GREENSBORO, N.C. | South Carolina’s 2010 victory over top-ranked Alabama is proving to have a lasting impact on the recruiting trail.
That win helped secure the services of several elite prospects in the Class of 2011, including instate defensive linemen Jadeveon Clowney and Phillip Dukes. However, many analysts believed the true value of that upset might not be felt for several years with the impression it likely left on high school underclassmen.
If Thursday’s news was any barometer, the Gamecocks are going to reap the benefits of that victory for some time to come. USC landed commitments from Western Guilford (N.C.) offensive linemen Brock and Clayton Stadnik, non-identical twins with lots of upside.
They first visited USC in the summer of 2010, but like Clowney and Dukes, who had been leaning toward Alabama and Clemson, they began to take a much harder look at the Gamecocks after their fateful win over the Crimson Tide last October.
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“It made a huge impact,” said the twins’ father, John Stadnik, a former NFL lineman. “The boys loved the energy in the stadium. They really felt that was the best college game they had ever seen. They really enjoyed it.”
The Stadniks are the fourth and fifth commitments in the Class of 2012 for the Gamecocks, who are quickly adding to what figures to be a much smaller class than the one they signed in February.
In this two-for-one deal, USC landed one of the nation’s elite offensive tackles.
Brock Stadnik, who stands 6-foot-5, 280 pounds, had offers from a litany of BCS-conference schools and has already accepted an invitation to next January’s Under Armour All-America Game. Clayton, a 6-foot-2, 260-pound center, isn’t nearly as highly regarded, but he’s blossomed after hitting his growth spurt a little later than his brother.
The duo decided they wanted to play together in college, leaving USC, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, N.C. State and East Carolina as their options. Each of those schools had offered both of the brothers, but ultimately the Gamecocks won out.
“Just basically the coaching staff,” Clayton said of reasoning behind their decision. “We felt very comfortable with them, coach [Shawn] Elliott and coach [Jay] Graham. We really liked them a lot. Their personalities really stood out to us. [They] were just somebody we could trust if we need anything.”
The brothers last visited Columbia for USC’s spring game and that trip sealed their decision.
“On that last visit we took, we really settled in,” Brock said. “We really feel like it’s the right school for both of us. We felt really good about the decision.”
The Stadniks kept their options open throughout the recruiting process, and they eventually decided that USC was the right choice for each of them individually and for them as a pair. Early in the prep careers, it seemed unlikely they would be playing together in college. In fact, it seemed unlikely that Clayton would play collegiately at all.
Brock has been Western Guilford’s starting left tackle since his freshman season and has continued to develop into a powerful run and pass blocker. Clayton, who was much smaller, didn’t prosper early but developed into a college-level center in 2010.
“[USC] is getting, first of all, two high-character kids that work hard,” Western Guilford coach Chris Causey said. “They live in the weight room. They bust their rear ends. And [they’re] two great football players. They’re technique-sound. They’re tenacious, and in high school a lot of times you don’t find offensive linemen with that killer instinct. They’re super kids off the field, but they’ve got a nasty side on the field.”
Brock Stadnik interview
Clayton Stadnik interview
Western Guilford (N.C.) coach Chris Causey interview
The announcement: Stadniks pick USC