harris and R.J. Slawson - but Geathers was the only player that did not earn at least three stars or an individual position ranking.
"We had a scholarship available," Horn said. "Carlton is a young man that we had followed, were familiar with and knew about. He just continued to progress his senior year. Obviously his team had a terrific season in the state tournament. With that big body and getting to know him even better, he was a young man we thought would be a real asset to our program."
Spurrier Jr. raves about T.J. Johnson
Another Horry County product, Aynor's T.J. Johnson, is already a valued commodity for South Carolina football. He was one of five Gamecocks to start every game in 2009, earning All-SEC freshman honors at right guard.
"Unbelievable young man," USC receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. said. "Great guy. Great player. Intelligent kid. Extremely hard worker.
"I love talking about him, because coming from Aynor ... not many great players come from there. I used to always ask him, 'Who taught you how to work hard? Who taught you how to just be really tough? Who taught you how to play at a high level?' Between his family and his coach, they did a great job."
In the spring, Johnson was moved from guard to center to help replace graduated seniors Garrett Anderson and Lemuel Jeanpierre.
"That'll shake you up if you aren't used to (snapping)," Spurrier said. "We get in the shotgun a bunch, and if you're up there looking around and making a bunch of calls and you've got to fire it straight back every time, that's a little something different on your plate. That was something different for him that he did very well at.
"We hold him in high regard, and we gave him that duty. We think he's the best lineman we have, really."