For Gamecocks wide receiver commitment Kwinton Smith, South Carolina feels like home.
Smith (6-4, 210, Dillon) chose the Gamecocks over offers from Florida, LSU, Alabama and Georgia. He was offered at a USC camp in June.
Smith had 43 catches for 830 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, breaking the school record for receptions and touchdowns. He is also a baseball prospect and batted .475 with six home runs last season.
He was the first receiver to commit to the Gamecocks. Smith, Sun Valley’s (N.C.) Jody Fuller (6-1, 205) and Lexington’s Shaq Roland (6-2, 170) gave USC’s receiving corps a big boost by all committing in the course of four days.
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Why did you make your decision early?
The pressure kind of built up on me with all these schools. I realized I could go ahead and get it done and get it over with and focus on everything that's going to happen this year. That's the main thing that got my decision over with real quick.
USC's offer came after offers from Florida, LSU and Alabama. Did you know USC's offer was coming?
It was an offer that I was going to seriously look at. They had everything I wanted. I built up a good chemistry with coach [Steve] Spurrier Jr. and coach [Shawn] Elliott. That kind of did it for me too because I know I can go to them any time I need them.
What do you like about Spurrier Jr.?
He's a down-to-earth guy. He's going to push you. He's going to try to make you into the best receiver there is. It's like you're his son. He's going to do anything for you.
What about Shawn Elliott?
Coach Elliott is a nice guy, fun to be around. He works you hard. He's going to push you to the point where he thinks you need to be.
You've already played in Williams-Brice in state championships. Talk about that.
It's a nice crowd just for a state championship and you hear how loud it is. And you can just imagine how loud it gets when you're playing in big games against big-time teams. It's a nice place to play in and I look forward to it.
What makes you a good receiver?
I use my body real well and my hands. I go up there and get it at the highest point. We're working on things right now with route-running and trying to get my speed and strength up a little bit more. I need to put on a little more weight and make sure my speed doesn't go down.
What are your senior season goals?
Try to win a state championship and get to another level so I can get ready for the SEC. I know the competition up here is way different from high school.
Will you also play baseball for the Gamecocks?
I'm planning on doing both while I'm here. I know this is a big-time baseball program. You're going to have to be a big-time player to play.
Ultimately, what sold you on South Carolina?
The people around here. I'm real close with them. I had a feeling ever since I've been here that this is going to be the place because the coaches and players around here make you feel at home.