CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Thanks to some early groundwork by running backs coach Bobby Bentley, South Carolina is very much in the mix for 5-star running back Quavaris Crouch.
The Gamecocks gained an edge on the competition when Bentley offered Crouch in the spring of his freshman year, a few months after arriving to Columbia from Auburn with coach Will Muschamp.
Crouch, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound prospect from Charlotte’s Harding University High School, is ranked by the 247Sports composite as the No. 1 running back in the Class of 2019. Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia and Michigan are just a few that have hopped into the mix with South Carolina.
“That’s my first offer,” he said. “[Bentley] took a chance on me when nobody else would, and he’s always been there encouraging me, telling me, so that will play a little role in [my] recruiting.
“Once you’re up there, it’s hard to tell the real from the fake, because everybody is just trying to tag along, not trying to miss out on anything, but [Bentley] was there. He took a chance on me first, from the beginning.”
Crouch added, “I like Coach Bentley a lot. That’s my guy. He’s a really good person. I go down there and I see him a lot. I’ve got a good relationship with him, Muschamp as well. I’m getting to know all of the players and everything. I have a good relationship with South Carolina, too.”
Along with South Carolina, Crouch is comfortable with Alabama, Michigan and North Carolina, but he’s not ready to declare them as a lead group. Far from it, actually.
His focus is squarely on his current team, not his next one.
“I’m just trying to win here in high school, trying to get everybody to do what they’re supposed to do in high school,” he said. “Me focusing on [recruiting], I feel like I’m taking away from my team and not allowing them to get the 100 percent of me, of helping them and getting them better and me buying in and helping them, too.”