South Carolina promoted assistant coach Bryan McClendon to its offensive coordinator position in January, a move wide receiver target Porter Rooks was happy to see.
McClendon, who previously served as USC’s wide receivers coach, called plays as the Gamecocks rallied past Michigan in the Outback Bowl to earn their ninth win of the season.
Rooks was watching the game and was impressed by what he saw.
“It was definitely interesting. You can tell that the passing game was a little more aggressive, they were trying to go downfield a little bit more,” Rooks said. “That’s definitely attractive because that’s just how you put up points.”
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The Charlotte native is one of the top receivers in the country for the class of 2020 and already holds offers from Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, South Carolina and others.
He visited the Gamecocks in January and had a fun trip that included a sit down with McClendon and USC head coach Will Muschamp.
“We really just chopped it up a lot about football and talking about how I could fit into the system, fit into the offense, especially with coach B Mac being the receivers coach,” Rooks said. “That’s very attractive because he’s going to try to grow the passing game, so that’s definitely attractive to me. Coach Muschamp got to know a little bit more about my dad, and my dad got to know him a little bit more so it was just a great visit.”
Rooks came away very impressed by the fact that McClendon already has a plan for how he will work Rooks into South Carolina’s offense.
“It was kind of cool because he had done his homework just like I have. He was telling me, pretty much explaining my exact strengths and telling me how I could fit into the system being that their passing game’s going to be a little bit more aggressive, especially going downfield this year,” Rooks said. “So it was just cool to know that he knew exactly what I like to do and how I like to do it and he kind of incorporated that into how he was gonna run things.”
Rooks went on to say that he has regular conversations with McClendon, Muschamp and area recruiter Bobby Bentley.
The Providence Day star is currently rated as a four-star prospect, the No. 2 player in North Carolina and the No. 3 receiver in the country by 247Sports.
Rooks is still open with his recruitment, but he is impressed by what Muschamp has done with USC’s program, as well as the way Carolina’s coach has gone about recruiting him.
“It seems like he’s just really transparent. He’ll tell you how it is. He’s not going to sugarcoat anything,” Rooks said. “That’s what you have to always respect in the recruiting process because you know the recruiting process can be a little sugarcoating and tell you what you want to hear, but he seems pretty transparent.”