One of the biggest names on the USC recruiting board for the 2023 class is DE Kelby Collins (6-5 250) of Gardendale, AL. The national level recruit has the Gamecocks in his top five along with Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida and Georgia. He made an official visit to Florida on June 3rd and was at USC last weekend. That was his second visit to Columbia after taking in the spring game in April.
Collins said what grabbed his attention on his official visit was the closeness he felt among the coaches and the players and how that spread to him from head coach Shane Beamer on down.
“I really felt the love there,” Collins said. “They had four players commit right after their visits, so I feel like hopefully they are doing something different there and he is going to turn the program around. I feel like all the coaches are investing in their players and want them to succeed. Everybody is like family there. Everybody goes to each other’s house. The families are close.”
Looking at the Gamecocks from a football standpoint, Collins also saw things he liked, especially in the defensive scheme they run up front.
“The defense they run is really similar to what I run in high school,” Collins said. “The position I’d be playing is a true end type, sometimes maybe outside linebacker. That really stood out to me, so it would be easy for me to get to know their defense and possibly start when I first come in since they’re losing a couple of guys.”
USC defensive line coach Jimmy Lindsey has been the front man for USC in their recruiting of Collins, and the two are developing a strong relationship.
“We talk at least two to three times a week maybe,” said Collins. “I feel like our relationship is real good right now and I feel like he can develop me as a good end guy.”
The Gamecocks are playing with the national elite in the Collins recruiting sweepstakes. To become one of those elite programs, Collins is the type of player they need to land. He said their chances to do that were only improved by the weekend visit.
“I felt like it definitely made it harder for me to decide now,” Collins said. “I have some great schools in my top five, and it just made it harder for me to decide where I want to go. They were a major factor and it kind of elevated them a little bit.”
Collins plans to visit Georgia on June 24th. He has nothing else on the schedule though he may get to Alabama in July. He has been to Alabama unofficially. He has not yet visited Oklahoma. Collins said he wants to make his decision prior to his season.