The old USC staff identified LB EJ Lightsey (6-2 210) of Fitzgerald, GA as a major prospect before anyone else did. The Gamecocks were the first to offer Lightsey last November. New defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Clayton White was quick to pick up the baton from former linebackers coach Rod Wilson, and he let Lightsey know right away the offer from the Gamecocks was still good, and he was wanted by the new staff.
“It kind of hit me off guard,” Lightsey said of the coaching change. “It’s crazy because I still talk to coach Mike Bobo because I have an offer from Auburn, and he’s at Auburn now. I like the new staff, too. I’m building a relationship with them. I don’t really have a problem with it.”
Lightsey and White are the ones building the relationship, which is logical since White would be his position coach should he choose the Gamecocks.
“He told me he watched my film and he he said he didn’t have to watch for long,” Lightsey said. “We’ve been building a real good relationship. He keeps in touch with me. We actually have a virtual tour coming up next week. We’ll do a Zoom and he’ll show me around the facility and all that.”
Last season White had 111 tackles with 13 sacks and 11 tackles for loss. He said wait laid out for him what he liked about his skills and how he would fit in with his defensive scheme.
“He said I play with physicality and I can run sideline to sideline,” Lightsey said. “I’m a good blitzer and I can actually drop into coverage. He said I would fit inside his defense well and could really show my versatility. He said he wants me to play fast, because that’s what I do. He said he doesn’t want me to think too much, just play fast and go get the ball.”
Others, of course, have jumped in with offers for Lightsey as well. Some of those are Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Boston College, Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi State, Arizona State, LSU, Florida, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Florida State. The Gamecocks early involvement with him, and their current pursuit, has put them in a good place.
“They are top four right now,” Lightsey said. “First of all, they were the first ones to offer me, the first ones to reach out to me and notice me. They are great people and a great coaching staff. That’s what I mainly look for, good program with great people who make you feel like family, make you feel like a priority. They most definitely are at the top with me.”
The others standout out the most right now with Lightsey are Florida State, LSU, Florida and Auburn. Lightsey wants to take some visits so he won’t make a decision until midway thru his season, or maybe afterwards. He will not be an early graduate.