Whenever Will Muschamp lands a commitment, the South Carolina coach drops a #SpursUp on Twitter. Come to SEC Country for the latest news, notes and observations on the prospects who could be the newest Gamecocks.
Coach Speak: M.J. Webb
Seven days ago, South Carolina reeled in another 4-star commitment when Morgan County High School (Madison, Ga.) defensive end M.J. Webb pledged to the Gamecocks while on campus for an unofficial visit.
Earlier this week, SEC Country caught up with Morgan County coach Bill Malone for his take on the 6-foot-2, 271-pound Webb. South Carolina fans will be pleased to read what Malone had to say.
Q: From the times I’ve spoken with him on the phone, he seems like a good kid, a yes-sir-no-sir-kind of guy.
A: “He is a fantastic kid. I know coaches tell you that, but a lot of them are lying. I’m telling you the honest-to-goodness truth. This kid has never been in trouble. He’s never had a detention. Just a super, super well-mannered, role-model-type kid.”
Q: When did you first get to know him, when he first got to ninth grade?
A: “We’re a one-school county, so I knew him back during rec league — knew who he was, I should say. I first met him the summer before he moved to the eighth grade. He was the biggest eighth grader that we’ve seen over here. He’s just continued to grow since then.”
Q: What kind of player have you seen him grow into?
A: “Well, I tell you what, probably the most exciting thing is I’ve seen him grow into a very confident, dominant player. At first, he grew so fast and was the biggest kid on the field when he was younger. But he couldn’t make his body do what he wanted it to do. He came across, not necessarily as timid, just he came across as clumsy, I guess. But as he has matured age-wise and caught up with his body, it’s a transformation to a complete dominant lineman.”
Q: What’s the best part of M.J.’s game? What makes him the player that he is?
A: “Understanding that this is coming from a high school coach’s perspective, but the best thing about his game is the fact that every team we play knows where he is. And it alters what they want to do. He’s a game-changer in 3A football. It’s very difficult to run right at the kid, because he takes the line of scrimmage and moves it backward … with one player, that allows you to cover up some holes elsewhere. M.J. has a got a great supporting cast with him on our defensive front. We’re very proud of all four of the guys that play there, but M.J. is sort of the one that screams on film. You just see where No. 8 is.”
The countdown is on
SEC Country will have representation at Grayson High School in Loganville, Ga., on Saturday for a jam-packed afternoon and evening. The day’s festivities get started at 3 p.m. with Jamyest Williams’ announcement.
South Carolina is expected to score the 4-star cornerback who’s also down to Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State and Tennessee.
With a commitment from Williams, the Gamecocks would have five 4-star prospects in their 2017 signing class, which already includes three safeties and two cornerbacks.
Williams could play a number of different positions for South Carolina, including cornerback, safety or nickel back.
Nailed down time
Phil Kornblut reported on Thursday that 4-star OrTre Smith has zeroed in on an announcement time. The 2017 wide receiver from Wando High School in Mount Pleasant, S.C., has been scheduled to make his decision on Sept. 11.
#STRecruiting: WR OrTre Smith's announcement on September 11 has been set for 4:00 PM in Mt. Pleasant.
— SportsTalk (@sportstalksc) August 25, 2016
South Carolina, Clemson, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina are the finalists.
Official visit set
Kornblut also reported that 2017 PG Ja Morant has scheduled his official visit with Frank Martin and the South Carolina basketball program.
The senior from Crestwood High School in Sumter, S.C.,a will be back in Columbia the weekend of Sept. 16-18. Morant is also scheduled to take an official visit to Murray State.
Commitments in action
QB Jay Urich heads to James Island with his teammates from Wren (Piedmont, S.C.) for a noon kickoff on Saturday.
Most of the rest of the class is in action Friday night at 7 or 7:30.
RB Kyshaun Bryan will play in his second game with St. Thomas Aquinas when they travel from Fort Lauderdale to Miami to play Booker T. Washington.
WR Shi Smith leads Union County (S.C.) into a battle with perennial power Gaffney. Fellow WR Shawn Smith makes his 2016 debut with Brunswick (Ga.) in a showdown with Coffee County.
TE Will Register takes Chapin (S.C.) on the short ride up I-26 to Prosperity for a game at Mid-Carolina.
Mallard Creek will hop on the I-485 outer loop to battle fellow Charlotte-area power Butler. Eric Douglas and T.J. Moore are on a quest to pick up their fourth state title at Mallard Creek. Fellow Gamecocks offensive line commitment Summie Carlay will have a short ride from Laurens (S.C.) to play at Clinton.
Webb will make his 2016 debut with Morgan County (Ga.) in a battle against Greene County. DE Tyreek Johnson and Lakewood (S.C.) will travel to Lake City.
After returning a kickoff for a score last Friday, Davonne Bowen and Woodmont (S.C.) are set to host Palmetto. LB Sherrod Green leads Rocky Mount (N.C.) against Middle Creek. Maybe the biggest game in the Palmetto State is LB Damani Staley and Ridge View’s showdown with Blythewood.
Eight days removed from a tough loss last week, S Hamsah Nasirildeen and Concord (N.C.) play host to Albermarle.
CB Tavyn Jackson and his teammates from James Rickards (Tallahassee, Fla.) will play Madison County. Lakeland (Fla.) CB Damarri Mathis is set to square off against White. S Jaylin Dickerson (N.C.) leads Pinecrest on its trip to Durham to play at Riverside. A week after their 2016 opener, Zay Brown and Clarke Central (Athens, Ga.) head to Oconee County.
Like Urich, LB Eldridge Thompson makes his 2016 debut on Saturday when Coffeyville Community College (Kansas) takes on Hutchinson at 8 p.m. ET.
Hale McGranahan covers South Carolina athletics for SECCountry.com and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Follow him on Twitter: @Hale_AJC