South Carolina played the waiting game with Alshon Jeffery before the Calhoun County receiver signed with the Gamecocks.
Now USC has to wait another week or so to see if the highly touted prospect will qualify.
Calhoun County coach Walt Wilson said Jeffery should receive the results next week of an SAT he took this month. Wilson is hopeful Jeffery, who chose USC over Southern Cal and Tennessee on Signing Day, will make the requisite score.
As insurance, Jeffery is taking an online science course through Edisto High in the hope of boosting his GPA in his core classes. Several years ago the NCAA switched to a sliding scale for initial eligibility, allowing recruits to offset a lower standardized test score with a higher core GPA.
Wilson said Jeffery has a 2.5 core GPA that could increase to 2.6 or 2.7 with an “A” in the online course. But Jeffery will not get another chance to take the SAT, which will not be given again until October.
If Jeffery does not qualify this summer, he likely would attend prep school in the fall.
“That’s something his family and (USC’s coaches) will have to sit down and figure out,” Wilson said. “But right now (we’re) keeping our fingers crossed that he gets what he needs.”
Jeffery was one of the gems of the Gamecocks’ 29-player signing class — a 6-foot-3, 217-pounder who caught 35 passes for 740 yards and three touchdowns as a senior. He initially committed to Southern Cal — and donned a Trojans blanket during a Signing Day press conference before pulling out a Gamecocks cap.
Another of USC’s high-profile recruits — Columbia High defensive back Chris Payne — is among three signees headed for prep school or junior college in the fall.
Gamecocks recruiting coordinator Shane Beamer said South Pointe receiver Charles Holmes would attend junior college after failing to qualify, while Beaufort defensive lineman Duane Chisolm would enroll in a prep school or junior college.
Columbia High coach Kemper Amick said Payne has the requisite standardized test score and core GPA, but USC’s compliance office recommended he attend prep school because of concerns about his transcript.
In addition to his Columbia High coursework, Amick said Payne attended the Glenforest School and took an online class through a high school in Missouri. USC officials told Payne the NCAA Clearinghouse likely would not certify Payne in time for the fall semester.
Amick said USC coaches are looking to place Payne at Fork Union in Virginia, where he would play one season, enroll at USC in January and have four years of eligibility remaining.
“He could sit at home and he’ll be cleared (eventually),” Amick said. “But it’s best that he go and play.”
Payne, who had 139 tackles as a junior before missing half of his senior season with an ankle injury, is in Canton, Ohio, this week participating for the U.S. in the Junior World Championship of American Football.
Pepper surgery. USC fifth-year defensive tackle Nathan Pepper underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to clean up loose cartilage this week, according to team doctor Jeff Guy. This was the same knee Pepper had season-ending knee surgery on in 2007. The three-year starter from Greenville expected to be ready for the start of preseason drills in August.
Reach Person at (803) 771-8496.