Phil Kornblut

USC says no to Joe Blue; Dillon coach reacts

Joe Blue
Joe Blue

South Carolina on Wednesday refused to admit fullback signee Joe Blue of Dillon - for a second time - despite Blue having been approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

“They said his grades were too low in the ninth and 10th grade years,” said Dillon coach Jackie Hayes. “They've had his transcript. I've bet we've sent them 10-12 transcripts. It's not like this transpired today. Not one single time did anybody communicate there would be a problem. They were just saying, get through the Clearinghouse.”

Blue was USC's first commitment for the 2014 class, pledging in January of 2013. He appealed the school's first rejection.

“The last two years in the classroom,” his coach said, “he's busted his tail. He did what he was supposed to do.”

Hayes said Blue will pick another school by Thursday and is looking at Maryland, East Carolina, S.C. State and Coastal Carolina.

The Gamecocks have signed four out of Dillon High in recent years, with redshirt freshman D.J. Park the only one remaining on the team. Wide receiver Kwinton Smith and offensive lineman Bryce King both transferred.

“You've got a kid that's totally devastated,” Hayes said. “This is bigger than football.”