Phil Kornblut

South Carolina in early on 6-foot-5, 300 pound New Jersey lineman

Thomas Lopez
Thomas Lopez

Firstyear South Carolina offensive line coach Eric Wolford is checking out the junior college ranks for talent and that search took him to Brooklyn and ASA College for left tackle Thomas Lopez (6-foot-5, 300 pounds), a native of Middletown, N.J.

Wolford hasn’t offered Lopez yet but strong interest does exist.

Lopez signed directly with ASA out of high school and started last season as a freshman.

“Coaches like my footwork and how nasty I play,” Lopez said. “I have a good punch and they love the potential.”

Lopez said Wolford first reached out to him thru Twitter and after the two connected, they’ve remained in contact and the relationship has gotten stronger.

“He’s real interested in me,” Lopez said. “Ever since then we’ve been talking every day or every other day. He’s actually coming up the first day of spring ball to watch me practice. One of the reasons I’m interested in South Carolina is that it is a good school. That’s the one thing I’m pushing for is to get my degree in business. Coach Wolford’s been sending me stuff non-stop about their business school. I’ve been doing my research. I hope something happens during spring ball and I can get the offer real soon.”

Lopez has offers from Akron, UTSA and Marshall. He has visited Maryland this spring and he’s also looking at Oklahoma State for a visit, but he


▪  South Carolina target DB Steven Gilmore Jr. of South Pointe was offered by Louisville.

▪  USC and Clemson are in the top 6 with 6-foot-4 point guard Sharone Wright Jr. of West Florence. The others on his list are Georgia, Wake Forest, Kansas State and Arkansas.

▪  Ben Lippen linebacker Kyle Wright was offered by Georgia State and Wofford.

▪  Clemson and USC target defensive lineman Darnell Jeffries of Covington, Ga., was offered by N.C. State Thursday.

▪  Conway defensive lineman Raiqwon O’Neal was offered Thursday by East Carolina and North Carolina Central.