Some of the top baseball prospects in the country, including several South Carolina commits for the class of 2018, are playing in the WWBA National Championship in Atlanta this week.
Gamecocks coach Mark Kingston has had phone conversations with USC’s commits and has also been at the tournament as he tries to keep Carolina’s class intact.
The feedback from the class of 2018 has been overwhelmingly positive as it appears the coaching change will not have much of an impact on USC’s recruiting class.
“From a recruiting standpoint, it’s great because the stuff he did at South Florida is unbelievable. Not taking anything away from that program because it’s a great program down there, but when you get to South Carolina and you get the talent that they’ve had in the past and what they have now, I think it may be a little step above South Florida,” pitcher commit John Gilreath said. “I think he can handle it really well, and he’s already shown so far that he’s on the right track to success here.”
Most of the members of the class of 2018 took to Twitter to reaffirm their commitment to the Gamecocks after talking on the phone with Kingston.
USC’s coach had a simple message when talking with recruits.
“He was just making sure that we’re still all in with being a Gamecock and stuff. He was just reaching out to us and making sure we’re still in,” outfielder commit Kyle Horton said. “It wasn’t a big surprise (that there was a change). There had been rumors all year. It was a little disappointing at first, but I talked to Kingston, and I’m confident that he knows what he’s doing with this program and I’m 100 percent still in.”
In addition to Kingston, USC assistant Mike Current is working for USC at the tournament in Atlanta after leaving his position at South Florida to join Kingston in Columbia. Carolina pitching coach Jerry Meyers, who was retained by Kingston, is also at the event.
“It’s reassuring to know that they’re invested in us and the commits that they already had, because they could bring in their own recruits, but they’re out here watching us and evaluating us and seeing how we play, so that’s reassuring,” catcher commit Wes Clarke said.
Pitcher/shortstop Owen White is the top-rated South Carolina commit in the class of 2018.
White said the reason he wanted to go to USC was to play for former coach Chad Holbrook, and while White will not get to do that in Columbia, he remains committed to the Gamecocks.
“I talked with coach Kingston this week, and I really liked it. Hopefully, I’ll get down there soon and communicate a little more and really get to know each other. ... We’re going to go talk a little bit and, hopefully, confirm it for real,” White said. “He’s a great guy. He has an awesome personality. He really knows baseball. I’m just ready to get down there and communicate and work everything out.”