RB Caleb McDowell (5-10 175) of Leesburg, GA Tuesday afternoon announced a commitment to USC. McDowell prervioiusly was committed to NC State, having pledged to the Wolfback in April, but he broke off that pledge on June 3rd.
New USC running backs coach Des Kitchings came from NC State and had a previous relationship with McDowell. He was offered by the Gamecocks on May 19th and the two sides grew closer from there.
“Just building a bond with the coaching staff and a few of the players, and really falling in love with the community and the type of system they run up there,” McDowell said. “It’s a chance I really couldn’t miss out on.”
McDowell visited USC for a couple of games last season. Plus, he’s close friends with Gamecock safety Jammie Robinson who also came from Lee County High in Leesburg. But the greatest impact on his decision to commit to the Gamecocks came from his relationship with Kitchings.
“He had a great influence. Me and Coach Kitchings get along real good. He’s my guy,” McDowell said. “We hit it off from day one. The type of connection we have is rare to find in the recruitment process when you are building connections with the coaches. He’s the type of guy who can stay on the phone and just talk for hours, and not even about football. That’s rare when you’re building a bond with coaches.”
As for how the Gamecocks plan to deploy him, McDowell said his versatility will come into play.
“They plan to use me in multiple ways,” McDowell said. “They can use me in the backfield as a running back. They feel I can be a return guy on special teams. They might even move me out to receiver a couple of plays to try to get me in open space.”
McDowell only had 35 carries last season, but he said he was right around the thousand-yard mark and averaged between 10-12 yards per carry. He also scored 14 touchdowns.
“I was such an important key on defense, and we had a couple of senior running backs,” he said. “And them knowing the the type of season that they are planning on me having this year at running back, they really didn’t want to put our game plan out there to allow other coaches to scheme against that. It’s going to be a break out season.”
McDowell also had offers from Syracuse, Army, Indiana, East Carolina, Georgia State, Purdue, South Alabama, Cincinnati and Colorado. He is rated as a three-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite and is ranked 71st in the state of Georgia.
McDowell is the seventh new commitment, and the first running back pledge, for the Gamecocks’ 2021 class which totals 10 due to three carry-overs from 2020. He said he has not yet determined if he will sign early or if he will graduate early and enroll next January.
Caleb McDowell commitment video