South Carolina’s newest offer for the 2023 recruiting class went out Thursday night to a name familiar to the coaching staff. OT Sam Pendleton (6-4 274) of Pfafftown, NC attended one of the Shane Beamer camps last summer, and also came in for a pair of games last season. The Gamecocks have a well-established relationship with Pendleton but face a fight to be his choice when he decides in February.
“I guess we’ve been communicating for over six months, conversations every other week about waiting for some guys to make decisions and some spots to open up,” Pendleton said. “They got back from the bowl game and got back off the road today (Thursday) and took an inventory of all their open spots and decided they will have extra spots to recruit in my class and they decided I was next in line. I’m very blessed to be where I am.”
The Gamecocks own recruiting momentum right now, both with transfers and with some top ’23 candidates. Count Pendleton as one caught up in the wave of excitement around the program following a surprising 7-6 season.
“South Carolina has a bright future ahead of them,” Pendleton said. “Coach Beamer came in, took someone who wasn’t necessarily a great team and has done great things with them. Coach took South Carolina to a bowl in his first year as a head coach. I think he blew some people out of the water. I feel like his philosophy and the way he coaches, just the way he is around his players that I got to see at the games, really made the Gamecocks what they are at the end of the season.”
Pendleton will not get to USC for a junior day visit this month. Saturday he’s going to Penn State. The following he’s heading to NC State. And the last Saturday of the month, at this point, he’s holding for Clemson. The Tigers, with new offensive line coach Thomas Austin, have shown interest for several months and finally offered on Friday afternoon.
“This is a big offer for me. I was really surprised and happy,” Pendleton said. “Clemson is one of my top schools no doubt. Coach Austin and I linked up at camp last summer and he and I have been keeping in contact a little bit. Season came along and things got a little quiet. Once he got the job, he reached back out to me and emphasized the fact that I’m a priority to them and they are looking forward to getting me back on campus to meet the coaching staff, talk to Dabo (Swinney) and hopefully things go well there.”
Pendleton said other strong schools with him right now are Michigan, Penn State, NC State and North Carolina. In fact, Tar Heel head coach Mack Brown is supposed to visit him at his school Friday morning. Virginia and Virginia Tech also are in play with him. He also has offers from Duke, East Carolina, Marshall and Louisville.
As for another visit to USC, Pendleton said he hopes to get there before his decision, but if not, it’s possible he’ll return in the spring depending on who he has committed to. Pendleton added that he does have a favorite but is not ready to disclose that publicly.
Also Thursday night, the Gamecocks made a PWO offer to 2022 OT Chase Sweigart (6-6 300) of Chapin. He’s also picked up recent PWO offers from Auburn and Penn State. And another PWO offer Thursday night from the Gamecocks went out to OT Josh Noble (6-5 285) of Mt. Ulla, NC.
The Gamecocks also put out a 2023 offer to TE/DE Devan Houstan (6-5 270) of Hagerstown, MD.