Sports

Recruiting: Pair accepts USC’s offers

South Carolina’s football team picked up two commitments Tuesday.

Linebacker Matt Coffee (5-feet-11, 210 pounds) of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., becoming the sixth commitment for the Gamecocks, and the second linebacker pledge in less than a week.

Coffee made his decision a couple of days after making an unofficial visit to the campus.

“I felt it was a good fit and I had fun,” Coffee said. “I liked everything about Columbia. The stadium is beautiful and they have nice facilities.”

Coffee played five games as a junior due to mononucleosis, yet managed 60 tackles and three sacks.

He likes the plan the Gamecocks have set up for him. “I’m supposed to play the SAM linebacker and cover the tight ends and go after the quarterback,” he said. “I bring explosiveness.”

Coffee also had offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, NC State, Maryland, Illinois, Iowa State and Southern Miss.

His brother is a running back at Alabama, but he said an offer from the Crimson Tide would not change his mind.

Also, defensive end Aldrick Fordham (6-4, 237) of Timberland contacted Steve Spurrier and made his pledge.

Fordham accepted Spurrier’s offer over one from Tennessee.

“It was close to home and I grew up rooting for them,” Fordham said. “They seem to do a lot of stunts and blitzes and a lot of moving around (on defense), and I like that. It seems like a very exciting place to play. I feel confident about them winning the SEC Championship. They’ve made some good runs and in the next two years or so we’ll be there.”

Fordham, who also plays tight end, had 60 tackles and five sacks last season.

His teammate, offensive lineman Quinton Washington, also is considering the Gamecocks. Fordham said he is doing all he can to make sure they’re teammates at the next level, too. “I’m trying to convince him to be a Gamecock as well,” Fordham said. “When he signs, I think he’ll be a Gamecock.”

— Phil Kornblut

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