Whenever Will Muschamp lands a commitment, the South Carolina coach drops a #SpursUp on Twitter. Come take a look at SEC Country for the latest news, notes and observations on the prospects who could be the newest Gamecocks.
ROCK HILL, S.C. — Derion Kendrick has to make two decisions.
The 4-star 2018 prospect from South Pointe High School in Rock Hill, S.C., has offers from all over the country, including Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee. Like all big-time recruits, Kendrick eventually has to figure out where he’ll play college ball.
What’s just as pressing – perhaps a little more – is the other decision: what position he’ll play when he gets there.
According to the 247Sports composite, Kendrick is the No. 9 ranked wide receiver in the class of 2018. Scout lists him as the No. 3 athlete in the country.
South Pointe coach Strait Herron plays the 6-foot-1, 180-pound prospect at quarterback, where he rushed 23 times for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns in a crosstown win over Northwestern on Friday night. Kendrick also completed 12-of-23 passes for 133 yards.
“I think he’s going to – of course – have that tough decision of what school. I think it’s going to be tougher for him to decide what position,” Herron said. “I think – deep down in his heart – he wants to play defense. I’m not sure why, because he is unreal with the ball in the hands.
“But, at the same time, so was Stephon Gilmore. You put the ball in his hands, he was special, but he could play defense, too.”
Gilmore starred at quarterback for South Pointe before going on to play three seasons at South Carolina. A first-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills, Gilmore is expected to receive a significant contract extension in the not too distant future.
Kendrick, who last visited South Carolina in July, will end up at wide receiver or defensive back when he gets to the next level.
“I like playing quarterback, because I can control the whole team. I’m really not a talking leader, but I lead by example,” he said.
Since December’s 3A state title win at Williams-Brice Stadium, Kendrick has waffled over which position he would rather play at the next level. At first, it was defensive back, then it changed to wide receiver. Later, he didn’t have a preference.
“(Kendrick) knows that eventually he’s going to have to pick a place and go play and he’s going to go be great at it. I don’t think that he’s really that concerned about that stuff right now,” Herron said. “He is a true competitor. He cares about right now. He cares about South Pointe football. That’s a great feeling to have as a coach.”
It certainly sounded like that’s where his focus was Friday night. Moments after South Pointe’s first win over Northwestern since 2012, Kendrick was flying high, and he knew exactly where to defer the praise.
“A big shout-out to my o-line,” he said. “If it wasn’t for them, this wouldn’t be possible. I just give it all up for them.”
That speaks to what 2018 LB/DE Eli Adams said after Friday night’s win.
“He deserves everything he’s got,” Adams said. “I believe he’s going to carry us on offense and he’s going to be a good team leader this year.”
Herron is stoked about having Kendrick run his team in 2016.
“Competitive. That’s the thing, he’s a competitor. If we can keep him healthy, build up his stamina, keep him in great condition, he’s going to do great things,” Herron said. “He’s a super kid.”
The latest on OrTre Smith
We’re less than three weeks from OrTre Smith’s birthday, which means we’re less than three weeks away from his announcement.
The 4-star 2017 prospect from Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, S.C., is mulling, for the most part, South Carolina and Clemson. But Georgia, Florida and North Carolina continue to be listed among the finalists.
Smart money remains on South Carolina. The Gamecocks consistently have recruited Smith over the last year or so, even before Muschamp showed up in Columbia.
One might say things were turned up when Muschamp arrived in December. Back then, Smith was identified as one of the priorities for 2017. That’s among the reasons South Carolina has the edge over Clemson, the school that many believed would eventually land him.
The Tigers still could land a commitment – his mother played volleyball there — but the consistency in which he’s been recruited there hasn’t been lost on them. Another of the reasons why the Gamecocks are considered to be in the driver’s seat.
Clemson’s coaches keep hearing Smith is bound for South Carolina, but he’s yet to show his hand to the staff in Pickens County.
PICTURED: 2018 DL Rick Sandidge
Hale McGranahan covers South Carolina athletics for SECCountry.com and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Follow him on Twitter: @Hale_AJC