Damani Staley got an early start to National Signing Day.
The Ridge View defensive end/linebacker was up working out with his Blazer teammates even though he has played his final snap for the school. An hour or so later, Staley took the first step in his college football career by signing with South Carolina.
“He is the only senior who still comes to 6 a.m. workouts,” Ridge View coach Perry Parks said. “He is a different kid. There is not really enough words you can put for a kid like Damani being in our program. Definitely a guy we are going to miss but extremely excited and proud for him for all the good things he did. We are excited to see him perform at the next level.”
Staley has been committed to USC since March and didn’t entertain any other offers or make any other visits. He heads to USC, where his father Duce was a standout running back.
Staley said playing at his father’s alma mater was a factor, but wasn’t the only reason he chose USC.
“I have always been waiting for this day to come and today is the day. It feels great to say I’m finally a Gamecock,” Staley said. “Ever since I was little, it has always been my dream to come to South Carolina … and now it is a dream come true.”
247Sports ranks Staley as a three-star recruit and he is No. 17 in SC for the Class of 2017. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder set the single season and career sack mark at Ridge View. He recorded 29 this season and 50 over the past two seasons while playing defensive end.
Staley will be moving to linebacker at USC and is trying to put on more weight before he enrolls.
“It is another level, so I got to push myself and do things I have never done before,” Staley said.