If South Carolina does, in fact, plan to sign one quarterback in the Class of 2012, the Gamecocks at least know they got their man.
Allentown Central Catholic (Penn.) signal-caller Brendan Nosovitch, who long had been favoring the Gamecocks, called USC quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus on Tuesday and committed, becoming the 14th member of a quickly expanding class.
“I’ve really liked South Carolina from my first visit,” Nosovitch said. “Throughout the entire process, that was the school I was learning toward. I think all along I knew I was going there, so today I decided to call coach and let him know that I’ll be coming. He was really excited. I’m definitely excited.”
The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder is the first, and possibly the last, quarterback to commit in this class. USC’s coaches made Nosovitch a priority since offering a scholarship and have told him they will sign one player at the position in February. USC recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. said last week the Gamecocks have room to sign 16-20 players.
Rated 39th at his position by both ESPN and Scout — he is not ranked by Rivals — Nosovitch has dual-threat capabilities in line with the game plan USC has employed at the quarterback position in recent years.
Nosovitch had a remarkable junior campaign last fall, putting together one of the best seasons by a quarterback in Pennsylvania history. He was named the Gatorade state player of the year.
He completed 59 percent of his passes for 3,111 yards and 43 touchdowns. He rushed for 25 scores and finished with 4,758 total yards, becoming one of a handful of Keystone State quarterbacks to throw for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in the same season.
“I’m the kind of quarterback that likes to drop back and pass,” he said. “But if nothing is there, I’ll use my feet a little more. As a passer, I throw the deep ball pretty well. I need to work on my short game some. I think overall I’m a pretty good quarterback. I’m just ready to show off my skills.”
Allentown Central Catholic coach Harold Fairclough said last month that Nosovitch is “looking to make a play” however he can.
“I don’t think he prefers one over the other (passing or running),” the coach said. “I think he can do both well, but to just ask him to stand back in the pocket wouldn’t play to his strengths. I’m not sure which he prefers, but you have to defend him either way.
“Big arm. Accurate arm. Very high football IQ. Those are the things that make him dangerous. He’s quite a playmaker.”
Allentown Central Catholic runs a spread offense, putting Nosovitch in the shotgun to maximize his ability to read coverages and find open space in opposing defenses. Many of Nosovitch’s rushing yards come out of the read-option, in which he’s asked to quickly process the defensive front and decide whether he should hand off or keep the ball himself.
That game plan has proven successful. The Vikings were 16-0 last season, winning the school’s third state championship and first since 1998. Nosovitch has won 28 of his past 30 starts.
“The bottom line is that the kid is a winner,” Fairclough said. “He’s always a competitor who shows great leadership qualities. He’s won so many awards the last two years, and you couldn’t pick this kid out of a crowd. He’s a very humble kid who handles everything well.”
Nosovitch, who also had scholarship offers from Clemson, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Temple, Eastern Michigan and Ohio, said he fell in love with the opportunities that a career at USC could create — athletically, academically and socially.
The Gamecocks certainly have a need at quarterback. Due to a number of recruiting misses during the Steve Spurrier era, there is little depth behind Stephen Garcia and Connor Shaw. Garcia is entering his final season of eligibility, and it has yet to be determined whether Shaw is the quarterback of the future, leaving questions at the position as USC looks to climb another rung on the SEC ladder.
USC signed two dual-threat quarterbacks in the Class of 2011, but Martay Mattox moved to the secondary during spring practice, and Tanner McEvoy likely needs time to develop, having moved under center his senior season of high school.
The status quo could put pressure on Nosovitch.
“I’m sure once I get there I’ll have to deal with that,” he said. “But right now I’m enjoying making my decision.”