Grayson Greiner grew up in the shadow of South Carolina’s campus. Now he gets the opportunity to help the school’s athletic department continue its climb into the limelight.
The Blythewood baseball standout was among the athletes to sign a National Letter of Intent with USC Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period. Greiner is considered a key cog in what is expected to be a highly ranked recruiting class for the Gamecocks.
With baseball coming off a national championship, football having unprecedented success and basketball securing some talented newcomers, Greiner is thrilled about the opportunity in front of him and his fellow signees.
“It means everything to me since I’ve lived here my whole life and grew up 10 minutes from campus,” said Greiner, a power-hitting catcher. “ I’m excited to get there.
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“This is a high point for football and obviously baseball. I definitely think it’s great to be going there at a time when there is so much buzz going around about Gamecock athletics.”
If Greiner ends up playing for the Gamecocks – he may have the option to turn pro after next June’s draft – he’ll have the chance to create some buzz of his own. Along with two similarly rated prospects, Lake City outfielder Shon Carson and Spring Valley pitcher Taylor Guerrieri, he will have the opportunity to help Ray Tanner’s squad stay atop the college baseball world.
Darrin Horn’s basketball team is trying to reach similar feats. The Gamecocks signed a solid group of players in the Class of 2010, and then landed the best Palmetto State player in the Class of 2011, shooting guard Damien Leonard, and another top-150 talent in Charlotte Christian (N.C.) forward Anthony Gill.
Leonard, who is 6-foot-5, and the 6-8 Gill are expected to be the only members of this recruiting class for the Gamecocks. Leonard averaged 21 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3 assists last season, and Gill averaged 18 points and nine rebounds.
Both signed National Letters of Intent on Wednesday.
“They are two SEC-level players,” ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep said. “Anthony Gill gives them a presence and an attitude in the frontcourt. He’s a tremendous finisher and he’s able to go out to midrange and knock down the jump shot. He’s just a tall, blue-collar guy. He’s a very underrated player in my opinion.
“Everybody has in their DNA who you are. From 24 feet and in at the end of the day, Damien Leonard is going to let it fly. He makes 3-point shots. That’s what he does. Bruce Ellington is going to enjoy playing with Damien Leonard, because as a drive-and-pitch point guard, he’s now got a sniper on the wing.”
Many recruiting analysts believe Leonard could develop into a star with the Gamecocks, who lack a dynamic perimeter shooter with his talents.
Austin Alexander, owner of thediamondprospects.com, believes Tanner has landed several potential stars in his recruiting class. The Gamecocks are expected to sign a large class – it likely won’t be announced until next week once all the National Letters of Intent are received – that includes several notable in-state and out-of-state prospects, Alexander said.
“It’s a very good class,” he said. “Greiner and Guerrieri have a chance to be top-tier guys. Carson is a football-first guy, but he will help them in baseball. I won’t say in-state they’ve upgraded, because they’ve done a tremendous job over the years. I can say they’ve done a tremendous job out of state as well. They’ve got a ton of guys coming in. It’s going to become a survival-of-the-fittest type deal.”