The South Carolina football team landed a commitment from an Alabama defensive lineman Tuesday just as Steve Spurrier was announcing that he was resigning as head coach.
Darius Whitfield of Mobile, Ala., announced his pledge to USC on Twitter: “Officially a Gamecock.”
Whitfield (6-3, 215) has played offense and defense at St. Paul’s Episcopal and was recruited to USC to play defense.
“I’ve always loved the Gamecocks,” Whitfield told AL.com. “Jadeveon Clowney was one of my favorite players. I also felt like South Carolina was always very sincere with me in my recruitment. The coaches said they love guys from the 251, and I feel like I can go up there and compete right away.”
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Current Gamecocks Jonathan Walton and Taylor Stallworth are from the Mobile area.
Whitfield was recruited to USC by linebackers coach Kirk Botkin and chose the Gamecocks over Missouri. He also had offers from Mississippi State and Miami during the recruiting process.
“He had a lot of offers early in the year but he liked South Carolina from the jump,” said Whitfield’s coach Steve Mask. “He and Coach Botkin had a good relationship. He wanted to play in the SEC and that’s a good fit for him.”
Whitfield had planned to visit USC for the first time last weekend but that trip was canceled when the Gamecocks moved their game to LSU. His coach said that didn’t deter Whitfield from his plans, as he’s known for about three weeks that he wanted to go to USC. And he’s making the pledge fully aware of the coaching change at hand.
“We talked about it last night and he said coach, I want to go to USC,” Mask said. “He said he has a little concern if Kirk will be there.”
Whitfield was just selected for the Alabama-Mississippi All Star game. His coach said his versatility on being able to play on both sides of the line make him a valuable player. The Gamecocks recruited him to play on the interior of the defensive line.
Whitfield’s decision gives USC 16 commitments for the 2016 class. He his the third defensive lineman in the group.