ATLANTA — Relationships go a long way in recruiting.
If Bryan McClendon wasn’t hired by Will Muschamp as the wide receivers coach at the University of South Carolina, Mays High School senior wide receiver Randrecous Davis probably isn’t a Gamecock.
McClendon, who was Mark Richt’s wide receivers coach at Georgia, served as the point-man in securing Davis’ commitment to the Dawgs last July. Everyone’s plans changed four months later when Richt lost his job in Athens.
Instead of heading with Richt to Miami, McClendon landed at South Carolina, which left Davis with two choices: South Carolina or Miami.
According to Corey Jarvis, Davis’ head coach at Mays, McClendon was viewed as an older brother, and that relationship superseded anything that had been built with Richt.
“I think (Davis) had a lot of respect for Coach Richt and he liked Coach Richt, but I think that relationship he had with Bryan was second to none,” Jarvis said. “He felt like that would be the best fit for him to go — South Carolina being closer to home than Miami, and you have somebody who’s basically been there with you for two or three years.”
McClendon graduated from Mays High School in 2002. He still owns the school’s touchdown reception record, which Davis said he almost broke last season.
“He’s like a father to me, kind of, because I’ve been around him for a minute in the recruiting process,” Davis said. “I know he’s going to stay on me, won’t let me slack.”
That’s exactly what the three-star is looking for in a coach. Muschamp seems to have it in spades.
“He’s got that drive. He brings that fire. I like that,” Davis said. “They say he’s kind of a crazy coach on the field, but I expect that. My coach in high school — my receiver coach — he was the same way on the field, so no matter what type of player you were, special or not, everyone got the same treatment. He got on everybody all the time, so I’m going to be used to that.
“I like the fire (Muschamp) brings to the table. I know he’s going to get the defense right and I’ll help get the offense right.”
As a senior, Davis caught 58 passes for 1,024 yards and 17 touchdowns.
“With Randrecous, ball skills and just his explosiveness and speed — he could be pretty special,” Jarvis said. “He could be a kid that, any given time he scores a touchdown when he touches the football.
“Work-ethic, he’s one of the hardest working kids that I’ve coached. It’s going to put him in position that he comes in and he’s vying for playing time as a freshman. If things work out for him, he’s probably going to be a special SEC-type player.”
Monquavion Brinson knows Davis’ game just as well, if not better than their former head coach at Mays. The cousins have been at each other’s side since they started playing rec ball together as 6-year-olds.
A former Syracuse commitment, Brinson is signed to play cornerback at Georgia Southern.
“When you go against him, it’s kind of hard, because you’ve got to go against quickness and speed at the same time. There’s a difference between speed and quickness,” Brinson said. “He made me better at my coverage skills and I made him better at his receiver skills.”
Davis was just as complimentary.
“He’s kind of got it down to science on the defensive end,” Davis said. “(Brinson) can read the field. He can pretty much read what route you’re running … it’s small details and he’ll shut you down and he can hit. He’s got a really good (vertical leap). He can jump. It doesn’t matter if you’re tall or whatever. You’ve got to be ready. He’s quick. He’s got good speed turns, all that.”
In a few weeks, they’ll part ways to begin their college careers.
“But we’ve always been together and push each other to the max … until we can’t anymore,” Davis said. “Then, after that, we go home and it’s the same thing. We’re just cousins again.”
Brinson added, “Even if we get into a fight with each other at practice, you get hit sometimes, but we don’t get caught up in that. It’s all love at the end of the day.”
That bond is too close. They’re always together.
“Some people might get us mistaken and ask us if we’re brothers. No, we’re cousins,” Brinson said.
Davis added, “We’re so close, he might as well be my brother.”
Before Davis committed to Georgia and before Brinson committed to Syracuse, they kicked around the idea of sticking together at the next level. Kentucky, Louisville and Mississippi State were once considered options, but they decided to go their separate ways.
The specifics of the end of Davis’ days as a Georgia commitment weren’t shared. When asked about his de-commitment from the Dawgs, Davis declined to comment.
“It’s all good,” he said.
His eyes are forward, pointed in the direction of Columbia, S.C.
“I like everything. I love the people. It’s close to home. The stadium, it rocks when it’s full. I like all of the coaches. I like everything about it and the dorms are very nice,” Davis said.
Upon his arrival, he’ll begin treatment on a sports hernia injury.
“During the season, it was hurting real bad. The doctor told me it was a strain and it was early in the season, so I was like I’m still going to play, because I’ve got to help my team. … I played through it, but I can bear with it right now,” Davis said. “It’s not as bad as it was. It’s alright now, but it still hurts, though.”
Positive thought, Davis said, is a powerful thing.
“I’m good. At the end of the day, I know I’ll be straight,” he said.
Once healthy and ready to roll at max speed, Davis will be utilized by South Carolina offensive coordinator Kurt Roper in a variety of ways.
“They want to put me everywhere at receiver, in motion, all the quick plays, screens and stuff like that,” Davis said. “It’s nice going into a spread offense.”