One of the better offensive linemen in the Northeast for the 2023 class made his first ever visit to USC Saturday, and the Gamecocks made an overwhelming impact on him. OG/C Antonio Tripp Jr. (6-4 285) of Owings Mill, MD spent the day with his parents meeting with the coaches, surveying the program and checking out the campus and town. Tripp said Saturday night every aspect of the visit was better than he could have imagined.
“Everything about the visit was great. It definitely exceeded expectations and kind of met them also,” Tripp said. “The coaches were real genuine. Just outside of football, we were talking like normal people. That’s what I look for when I talk to a coach, just being themself. Every coach on the staff came up to me and was just genuine. Everything was perfect.”
Tripp is used to the big city setting of Baltimore. Coming to a smaller, Southern locale, even with snow on the ground, was a refreshing change of pace for him.
“I came down here and it’s like the perfect mix between a city and countryside,” Tripp said. “It’s very interesting to me because I’ve never been anywhere near this, the landscape and all that. And the snow made me feel a little at home.”
Inside the football building, Tripp met with head coach Shane Beamer for an extended conversation.
“Coach Adkins, he was one of the only coaches when my mom called, he gave a straight answer when she asked about my offer and how the school was,” Tripp said. “He didn’t hesitate when giving her the answer. That showed his personality even before I met him in person. This was my first time meeting Coach Beamer in person. Me, my mom and my dad had about an hour conversation just talking besides football. Talking about his career and where he plans to take South Carolina in the near future. He’s definitely going in the right direction.”
Tripp also spent time with offensive line coach Greg Adkins and got the low down from him on what he sees for his future.
“He said he could really see me excelling as a center at the next level, but he said he could see me playing either center or guard at South Carolina,” Tripp said. “He said they lose a lot and the year I’m coming in, that 2023 class is supposed to be a big class for the O-line. Me and a couple of other guys, if we come in, we’d have a real good shot at starting early and playing as freshmen. He has high expectations of me. But he’s also honest and gave me stuff to work on. He told me some things I should fix.”
Saturday night Tripp announced a top nine that consisted of USC, Virginia Tech, Maryland, West Virginia, Louisville, Michigan State, Miami, Michigan and Penn State. The competition for the Gamecocks will be stiff, but Tripp said they are already in a good place with him.
“They are definitely top three, top two, definitely very high,” Tripp said. “They exceeded everything I look for in a university, a place I could see myself succeeding at. You can be intense and hard working and still have a good time. One word that every coach in that building used was love. Not just for the love, but for the action part of it. If you really love someone, you’re going to know they take that next step to make sure that they achieve their goal, and hopefully their goal is the same as yours.”
Tripp added that Michigan State and Miami would be two others high up on his list right now. His only other visit this month was to West Virginia. Tripp said he’d like to return to USC for a spring practice or the spring game, and he’s looking at making his decision in late spring.
In 12 games this past season, and playing all five positions on the line, Tripp allowed one sack and one quarterback pressure.