The top-rated recruit currently committed to South Carolina football said Wednesday he was unaware of offensive coordinator Kurt Roper’s firing until after the fact, but remains firm in his decision to sign with the Gamecocks.
Josh Vann, a 5-foot-11 receiver from Tucker, Ga., is rated as the 63rd best player in the country and ninth best wideout by 247Sports. He committed to the Gamecocks in August and put together a strong senior season for Tucker High School, scoring 12 touchdowns in 11 games while hauling in 46 catches for 867 yards.
Throughout Vann’s recruiting process, he was close with USC wide receivers coach and interim offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon, and it was that close relationship that led to Vann learning about Roper’s dismissal, albeit in a roundabout way.
“I didn’t know (about Roper’s firing) until some guy hit me up and asked me, did I know what (McClendon) is going to be calling in the bowl game,” Vann said. “I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ And that’s when I seen it, on the web, that the OC had been fired. So I found out late too. Nobody really came and told me about it, so I didn’t think of it very much.”
In contrast to Vann, quarterback commit Dakereon Joyner said he received some advance warning about Will Muschamp’s plans to dismiss Roper, who also served as South Carolina’s quarterbacks coach.
For what it’s worth, however, Vann said he thinks McClendon will go with a balanced play-calling approach while directing the Gamecocks offense in the Outback Bowl, but will still not hesitate to be aggressive.
Explosive plays are something Vann considers one of his strengths. And it’s an area that coach Will Muschamp reportedly wants to improve upon after South Carolina ranked 85th in the country in yards per play this season.
“I was watching (South Carolina’s games this season), and some of the games it was like, ‘What is going on?’ ... Some of the stuff they were doing, like it’s gotta be the simplest stuff. Like the receivers weren’t catching the ball, I know they weren’t blocking well for the running backs, so I mean, it’s a lot of stuff. That stuff happens during the football season, so you really can’t ... it’s something to expect. When I get there, I just want to contribute as best as I can,” Vann said.
Vann is expected to officially sign with the Gamecocks as part of the early signing period that begins Wednesday, but he will not come to Columbia as an early enrollee, his high school coach Bryan Lamar said Friday.
To contribute, Vann said he must continue to improve his route-running and develop as a leader – even though he has continued to rise in recruiting rankings since he picked USC in August, a decision he made in order to play his senior season with no distractions.
“My whole deal was, after my junior season ... like all these coaches start coming to meet after junior season. So before senior season, it was kind of like, nerve-wracking, what I had to do,” Vann said. “So just by me getting that off my shoulders, that first game was kind of relieving, because coaches don’t really hit me up about it anymore, so it’s kind of like a whole breeze just finishing off the year right so I can get there.”