USC Recruiting

Deion Sanders’ message to USC that Will Muschamp loved: ‘Recruit my son, not me’

Deion Sanders: South Carolina and Shilo ‘a great match’

NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders and South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp discuss Shilo Sanders joining the Gamecocks as part of the 2019 recruiting class.
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NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders and South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp discuss Shilo Sanders joining the Gamecocks as part of the 2019 recruiting class.

A former defensive back himself, Will Muschamp now has on his roster the cornerback son of one of the all-time great cornerbacks — Shilo Sanders, son of the legendary Deion Sanders, signed with South Carolina on Wednesday.

What that gives the Gamecocks is a player with huge “genetic upside,” a child of an ex-NFL star and yet another potential recruiting boost for the program.

Muschamp’s first experience with recruiting and coaching a football star’s son to USC came with cornerback Jaycee Horn, whose father is Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn. That went about as well as he could have hoped — Jaycee was named to the SEC All-Freshman team and played 11 games, and Joe’s social media account is littered with pictures of him in Gamecock gear.

“How much (Deion will) be around will be up to him,” Muschamp said Wednesday. “He’s got a busy schedule. He’s still coaching high school football in Dallas, he has his other son playing at Trinity Christian ... He does coach on Friday nights and he works with the NFL Network on Sundays and Saturday nights, and he’s busy with some things on the West Coast as well, we know.”

Speaking at his son’s signing ceremony, however, Deion Sanders made it clear that he’s eager to make his way to Columbia and Williams-Brice Stadium, the place where his team terrorized the Gamecocks in 1986 and 1988, helping Florida State to wins of 45-28 and 59-0.

And despite those blowouts, Sanders also expressed excitement for how his son and Carolina’s current coaching staff will mesh.

“I am elated that Shilo chose South Carolina. You have no idea. Can’t wait to get back there. Haven’t been since I played against them years ago,” Sanders said. “Great fit, great system. Can’t wait to see how he see how gets involved defensively and starts to understand.”

When it comes to recruiting the offspring of football royalty, Muschamp said, there was no need for special treatment. Both Joe Horn and Deion Sanders were “first-class” in how they handled the process, and neither required a different approach from Muschamp’s usual recruiting pitch.

“(Sanders) was wonderful in the recruitment process as a father as far as telling me basically, ‘Recruit my son, not me.’ I appreciate that,” Muschamp said. “But he was great throughout the entire recruiting process.”

Still, even though Muschamp and USC were focused on recruiting Jaycee and Shilo as players that could help the Gamecocks on the field, there’s no denying that having their famous fathers and NFL pedigree associated with the program can only help South Carolina on the recruiting trail

“Obviously Deion brings a lot of credibility,” Muschamp said. “To have a guy that’s probably the best ever at to lace up the cleats at the corner position, to entrust his son to us says an awful lot about the confidence he has in this coaching staff, I can tell you that.”

Cornerback Shilo Sanders breaks down why he joined South Carolina and how he thinks he can help the Gamecocks football team.

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Greg Hadley is the beat writer for South Carolina women’s basketball and baseball for GoGamecocks and The State. He also covers football and recruiting.
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