Gamecocks land prized defensive end
Darius English is considered by many to be one of the top overall prospects in the talent rich state of Georgia this year, and while his current three-star ranking may not fully reflect that, his offer list speaks for itself. English chose South Carolina, who made him a priority from day one in the 2012 class, over offers from Auburn, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Michigan State, Illinois, Cincinnati, and multiple others. Ultimately, his comfort level with the Gamecock program made the difference in English deciding to take his talents to Columbia.
"I committed to South Carolina," English said on Monday afternoon. "They were really my favorite the whole time, and it's just a great school that I could see winning a national championship in a couple of years. Plus, I already have two teammates there (in 2011 signees Rory Anderson and Marquis Roberts). They were a big factor in my decision, because I'm already going to have people there that I know. They will be there to push me when things get tough. They'll help keep me going."
English attended Carolina's annual OL/DL camp over the weekend, and he had the opportunity to interact with several of the USC players and coaches during his time on campus. That visit to Columbia sealed the deal for the Gamecocks to land his services, according to the explosive edge-rusher.
"It was a very good visit," he said. "I got to meet a lot of the current players, a lot of the d-line, and I got to meet (recent USC graduate and Atlanta Falcons draft selection) Cliff Matthews. I got to talk with pretty much all of the coaches, and I talked a lot with Coach (Brad) Lawing, the defensive line coach. I saw the campus. It was a great visit."
The rising senior, who earned First Team All-State honors at the highest level of Georgia football last fall, enjoyed the chance to work out with his future position coach, Brad Lawing, at Carolina's camp on Saturday.
"It was good seeing the way that he coaches and a lot of the things that he does. I like the way that he coaches. He really seems to know what he's doing, and he'll push me to be the best."
English has taken notice of the success of USC's defensive ends under Lawing's tutelage, and he stated that the opportunity to be developed by the Gamecocks' veteran defensive line coach was an important factor in his decision.
"With Cliff Matthews getting drafted this year, and with Devin Taylor projected to get drafted high next year that really made a impact on my decision. Coach Lawing really knows how to coach defensive linemen," English said. "Coach Lawing said that I remind him a lot of Devin Taylor with my height and my athleticism. We were like the same size coming out of high school, and Taylor is a great player."
One of the obvious attractions for any defensive line recruit is the ability to play with incoming freshman Jadeveon Clowney, last year's consensus number one recruit in the country, and English stated that he is looking forward to teaming up with Clowney in Columbia.
"It will be nice to play with (Clowney). Just the opportunity to play with another great defensive end, that's gonna be good."
English, who runs a 4.6 second forty yard dash and boasts an impressive 39-inch vertical, said that he is firm in his commitment to the Gamecocks and that he is shutting down his recruitment.
"I'm one hundred percent committed to South Carolina now. I won't take any other visits."
Lastly, the prized recruit shared a little glimpse of what USC fans can expect to see out of him in the coming years when he plays his college football in the garnet and black.
"I'm a tall defensive end with a lot of speed. I'm a great pass rusher."
English, one of the most disruptive defensive players in Georgia, finished his junior season with 73 tackles, 17 sacks, and 12 tackles for loss. He was recruited to USC by Coach G.A. Mangus, and he becomes South Carolina's eighth commitment in the 2012 class.
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