South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp will welcome some unofficial visitors to campus Saturday and one of them will be one of the top defensive back prospects in Georgia in Jaylen McCollough (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) of Powder Springs who will be making his first visit to the campus.
The big-time safety also could also play running back in college, so he finds himself in the middle of a Muschamp-Bobby Bentley battle at USC for his talents.
“They like my versatility that I can play both sides of the ball,” McCollough said. “Coach Bentley actually wants me to play running back but Coach Muschamp wants me to play defensive back. I talked to Coach Muschamp and he said he’s recruiting me as an athlete so it’s really on me to decide what I want to play if I were to choose South Carolina.”
Should McCollough end up with the Gamecocks, Muschamp probably would win the argument with Bentley and put him at safety, and that would be fine with McCollough.
“Coach Muschamp is one of the greatest defensive minds in the game right now,” he said. “I watched him when he was at the University of Florida and the other schools and to have someone of his caliber to show interest to me not only on one side of the ball but to have the opportunity to play on both sides of the ball is amazing and that’s something you look at.”
McCollough said USC’s recent success with a nine-win season and a bowl victory makes the Gamecocks even more attractive and he has them in his top group with Auburn, Alabama, Florida State, Tennessee, Georgia and Ohio State.
“These past couple of years with Coach Muschamp being there I’ve seen a steady rise and in a few years South Carolina is going to be one of the top programs in the SEC and the country,” McCollough said. “I talk to Coach Bentley a lot and he tells me I’m their top priority so my interest in South Carolina is pretty high.”
McCollough will visit Auburn Wednesday and that will be his final visit prior to spring ball. That visit will leave only Ohio State and Florida State among his favorites he’s yet to visit and he plans to see them in the spring. He’d like to take one or two officials in the spring and the rest in the fall. He will be an early graduate.
McCollough said there’s no leader at this point. Last season he had 120 tackles, six pass break ups, two sacks and one interception and on offense he had 562 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.
His family will join him on the visit.