South Carolina football left two spots in its 2018 class open after signing day.
One has been filled.
Former Rice safety and graduate transfer J.T. Ibe committed to USC on Saturday after visiting over the previous weekend. He also was considering Iowa State and Indiana.
Ibe never played on a winning team in his three seasons with the Owls, and with the program going through a coaching change, he thought it was best for him to look elsewhere for his final season. He sees USC as a place where there’s an opportunity to start and also win.
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“I think everything is lined up, the coaches, teammates, atmosphere, degree. It’s everything someone would want in a program and I see myself thriving in it,” Ibe said. “I want to come in and whether I have to compete or I don’t have to compete, I want to come in and start, and I want to win as well. If winning means I have to compete with another guy for a starting spot, I’m willing to compete. That’s nothing to me.”
Ibe (pronounced E-bay) is a native of Mansfield, Texas. He also had an offer from Minnesota coming out of high school.
He joins a position of particular need for USC. Steven Montac is the only experienced safety on the roster who didn’t start his career as a walk-on (Javon Charleston did). USC is expecting to rely on Jaylin Dickerson, who redshirted last year with a shoulder injury. Beyond that trio, USC has only freshmen and redshirt freshmen (unless Jamyest Williams moves there on a more permanent basis).
“I’m looking to play on a bigger stage and prove myself a little more,” Ibe said. “I talked to coach Muschamp and I talked to Travaris Robinson. He (Muschamp) said I’m a player with experience and I can come in, if I’m better than the guys, and come in and play right away. He feels like they are trying to win an SEC championship and they need to do that right away.”
Ibe added that there was not one thing Muschamp said to him to convince him to join his program. It was simply the overall looks of things in Columbia that convinced him to join the Gamecocks.
“I like the way they coach,” he said. “They’re perfectionists. That’s how everybody should be. I want to start. I think that’s everybody’s goal, and stay healthy to play the whole season. And go win an SEC championship.”