It sounds as if South Carolina is prepared to accept its Class of 2011 non-qualifiers back into the fold next semester.
Of course, that depends fully on whether former Carver (Ga.) offensive lineman Quincy McKinney and former Scott’s Branch standout Jerell Adams can successfully reach the NCAA’s minimum qualification standards this fall.
Both will spend a semester at Fork Union Military Academy in rural central Virginia. The school, noted as one of the nation’s premier football-playing prep schools, is where USC typically places its non-qualifying signees.
USC had a third signee, Spartanburg corner Ronnie Martin, also fail to qualify, but if he gets another chance to become a Gamecock, it will take a little longer to come to fruition. He enrolled last month at Georgia Military College and will need to graduate from the junior college before becoming eligible for a Division I scholarship.
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McKinney and Adams have a much easier road. Both were on the edge of qualifying and by either raising their GPA or standardized test score, they’ll should be able to qualify through the NCAA’s sliding scale. A high test score or GPA helps offset a deficiency in the other area on that scale.
Fork Union’s postgraduate football players, including McKinney and Adams, will report to school Tuesday.
“We haven’t had too many discussions with the coach [at Fork Union],” McKinney’s mother, Linda Walker, said. “I don’t know what type of roster they are working with, but they seem pretty excited about getting him. He’s ready to move on.
“As far as we know, he’ll be going up [to USC] in January. He’s looking forward to starting school at South Carolina.”
The same goes for Adams, according to Scott’s Branch head coach Leonard Johnson. After struggling academically early in his high school career, Adams was teetering on the edge of non-qualification all spring, so Johnson said it wasn’t much of a surprise when it happened.
“The disappointment was there, but he dealt with it and moved on,” Johnson said. “He knows what he’s got to do. We’ve talked about it. If he’s going to do it, he’s going to do it right. He’s excited about it.
“From my understanding, he’ll be OK [with USC’s coaches], according to the last conversation I had.”
ESPNHS, formerly known as ESPN Rise, released its preseason prep honors last week, and several Class of 2012 South Carolina commitments were named all-region by the organization.
St. Joseph (N.C.) linebacker Kaiwan Lewis, the highest-rated defensive player in USC’s class, was named to the All-East Region first team. Allentown Central Catholic (Pa.) signal caller Brendan Nosovitch, USC’s only quarterback commitment, was named to the second team. The region starts at Virginia and moves north, encompassing all the mid-Atlantic and New England states.
Lexington standout Shaq Roland was named the All-South Region second team as a utility player. He was the only Palmetto State player chosen from a region that encompasses Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and the Carolinas.
Powerhouse Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) is ranked as the nation’s preseason No. 1 team in the ESPNHS Fab 50. The traditional power features USC defensive back target Elijah Shumate.
Florida Class 6A power Armwood, which is led by USC offensive line commitment Cody Waldrop, is ninth, and Stephenson (Ga.), which features USC commitments Carlos Hood and Kyle Fleetwood, is 32nd in the rankings. Byrnes, the only South Carolina team to make the top 50, was 33rd.