A standout receiver from Union County, N.C., was the first member of what could turn out to be a monumental Class of 2011 recruiting haul for South Carolina.
Marvin Ridge (N.C.) standout K.J. Brent brought the Gamecocks some good luck, so they’ve decided to revisit the well in the Class of 2012. USC is recruiting Brent’s former cross-county rival, Sun Valley (N.C.) receiver Jody Fuller, a Rivals.com national top-250 prospect.
Fuller carries a list of scholarship offers, including USC, Clemson, Tennessee, North Carolina and Miami. At 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, he’s a big, physical receiver with a lot of upside and versatility.
“Jody’s been blessed by God,” Sun Valley coach Scott Stein said. “He’s one of those kids that comes along every once in awhile that physically is probably above his peers.”
Usually a slot receiver in a spread offense, Fuller caught 80 passes for more than 800 yards, rushed 40 times, and scored 16 touchdowns last season.
Fuller fits the mold of do-it-all receivers that coaches often use to create mismatches across the board. Fuller comes in motion to take handoffs, takes direct snaps, lines up at tailback and returns kicks. Stein wants to get him 15 to 20 touches every game.
Fuller has 4.45 speed and a 40-inch vertical jump.
“Jody’s already a college player in terms of what he can do,” Stein said. “He can outrun you. He can overpower you. He’s a big, thick kid. He’s definitely one of those kids that you won’t see redshirted. He could come ready to make a difference and make plays.”
Fuller could end up making plays at a different position in college. He came to Sun Valley as a tailback, but one of his middle school teammates, Jadarrius Williams, was more of a slasher and a better fit for Stein’s offense. So, Fuller moved to the slot and Williams has starred at tailback, winning conference player of the year honors in 2009.
“I expected to switch positions,” Fuller told the Charlotte Observer last fall. “That’s what I wanted to do. It wasn’t hard to change because they’ve taught me everything I needed to know, and I’ve always been able to catch the ball well. I think it’s worked out OK.”
Some recruiters have inquired about Fuller’s potential as a tailback, and Stein believes there is interest among several schools in giving him a shot in the backfield first.
Fuller is being recruited by the Gamecocks as a receiver. He hasn’t started narrowing his list of suitors, but he and his family are planning to make several unofficial visits this summer.
“He told me last week he was going to try and narrow it down to about five by the end of June, and if he felt really strong about one, he might go ahead and make a commitment,” Stein said.
“I would say, based on my conversations with him, that South Carolina would definitely be one of his top five.”