USC is one of the final five for major talent DT Kelby Collins (6-5 280) of Gardendale, AL. The Gamecocks will be mixing it up in recruiting battle for Collins over the next several months with Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Oklahoma. USC has everything the others have except the long-standing winning tradition. But Collins said the Gamecocks have other qualities that appeal to him.
“The coaching staff and the fan base,” Collins said. “I think they have one of the best fan bases. Everybody basically came out for the spring game. The coaches do a good job of keeping in contact with me and making me feel like a priority.”
Defensive line coach Jimmy Lindsey, along with head coach Shane Beamer, have been handling the conversations with Collins, and those have gone well. He talks with Beamer about once a week. Collins is in touch more with Lindsey who sees him as someone he can shift around on the line.
“He likes how versatile I can be,” Collins said. “He likes that I can play the true edge, or I can go down to the three (technique) and maybe stop the run and stuff like that. But when we’re on the phone, we don’t really talk about football a lot. We just chop it up. Today (Monday) we were talking about what he was cooking on the grill.”
Collins has made one trip to USC, a relatively quick visit on Easter Weekend on his way back from North Carolina.
“We stayed there for a couple of hours because we were coming from North Carolina, so we just passed through,” Collins said. “Coach Lindsey showed me around the facility a little bit, and he took me to the stadium. We drove around campus for a little bit, but that was about it, so that’s why I’m looking forward to my official up there.”
That official visit is set for June 10th, the first of two major recruiting weekends in June for the Gamecocks. As his recruiting plays out, not many observers will give USC much of a chance at pulling a dynamo from the grasp of national championship programs, but he said the Gamecocks are a serious consideration for him.
“They are,” Collins said. “I think they have an equal shot just like everybody else on my top five list. That’s my final list I’m putting out. “I’ll be looking (on his visits) on how I get developed, my relationship with the coaches, and how far away they are from home. South Carolina is like five hours away, so that’s not a bad drive, so I feel like family can get up there.”
Collins also has official visits set with Florida for this weekend and Georgia for June 24th. He said he did grow up as an Alabama fan, and he understands the expectation in his native state is to stay put.
“I get some pressure growing up in Alabama to go to Alabama,” Collins said. “A lot of people put that pressure on me, but I don’t feel pressure myself. Wherever I go, this is where I go, out of state or in-state. It’s really my decision, not nobody else’s.”
Collins would like to make his decision before the season if he can, or whenever he finds where he’s most comfortable. Last season Collins had 109 tackles with 17 sacks.