Latta High offensive lineman Donell Stanley on Friday announced his commitment to South Carolina at the Ellis Performing Arts Center in Latta.
With his family surrounding him and his Latta teammates and cheerleaders looking on, Stanley read a prepared statement that concluded with his announcement of his intention to become a Gamecock.
“With the blessings of my family, I would like to announce, next year I will be attending the University of South Carolina,” Stanley said proudly. He did not don any Gamecocks gear during his announcement.
Stanley had stated earlier in the month that his choices were down to the two major instate programs.
“It took four years to make this decision between South Carolina and Clemson,” he said.
Stanley, a consensus four-star prospect and ranks No. 4 overall instate for the class of 2014 in the 247Composite ranking, which factors in all networks, is the seventh in-state commitment among South Carolina’s still-growing 13-member class.
Stanley said he informed his recruiter, coach Shawn Elliott, of his choice over a month ago, and thanked the Gamecocks’ staff for allowing him to make the announcement in his hometown on his own time.
Stanley said he made his choice after countless visits to Columbia, the last with his mother accompanying him.
“After I went to campcoach Elliott showed me all that South Carolina had to offer,” he said. “We pretty much talked about it from Columbia to Latta.”
Stanley said he gave Elliott his commitment early to hold the position because he knew there was only one scholarship left.
“Coach Elliott is the right position coach for me,” said Stanley, who will play in the Under Armour All-America game Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. “(When I told him) he was very excited. He wanted to get me on the field that day, when they were playing North Carolina.”
Stanley said making his announcement now allows him to focus on pursuing region titles with Latta’s football, basketball and baseball teams.
“I look forward to going deep in the playoffs and putting Latta back on the map in all three sports,” Stanley said.
For the Gamecocks, Stanley said he is prepared to play guard, tackle or even defense.
“I think he’s gifted enough to play where he wants to play,” said Vikings coach Kelly Williamson. “He’s just an athlete and you don’t get than with many big kids.
“There’s so much upside to him. When Carolina gets to him next year, you won’t recognize him,” Williamson said.
Stanley, who is listed at 340 pounds, said he’ll change a bit well before then. When basketball season rolls around, he expects to drop about 15 pounds.