Longtime South Carolina defensive line commitment Javon Kinlaw announced Monday night on Twitter that he is backing off his pledge and reopening his recruiting.
Kinlaw, a Shrine Bowler from Goose Creek who played this season for Jones County College in Mississippi, committed to USC coach Will Muschamp last December, and the Gamecocks devised a plan for him to enroll early at Jones so he could get out this May and only use one year of eligibility.
The expectations by all have been for Kinlaw to go to USC, and he repeatedly reaffirmed his commitment over the season, but he said Monday night those expectations are what drove him to decommit.
“When I was on the phone with coach Muschamp, he was just making feel like I owe him something,” Kinlaw said. “Just talking like, ‘We sent you here, we did this and we did that.’ That’s what really just drove me away from them. I didn’t like the way he was stating stuff. I understand they definitely did a lot of things for me, but I’m just saying you can’t just rub it in my face like that.”
Never miss a local story.
Kinlaw said he first texted Muschamp with the news of his decommitment and then the two had a long conversation about it. Kinlaw said the push from those he knows about going to USC ultimately got to him.
“It’s the same thing with certain people just making me feel like I owe coach Muschamp and them something, I owe South Carolina something. Just a lot of people driving me away, making me feel like they own my life or something, people back home,” he said. “I didn’t really feel bothered by it until I told coach Muschamp how I felt about it and he just talked to me the way he did.”
Despite all that, Kinlaw said he “definitely” will still consider USC, but he’s not sure at this point if Muschamp will continue to recruit him.
“We’re just not seeing eye to eye right,” he said. “I definitely care” (that Muschamp continues to recruit him).
Kinlaw has not set up any official visits yet but he has said that, along with USC, he wants to visit Alabama, Maryland, Tennessee and Louisville.
His decision leaves USC with 21 commitments for the 2017 class, with two of those on the defensive line.