Phil Kornblut

Top recruit likes USC, Alabama. Here’s what he wants to see Saturday from Gamecocks

‘Come be the first, not the next,’ Muschamp tells recruits

What Will Muschamp tells the recruits on why they should come play football for South Carolina.
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What Will Muschamp tells the recruits on why they should come play football for South Carolina.

The setting at South Carolina will be perfect Saturday to show a large number of recruits, most uncommitted, about how far the program has come in Will Muschamp’s fourth season.

Forget the loss to North Carolina. Scratch the win over Charleston Southern. A win over Alabama, or at the very least a heroic performance in a close loss, and Muschamp can show defensive end Reggie Grimes of Brentwood, Tennessee, and the others that you can play with the best and beat the best in Columbia.

Grimes is one of the most heralded uncommitted players left on the Gamecocks’ 2020 board. He took his official visit to Columbia in June. Friday night he will play his high school game and then he, his mother and his sister will make the seven-and-a-half hour drive to USC to watch how the Gamecocks handle the No. 2 team in the country. Alabama just happens to be his father’s alma mater and one of his final choices in the recruiting process.

“I want to see how they (Gamecocks) react. I want to see how they compete against adversity, see how they react against the overwhelming odds, I guess,” Grimes said. “You wouldn’t necessarily pick them to win this game.”

Indeed, you wouldn’t. The Gamecocks are 25.5-point underdogs. But the recruiting pitch to Grimes from Muschamp and recruiter Bobby Bentley is come to their program and help them make the transition from underdogs to favorites in these high-profile games.

“I’ve been talking mostly with coach Bentley and coach Muschamp,” Grimes said. “They’re telling me I can play really early, freshman year type thing. And they got me to develop me for three, three and a half years. And they are going to win a lot of games during that time.”

After this visit to USC, Grimes will take his official visit the following weekend to Alabama. Some website reports have attempted to downplay Alabama’s interest, questioning if Grimes is still a “take” by Nick Saban. Grimes said Saban and his staff aren’t playing that kind of game with him — the option is there for him to go to Alabama if he so chooses.

“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “If I wanted to go. I actually just talked to one of their coaches just before you called. So, if I wanted to go there, I can.”

Grimes also has an official visit set with Tennessee for Oct. 5 and he plans to take an official visit to Vanderbilt. And he’s also going to see Ole Miss, though he’s not sure yet if that will be official or unofficial.

He has set late in the afternoon of Thanksgiving for his commitment announcement.

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