The recruiting saga of LB Tra Wilkins of Stephenson High in Stone Mountain, GA took another turn Friday night when he and his recruiting coordinator announced on Twitter that he had withdrawn his commitment to USC made April 13th, but it was a commitment never taken by Gamecock head coach Will Muschamp. On top of that, recruiting coordinator Corey Johnson tweeted the Gamecocks no longer are welcome to recruit his players. But he later deleted that tweet.
In an interview Friday night, Johnson said the Gamecocks offered Wilkins and several other players of his during an unofficial visit earlier in the spring. Wilkins, after considering other offers, later decided USC was his choice and decided to commit.
“He made the necessary calls to the people the people he needed to speak to and everything was fine with the individuals that we spoke with who had the ability to take the commitment,” Johnson said. “We got a call the next day saying Coach Muschamp wanted his assistant coaches to come down and meet with him. Tra had a wrist injury and he wanted them to come down to see it and make sure the kid had healed properly, he didn’t want to get burned. I understand that.”
Muschamp accepts all of the Gamecocks’ commitments and he acknowledges each with a “Spurs Up” tweet. That never happened with Wilkins.
“If I feel that South Carolina is not right in terms of what they’ve done, it’s my responsibility to turn around and shield my kids from that,” Johnson said. “Before Tra even tweeted anything out, I personally spoke with two of the coaches involved and everything was fine. Everything wasn’t put into question until the following day. These two individuals that I spoke with had the ability to take the offer. They were persons of authority with South Carolina. For some reason, Muschamp wanted us put on hold until he actually saw the kid at practice, which was something that happened. They came by for a couple of minutes and they gave me a call and told us what there intentions were.”
And apparently, at least at this point, those intentions were not to take Wilkins.
“The kid’s got offers,” said Johnson. “He’s either going to play with South Carolina or play against them with somebody in the SEC. That’s not my concern. I am worried about the practice of coaches giving out offers and saying different things and messing over kids and then turning around and coming back in six months and acting like nothing ever happened. That’s not going to happen at our school. We lead the state of Georgia in kids going to school. We’re going to continue to lead the state of Georgia in kids going to school and we’re going to continue to protect our kids.”
Johnson also defended his player’s decision to publicly commit and refuting claims he never had an offer from the Gamecocks.
“Tra would have never committed to a school that he didn’t feel like wanted him,” Johnson said. “The kid spoke to two coaches of authority, and they were like, ‘Hey, that’s great, we want you.’ We’re doing everything only to have it come back the next day and it’s something different. Now it’s, ‘We want to come down there and watch you because we’ve been burned before with kids that come out of high school with injuries and we want to make sure.’ I’m tasked with making sure my kids are not put in jeopardy about stuff.”
Johnson said USC had coaches at his team’s spring game Thursday night against Grayson High from Loganville.
“It’s nothing against South Carolina but at the same time I’ve got to look out for my own kids,” he said. “We’ve sent them Mike Davis, the Wonnum brothers, Kyle Fleetwood. We’ve sent them a ton of kids.”