The future looked bleak for Duane Chisolm after he went down with a torn ligament in his right knee in October. But even the devastating ACL injury could not curtail the football dreams of Beaufort High School's senior defensive lineman.
Last week, Chisolm verbally committed to play at the University of South Carolina during an in-house visit by Gamecock defensive line coach Brad Lawing.
"Basically, they gave me an offer that I couldn't turn down when they said even if I got hurt again, they would still keep my scholarship on the table," Chisolm said Wednesday. "So when they showed me loyalty like that, I couldn't help but be loyal to them and accept their offer."
The Gamecocks are hoping that Chisolm can return to his 2007 form when he recorded 114 tackles and 15 sacks. Before suffering his injury in Beaufort's sixth game this past season, the 6-foot-4, 250-pound star had four sacks and 31 tackles.
Chisolm said his recovery is going well so far. He's walking without crutches and has started working out again in the weight room -- both of which have reaffirmed the belief that the four-star recruit will showcase his lofty, pre-injury skills at USC.
"I was never worried because I know how the medical profession is these days and how doctors do a great job," said Beaufort football coach Mark Clifford, "and Duane is, athletically, so far ahead and beyond all of the area's others players. So, I have no doubt he'll recover and come back strong."
The down time also has given Chisolm a chance to focus on academics, in order to qualify under Division I standards. He recently took the SAT and has been undergoing academic tutoring after school.
"I'm going to do everything I can to qualify, and I think I will, but we've talked about a back-up plan," Chisolm said. "With me getting hurt, it's been a hard year at times, but it helped change how I look at things. It humbles you more than anything, so looking back, it's been a good thing."
Chisolm becomes the third Beaufort High player to commit to USC in the last two years. In August, fellow senior Jimmy Legree verbally committed to play for the Gamecocks and former Beaufort defensive lineman Devin Taylor is currently redshirting his first year in Columbia.