Before academically issues derailed Brandon Golson’s hopes of playing football at South Carolina, it appeared the Gamecocks were on the verge of starting a Calhoun County mafia.
Had Golson, a linebacker who played 2010 at Fork Union, been admitted to USC, there would have been three former Saints on the team’s roster next season. All-American receiver Alshon Jeffery will be a junior, and his brother, commitment Shamier, will be a true freshman.
The list would have been even larger had former Calhoun County standout Eric Mack not decommitted from the Gamecocks and signed with Auburn in 2010.
Still, the group could grow in the Class of 2011 and beyond. Calhoun County has a number of talented underclassmen and the program has been good to the Gamecocks.
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Calhoun County coach Walter Wilson recently said that an out-of-state college coach told him that it’s nearly impossible to pry one of his players away from USC or Clemson. The coach says he wants to help his players make the best college decisions they can, but he won’t hide that he’s steered them toward the two in-state schools if he feels they are a good fit.
“What’s wrong with staying in-state and going to Carolina or Clemson?” he said. “If you’re in the state of Florida, those kids are probably going to Florida, Florida State or Miami. It’s the same way in Texas and Oklahoma. What’s wrong with our kids staying here, helping our two schools and getting to play in front of their families?”
USC and Clemson certainly would agree with him. Considering the lack of FBS-quality players that South Carolina produces on a yearly basis, out-of-state schools poaching Palmetto State players severely cuts into the pool.
Calhoun County has three juniors, receiver Mark Irick, offensive lineman Clyde Johnson and defensive lineman Javontae Brown, who have all drawn interest from USC and a number of other FBS programs.