South Carolina offered Fort Dorchester quarterback Dakereon Joyner what might feel like a lifetime ago, as an eighth-grader and under another coaching staff, in the midst of another era for Gamecock football.
A lot has changed since that offer, but Joyner finally accepted.
To honor his late father Damond Alton Joyner, Dakereon Joyner announced his decision Sunday, on Father’s Day, choosing USC ahead of N.C. State to become the first quarterback commit in South Carolina’s 2018 staff. The athletic, 6-foot-4, 200-pounder had offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Oklahoma, but the four-star prospect chose to stay close to home.
“They definitely need a dual threat guy,” Joyner said after announcing his decision. “Jake Bentley does an incredible job. In some places where they shut down the running back or the running game, or they shut down the pass game, a dual-threat quarterback plays a bit part. He’s kind of an eraser. If a play breaks down he makes something happen.”
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Steve Spurrier first offered Joyner as a 13-year-old, surprising Patriots coach Steve LaPrad, who has sent plenty of talent to the Division I ranks.
“South Carolina coming down there, ‘Coach, we want to offer that kid.’ ” LaPrad said. “I said, ‘Coach, he’s only 13.’ It was funny, at the time, I said, ‘Coach, you’re probably not going to be here.’
“He says, ‘Coach, that might be true, but we want to be the first ones.’ ”
Spurrier’s gone, but the staff of Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper closed the deal, securing the commitment of the No. 4 prospect in the state according to 247Sports’ Composite rating.
Joyner split time behind center as a freshman, before stepping into the starting role in 2015 and leading the Patriots to an undefeated state championship season. He threw for 3,197 yards, 30 touchdowns and ran for 1,022 reaching the end zone 18 times.
Last fall, he accounted for 3,643 yards through the air, 1,091 on the ground with 56 total touchdowns (44 passing, 12 rushing), on the way to being named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year.
Joyner is the ninth commitment of USC’s 2018 class. According to reports, USC still might be looking for a second passer.