USC is in great position to add two defensive backs from Alabama as part of its closing act for the 2021 recruiting season. SAF Juwan Gaston of Montgomery said last week South Carolina was his big favorite. He plans to wait until National Signing Day Wednesday for his formal announcement. And Friday night, CB La’Dareyen Craig (6-2 180) of Mobile said he also favors the Gamecocks and could be ready to make a public commitment Monday night at 7:00 PM.
“Right now I’m seeing who is showing the most love,” Craig said. “Right now I’m leaning a tad toward South Carolina. They are showing a lot of love. Every day this week, I’ve been talking to the whole staff. We had a Zoom call, we Facetime and we text every day. I love them. They seem really genuine.”
And genuine is how he has found new head coach Shane Beamer.
“Coach Beamer is cool,” he said. “I’ve been hearing from Coach Beamer since before they offered me. We’ve been texting and talking. He’s pretty cool. I like Coach Beamer.”
New Gamecocks secondary coach Torrian Gray also is heavily in the conversation with Craig. He’s given him a simple break down of what he likes about him.
“My size, my speed and my physicality,” said Craig who had 41 tackles, 9 pass break ups and 3 interceptions this season.
Craig said he and Gaston have never personally met, but they were together on a Zoom call with the Gamecock coaches.
“We did a virtual meeting together,” Craig said. “It went good. Juwan seems like a pretty cool dude. I feel like he’ll be going to South Carolina. That would be pretty good.”
Mississippi State is the other program Craig has been considering though he also has offers from Oregon State and Southern Miss. He’s been impressed with the Bulldogs, but doesn’t get the same feeling from them he gets from the Gamecocks.
“I’m talking to them a lot, too,” Craig said. “They are (showing love), but South Carolina is showing a different type of love. It’s just different.”
Craig said if he decides not to commit Monday, he will wait until Wednesday and reveal his decision from his selection of hats.