Phil Kornblut

Gamecocks starting to recruit powerfully built in-state prospect

The Goose Creek Gators are enjoying their best season since the retirement of Chuck Reedy, and one of the reasons for that has been the emergence of big 2022 offensive lineman Jayden Johnson (6-foot-4, 300 pounds). The Gators haven’t had a man-child like Johnson since the days of Brandon Shell. Shell went on to star at USC and is now in the NFL. Johnson’s future could take a similar path as the Gamecocks are one of the schools starting to pursue him. He was in for a visit last Saturday for the Florida game.

“It was fun, everybody there was warm, welcoming to me and tried to make me feel at home,” Johnson said. “The game was awesome. I loved the crowd. Watching the offensive line of USC, I love when they pull because that’s something I’m excelling at right now at my level. I talked to coach (Eric) Wolford pregame and we talked about how everything was going in my area, how I was doing and the upcoming game they played. Overall I loved watching the passion of the players, and how hard they play all game. It was worth the drive.”

Johnson added that he and Wolford are already starting down that road to building a recruiting relationship.

“Carolina has showed a lot of interest” Johnson said. “He’s excited about my future and wants me to keep working and stay on track because I’m a younger guy. He believes if I’m with him he can turn me into something really special. He’s asked me about what schools I’m high on and gives me tips for the long run. I have a Georgia Tech offer, but Clemson, Georgia, Florida, Virginia Tech, App State, Wake Forest, Penn State are a few others I’ve talked to and have shown interest.”

Johnson said he had thought about visiting Clemson this Saturday but won’t make it. He plans to visit Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, and he will get back to USC as well this season.

Offered lineman ‘loving’ USC experience

Cumming, Georgia 2021 offensive lineman Dylan Fairchild (6-foot-4, 275 pounds) is an up and coming tackle prospect who is starting to see the interest in him build. USC was one of his early offers along with Tennessee, Georgia Tech and Jacksonville State. He visited the Gamecocks (USC) for their game with Alabama and also saw them play at Georgia. Gamecock head coach Will Muschamp and offensive line coach Eric Wolford really like Fairchild and have been working him hard. That’s paid off with Fairchild liking the Gamecocks more than the rest at this point.

“I’m loving it right now,” Fairchild said. “Coach Wolford and coach Muschamp are texting me every single day. I feel like we have a good relationship so far. Right now they are the top of my list. I love them. The relationship I have with Muschamp and coach Wolford is great. My mom met them and she likes them, too.”

Fairchild said he and Wolford are growing a tight relationship thru the recruiting process. From what he’s seen of the coach’s work up close, he likes it and feels he would be a good fit on his offensive line.

“He’s a very straightforward person,” Fairchild said. “I’ve heard nothing but great things about him and the experience I’ve had with him has been pretty good. At right tackle is where he wants me. He said he likes the way that I play. I’m aggressive and gets after it every single play.”

Clemson also is showing interest in Fairchild and he visited there for the Texas A&M game in September. And he hears from offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell.

“They are looking at me but I’m going to have to come up for a camp,” he said. “He actually came to my game against Milton.”

Fairchild said after USC, Georgia Tech and Tennessee are showing the most interest. Georgia also is looking at him and wants to see him in camp this summer. He plans to go there along with USC, Clemson and Alabama among his camp stops.

Though he has a clear leader in the Gamecocks, Fairchild doesn’t want to rush the process and wants to see what else develops on the recruiting trail. He said he’s actually following Muschamp’s advice on how to handle his recruiting.

“One of the things coach Muschamp did tell me, which I really liked, was to take my visits, every single college that I want to go visit, go visit it,” Fairchild said. “He told me I’m going to get that warm feeling when I find the one, and just stick with it.”

Fairchild is not going to a game this weekend, but he plans to visit Auburn and Georgia Tech the following two Saturdays. And he said he’ll return to USC for the Clemson game.