Honestly, there was very little chance Christian Pellage would flip.
The 6-foot-6, 305-pound offensive lineman from Nature Coast Technical High School admitted there was a late push from Florida that piqued his interest, but in the end, South Carolina was always on his mind.
“With their new staff at Florida (led by new head coach Jim McElwain), I thought, ‘Why not give them a try and see what they’re all about?’ ” said Pellage, who had 31 Division-I offers on the table. “It was great visit and the coaches and players there are great, but deep down in my heart, I felt South Carolina was right for me. I just couldn’t get off this path to South Carolina.”
So when Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier and running backs coach and recruiter Everette Sands called Pellage on Tuesday evening, he was fully on board.
“I would've gone to South Carolina even if Spurrier had retired or left,” Pellage added. “It really hit me I wanted to go there after the second camp and (offensive line) coach (Shawn) Elliott really got me going. I really liked the way he coached and I knew this was my destination and I just felt at home.”
Pellage was the biggest player on a Sharks offensive line that paved the way for 3,172 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns in their 2014 season. That’s coming a long way from when he was just another kid trying to find a spot on the varsity team.
“You know, coming into high school,” Pellage recalled, “I was just this skinny kid at defensive end. Then (recruiting) started my sophomore year, and once I got the first offer, they all just came pouring in. It was all overwhelming to me, and I wasn't ready for any of that — visits and fans on Twitter and letters and phones calls. It was overwhelming, but it was all worth it to get to (National Signing Day).”
With Pellage taking a late visit to Florida, many were worried he would join the other recruits who had flipped on South Carolina.
“I think the reason they flipped was because they didn’t think Spurrier would be there or he wouldn’t be there as long as he says he will,” Pellage said. “I think he’ll be there more than people think. He’s going to want to leave with a good note, but I also think others were worried about playing time, too.”
Heading into the summer practices and the fall season, Pellage said he would love to find himself starting when the Gamecocks open the season vs. North Carolina at Bank of America Stadium on Sept. 3. Whether that happens isn’t a priority just yet, but being a on South Carolina’s football team sure is.
“You can never really guarantee a starting spot, especially as a freshman,” Pellage said. “I’m going to go in with a good attitude, work my butt off, be humble, and maybe I get that starting spot, or maybe I get some playing time. But my goal is just play for South Carolina.”