Diondre Champaigne wouldn’t mind staging a reunion with his high school quarterback on the football field.
He’d have to do it in Columbia in a South Carolina uniform.
Champaigne was a top receiver on the Fort Dorchester team Dakereon Joyner quarterbacked to a state title in 2015. Champaigne was a late commit to Will Muschamp’s first class and ended up in junior college in Mississippi. He was on hand to watch Joyner, a four-star prospect and top-5 player in the state, commit to the Gamecocks.
“I grew up with him, played football with him, won a state championship together,” Champaigne said. “I’m proud of him.”
The Champaigne that left North Charleston isn’t the one sitting in the auditorium on Father’s Day. He’s bigger, thicker, and his former high school coach noted he’s added a lot of weight to what was a 6-foot-4, 180-pound frame.
He spent last season at Jones County Community College in Mississippi, playing on the same team as current Gamecock and former Goose Creek defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw. The Bobcats were run-heavy by junior college standards, and Champaigne had eight catches for 121 yards and a touchdown in nine games (for reference, no player on the team averaged more than 2.8 catches a game).
He also had to transition to junior college life, leaving the Charleston area for a very different locale in rural Mississippi.
“It hasn’t been hard,” Champaigne said. “Around there, it’s quiet, so it’s not hard to focus on football and school.”
At the moment, his top offer is from Shawn Elliott’s Georgia State, but he expects things might pick up. He’s looking at or plans to visit Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn and Florida State, and has the preexisting relationship with USC’s staff.
“Right now, I’m looking at other schools,” Champaigne said. “South Carolina's still pretty high on the board, but I’m looking at other schools now.”