CONWAY | Coastal Carolina won’t unveil its football recruiting class until National Signing Day next month, but the Chanticleers officially gained one addition Thursday as former South Carolina wide receiver DeMario Bennett arrived on campus as a transfer to CCU.
Bennett, who played sparingly for the Gamecocks as a redshirt-freshman last season, has officially been admitted to the university and could begin classes today, CCU coach David Bennett confirmed.
The Chants received official notice Wednesday evening of Bennett’s release from South Carolina and the next day the transfer was official.
“I was eating lunch yesterday and get a phone call [from USC receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr.] that this young man wants to go to school [here] ...,” David Bennett said Thursday. “Says he wants to go and get some more playing time and are we interested in him?”
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The CCU coaches had to wait until the official release came from South Carolina before they could call the player.
“[Assistant coach Mike] Castellano waited here, texted me and said that it had come,” Bennett said. “So we reached out to the young man, got his number and called him. ... He’s down here trying to get everything squared today.”
DeMario Bennett, listed at 6-foot-2 and 174 pounds last season, had one catch for four yards in eight games with the Gamecocks.
According to USC’s football media guide, he was rated as a two-star prospect by Rivals.com coming out of Coffee High School in Georgia. The Chants also have several other players from that school -- receiver Akeem Wesley (who has close ties to Bennett), cornerback Pernell Williams and defensive tackle Brooks Barbaree.
David Bennett said Barbaree stopped by his office Thursday with a big smile on his face and said, “Man, I’m glad he’s here.”
“I hear he’s a great kid,” Bennett said. “There was some talk back during camp when classes started about him possibly wanting to leave and go to an FCS school where he can play more, be an impact guy rather than wait his turn.”
Bennett could find immediate playing time with the Chants, who lose their two most productive wide receivers from last season in seniors Brandon Whitley and Marquel Willis.