The Gamecocks made a lasting impression on Kevin Crosby when they became the first school to recruit him for offense.
Crosby's 30 offers were the most of any in USC's 2014 signing class, according to Rivals. The four-star prospect from Bamberg-Ehrhardt High picked USC over Alabama and Clemson.
Throughout the process, which began after his ninth-grade season, Crosby (6-1, 230) estimated that half the schools recruited him as a linebacker. The other half sought him to play tight end.
USC's approach was welcome for someone who likes to have the ball in his hands.
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"They never talked about linebacker," he said. "When I sat down and actually looked at it, it was a big eye opener. It was special to know that they never switched over. They strictly wanted me as an H-back/tight end. That was a big deal and they were one of my first offers."
The Shrine Bowl and Under Armour All-America Game selection was a two-way standout for the Red Raiders. Known by family and friends as "K.C.," he had 43 catches for 571 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior. On defense, he had 58 tackles, four sacks, two fumble recoveries for touchdowns and two interceptions.
He enrolled at USC in time for the first summer semester and is looking forward to just playing offense. Two weeks of all-star game practices helped prepare him for his future at tight end.
"I did a lot of different things than I usually do at home, how you come across the line and trap the defensive end," he said. "Once you know you've only got to go one way, you can dedicate yourself to that one position and get better at it."
Crosby won't fill the role of a prototypical, taller tight end, and he knows that. At the tight end-H spot, he can play on the line of scrimmage or be set back closer to the quarterback and running back. He can go in motion, play fullback or line up as a flex tight end in the slot.
Corey Crosby, who helped guide his nephew through the recruiting process, said K.C. Crosby is highly motivated to prove he belongs on offense.
"Everybody talks about him being 6-1. So he says, 'I'm going to outwork everybody,' " Corey Crosby said. "He has strong hands. He can be finesse but he's physical. He's special with the ball. He can catch it anyway you throw it. In crunch time, he wants it."
When he catches the ball at Williams-Brice Stadium, expect plenty of family and friends in the stand to cheer him on with his hometown being an hour away.
"We're happy that he's close. All our family is happy that he'll be at Carolina," Corey Crosby. "He's ready to put in the work and get a chance to play at Carolina and get a chance to challenge for a starting job."