Many of the players that will form South Carolina’s Class of 2010 baseball signing class won’t have to work hard to become familiar with each other.
They already are.
The Gamecocks will be buoyed by a strong in-state group that includes Blythewood catcher Grayson Greiner, Spring Valley pitcher Taylor Guerrieri, Lake City outfielder Shon Carson, Easley shortstop Joey Pankake and St. James outfielder Tanner English.
The majority of them have played together at some point in their careers, and many are currently teammates with the Diamond Devils, a travel, showcase team based out of Mount Pleasant.
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“I have played with all of them pretty much,” said Guerrieri, who may be the crowning jewel in USC’s signing class. “It helps a lot. We know each other. We know how we play. We know what areas we all probably need to work on and what we need to get better at. We’ll be able to feed off each and come together as one. That’s what is special about this class, because we have all played together and are familiar with each other.
“I think we’ve got the potential to be one of the best recruiting classes to ever come through South Carolina. Coach Chad [Holbrook] told us the same thing a few weeks back on our recruiting visit. I think we’re going to be pretty good.”
“I feel great about it,” he said. “There are a bunch of great players. I’ve played with a bunch of them. I think our chemistry is great. That will help us both on and off the field.”
Two birds, one stop
College coaches will be able to do some one-stop shopping for a quarterback and receiver in the Class of 2012 at Greenville County’s Blue Ridge High School this spring.
Coach Wade Cooper’s program boasts two of the best junior prospects in the state at their positions. Quarterback Caleb Rowe and receiver Bryton Griffin put up huge numbers this season and made it apparent that they’ll be sought-after prospects in the coming months.
Rowe threw for 2,503 yards, 26 touchdowns and just four interceptions, completing 58 percent of his passes. Many of the completions went to Griffin, who caught 61 passes for 1,210 yards (19.8 per reception) and 19 touchdowns.
Rowe is a 6-foot-3, 185 pounder and could be the state’s top junior signal caller.
“He’s as good as I’ve ever coached, and I’ve coached some good ones,” Cooper said. “I had Phil Petty, who went on to play at South Carolina. He’s got an ability to make plays and has knowledge of the game from the technical standpoint. He’s just a pure quarterback, who is athletic and runs well. Strong arm and makes good decisions.”
South Carolina, Clemson, Alabama, Duke and North Carolina have shown early interest in him.
Griffin is a 6-2, 180-pounder with great speed. He started at corner and played some receiver as a sophomore in 2009, but Blue Ridge had an accomplished senior at the position, so he didn’t get to make a significant impact offensively. That changed in 2010.
“He’s a tremendous athlete with a tremendous work ethic,” Cooper said. “He decided he was going to be the best. He’s worked at it. He’s one of the best I’ve ever coached. No doubt about it.
“What you see on film is that he’s just such a physical player. He’s so strong. If it’s between him and a defensive back for the game, it’s going to him every time. He just has a way to make plays and finds a way to get open. Past game one, he was double covered every night and still wound up with those kinds of stats.”
USC, Clemson, Duke and others are showing interest in Griffin.
Neither Rowe nor Griffin has an offer, but Cooper expects them to begin rolling in once college coaches see them on film.