National Signing Day is mostly just a regurgitation of what you already know – recruits who have been committed to a school for months, making their pledges official, while ensuring the fax machine still has a purpose in this world.
But there are always a few guys who wait until Signing Day to make their decisions, and on Wednesday, two of them strongly considered South Carolina in their final hour announcements.
On Wednesday morning, outside linebacker Skai Moore of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., picked USC over Rutgers and Vanderbilt. Moore became the first USC recruit in the Class of 2013 to choose the Gamecocks on Signing Day. He is now their eighth four-star recruit in the class, according to Rivals’ rankings, which always must be taken with a grain of salt.
Moore is rated the No. 19 outside linebacker in the country by Rivals and the No. 43 recruit in the state of Florida. He took his official visit to USC on Jan. 18 and was recruited by Grady Brown, who debuted last season as the Gamecocks’ secondary coach.
(Technically, three-star inside linebacker Jonathan Walton of Daphne, Ala., also picked USC on Signing Day, but he had already strongly hinted that he was going to come to Columbia. Linebacker was a position of need for USC, and the Gamecocks now have six in this class now that Moore has pledged to them.)
Moore, who is 6-2 and 210 pounds, is the first recruit delivered to USC by Brown. He is also the primary recruiter for another high-profile Florida kid who will announce his decision on Signing Day – defensive tackle Keith Bryant, a 6-2, 306-pounder from Delray Beach.
Bryant visited USC on Jan. 25 and also visited Florida State and Miami. He is the No. 17 defensive tackle in the country, according to Rivals, and the No. 42 recruit in Florida. Like Moore, he is a four-star player. (Again, please don’t put too much stock in these stars, though it is worth noting that the Rivals folks work hard to assess these recruits as thoroughly as they can.)
Bryant will announce his decision at 1:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
Recruits who have signed with USC so far on National Signing Day, or earlier …
FOUR STAR PLAYERS …
— ILB Larenz Bryant (6-1, 215, Charlotte, N.C.) – No. 4 at position, No. 4 in state, No. 112 national. Recruited by offensive line coach Shawn Elliott.
— CB Pharoh Cooper (5-11, 190, Havelock, N.C.) – No. 9 in state. Was listed as an “athlete” by Rivals. Recruited by former defensive line coach Brad Lawing
— DT Kelsey Griffin (6-2, 282, Hochston, Ga.) – No. 7 at position, No. 10 in state, No. 120 national. Recruited by quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus.
— *QB Connor Mitch (6-3, 210, Raleigh, N.C.) – No. 13 at position (pro-style), No. 7 in state, No. 248 national. Recruited by Mangus and special teams/tight ends coach Joe Robinson.
— *OT D.J. Park (6-6, 335, Dillon High) – No. 19 at position, No. 3 in state, No. 220 national. Recruited by offensive line coach Shawn Elliott.
— OT Na’Ty Rodgers (6-5, 278, Pomfret, Md.) – No. 15 at position, No. 6 in state, No. 181 national. Recruited by Mangus.
THREE STAR PLAYERS …
— OLB Mohamed Camara (6-2, 187, Cumming, Ga.) – No. 54 at position, No. 69 in state. Recruited by Mangus.
— DE Devan’te Covington (6-4, 220, Rockingham, N.C.) – No. 28 in state. Recruited by Elliott.
— CB Ali Groves (5-10, 181, Stone Mountain, Ga.) – No. 74 at position (athlete). Recruited by defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward.
— OT Alan Knott (6-5, 275, Tyrone, Ga.) – No. 53 at position, No. 61 in state. Recruited by Elliott and Robinson.
— **CB Ronnie Martin (5-11, 175, Spartanburg High) – junior college transfer who originally signed with USC for 2011 was No. 46 at position, No. 15 in state out of high school. Recruited by Elliott out of high school, Robinson at junior college.
— S Jasper Sasser (6-1, 189, Jacksonville, Fla.) – No. 59 at position (athlete). Recruited by wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr.
— ILB Gerald Turner (6-1, 256, Goose Creek High) – No. 23 at position, No. 8 in state. Recruited by Lawing and Spurrier Jr.
— OT J.P. Vonashek (6-6, 255, Kingsland, Ga.) – No. 54 at position, No. 62 in state. Recruited by Elliott and running backs coach Everette Sands.
— ILB Jonathan Walton (6-1, 228, Daphne, Ala.) – No. 21 at position, No. 20 in state. Recruited by Kirk Botkin.
— DE Devin Washington (6-3, 225, Orlando, Fla.) – No. 20 at position, No. 58 in state. Recruited by Sands.
Players who have committed but haven’t signed yet …
FOUR STAR PLAYERS …
— OLB Skai Moore (6-2, 210, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) – No. 19 at position, No. 43 in state. Recruited by secondary coach Grady Brown.
— RB David Williams (6-1, 192, Philadelphia) – No. 21 at position, No. 8 in state. Recruited by Mangus.
THREE STAR PLAYERS …
— OLB David Johnson (6-1, 245, Lithonia, Ga.) – No. 29 at position, No. 30 in state. Recruited by Ward.
— C Bryce King (6-4, 300, Dillon High) – No. 3 at position, No. 6 in state. Recruited by Elliott.
— RB Jamari Smith (6-0, 200, Neptune Beach, Fla.) – No. 43 at position. Recruited by Spurrier Jr.
— DE Kendal Vickers (6-3, 230, Havelock, N.C.) – Not ranked. No primary recruiter listed in Rivals database.
*Graduated high school early to enroll in January
**Spent two years at junior college before enrolling in January
STATE BREAKDOWN …
Georgia 6, North Carolina 5, South Carolina 4, Florida 4, Maryland 1, Pennsylvania 1, Alabama 1
ASSISTANT COACH BREAKDOWN …
Shawn Elliott – 7 … four full (two four-star), three shared
G.A. Mangus – 5 … four full (three four-star), one shared (a four-star)
Joe Robinson – 3 … three shared (one four-star)
Steve Spurrier Jr. – 3 … two full, one shared
Brad Lawing – 2 … one full (a four-star), one shared
Everette Sands – 2 … one full, one shared
Lorenzo Ward – 2 … two full
Kirk Botkin – 1 … one full
Grady Brown – 1 … one full