Shrine Bowl defensive lineman Poona Ford of Hilton Head shook up the recruiting world somewhat Friday when he not only revealed a decommitment from Louisville but also dropped USC from consideration.
Ford had said last month he was actually considering the Gamecocks along with the Cardinals. When Charlie Strong left Louisville for Texas, that set the wheels in motion for where Ford is Friday: choosing between the Longhorns, Oregon and Missouri.
So the question locally is, what happened with USC?
"That's something more for him to comment on than me to comment on," Hilton Head coach BJ Payne said Friday afternoon. "He's a damn good kid who's been put in a tough situation who is trying to make the most of it. He wanted to stay committed to Louisville. He really liked Louisville, a lot of things about Louisville. He kept hoping somebody was going to contact him from there. They haven't reached out to him.
"I don't think you should take officials when you are committed and I said, are you ready, and he said yeah, they've had enough time, and I'm going to decommit and totally open things back up. He and his dad and his grandma sat down two nights ago and discussed options and he came up with his list of schools he narrowed it down to and for sure where he was going to take visits and where he was interested in going."
Payne said there was lot of speculation that Ford's grandmother wanted him to go to certain places, but he said that's not the case.
"Grandma wants Poona to be happy. She wants Poona to go where Poona wants to go to school. That is something I heard directly from her the other day. This is a decision an 18-year-old kid is making and his family is leaving it up to him to make the decision. It's not grandma making the decision, it's not dad making the decision and it's damn sure isn't me making the decision.
"I'm sick of hearing that I'm the reason and I'm pushing this kid out of the state and I'm doing this and I'm doing that. Well, your dad played at Clemson. Listen, my dad played at Clemson when Frank Howard was there in 1965. I don't think I own a Clemson shirt or hat. But that's been the speculation out there that his coach is pushing him away. I don't do that. My job is to help our kids and help them get recruited and give them as many options as they can. It's been extremely frustrating from my point of view that I'm getting blamed for all of this."
Payne said he took Ford to USC for visits three times but as it turns out, Ford just doesn't want to stay in state.
"I can say this, Everette Sands has done an incredible job recruiting the kid. The kid just doesn't want to go to South Carolina," Payne said. " There's nothing that happened. I do know the kid thought certain family members wanted him to stay close, and when he found out that wasn't the case ... does that make sense?
"That's what changed the whole thing. There was some misunderstanding within the family. It was openly said, 'We want you to go where you are happy.' I don't care if its on the other side of the world. You go where you are happy. If the kid came up to me today and say he wanted to be a Gamecock, I'd be happy as hell for the kid. He just doesn't feel its the right fit for him. It's nothing against South Carolina or the staff. He did has just made another decision. I want the kid to go play college football and get an education for free, no matter where he goes."