There are a few more months of recruiting ahead for WR Jonathan Paylor (5-9 170) of Burlington, NC, and at this point for him, he is South Carolina’s to lose. Paylor said Wednesday night the Gamecocks are out in front of everyone else for him right now, and it’s not all that close.
“South Carolina is really leading the pack now due to Coach (Shane) Beamer coming to the school and meeting the new offensive coordinator and everything like that,” Paylor said. “A couple of guys they have signed have been keeping in touch with me, showing me love and everything like that, keeping in touch with my family once a week. Little things like that really catches my attention. South Carolina is really, really leading the pack right now. It (the lead) is probably like a couple of gaps; I’m not going to lie to you.”
NC State is the team closest to the Gamecocks right now according to Paylor. He did not make it to USC for their January 21st junior day, but he did make it to Raleigh. Those two programs were on his top ten list announced in November along with Clemson, Georgia, Maryland, LSU, Alabama, Ohio State, Tennessee and North Carolina.
Paylor visited USC for a game last season. He was also in for a visit in April to watch a spring practice. So, what is it about USC that has Paylor so excited about them right now?
“Everything,” he said. “The guys that have been recruiting me, they’ll tell me what’s real and what’s not. They literally tell me what I need to hear instead of what I want to hear. They really keep it real with me when I get down there. The facility is crazy. The weight room is my favorite part. I love lifting weights. Lifting weights is like a hobby to me. Besides that, everything down there was great. I love the location, it’s not too far from the house. Just me being around the coaches and their families also, it was a great vibe being down there.”
Paylor added that he’s become really tight with Gamecock commitments Dante Reno, Mazeo Bennett and Nyck Harbor, and that’s a plus for USC as well.
Paylor has met new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, and he’s also talked with receivers coach Justin Stepp. They have a plan for him in their offense, and it harkens back memories toa former Gamecock great.
“Me being a fantastic athlete,” Paylor said, “they would use me like Debo Samuel, like how he came through that program. I would be like a tailback, a slot receiver, a main receiver. They would use me in any kind of position that would make a direct impact on their team.”
Paylor also has good interest in Clemson. He camped there last summer and visited for a game in October. Receivers coach Tyler Grisham has been actively working him.
“Just as hard as South Carolina is actually,” Paylor said. “I’ve been up there twice or three times. I really dig Clemson. They have a really strong winning culture over there that they are building. Coach Tyler (Grisham) hits me up every week to tell me about school and everything like that. The energy they’ve been giving me is kind of fire too. I really dig it over there.”
Paylor is now involved with his indoor track season, but once that’s over he plans to get back on the road. He wants to make return trips to USC and Clemson this spring as well as North Carolina, which he visited for a basketball game in January. After that, he will take his official visits with an eye towards making a decision in three to four months.
Last season Paylor put up eye-popping numbers at running back and receiver. He rushed for 1054 yards and 17 touchdowns averaging 14 yards per carry, and he caught 27 passes for 725 yards and five touchdowns. He averaged 27 yards per catch.
For his career, Paylor has rushed for 2147 yards and 26 touchdowns, averaging 10 yards per carry, and has caught 105 passes for 2512 and 14 touchdowns averaging 24 yards per catch.