Illinois Commitment Watching and Waiting

Illinois Commitment Watching and Waiting

Just hours after it was announced former Illinois offensive line coach Eric Wolford would join the South Carolina Gamecocks staff, the effects of that move are already trickling down to the recruiting trail. Read inside as GamecockAnthem.com has one Illinois commitment's reaction to the news of Wolford's departure, and find out if he is interested in following Wolford to South Carolina.

It's been a wild day for four-star offensive tackle and Illinois commitment Andrew Carter. Just moments after he walked out of his fourth block class at Leon High School (Tallahassee, Fla.) Carter was told the news that Coach Eric Wolford had left Illinois for South Carolina.

"I mean I was just in shock because I just talked to Coach Wolford last week," Carter said. "He was telling me how he was going to start getting the offense in my head and exactly what they were going to do when they came down and visited me in a couple of weeks. I mean, I just talked to Coach (Dan) Dish last night and he didn't know anything about it. I guess it all just happened today and all happened so fast. So I was just in shock the whole day today."

Despite his shock, the 6'4", 265-pounder was impressed with the way the Illinois coaching staff handled the situation with him.

"Coach Dish called me right after fourth block at school," Carter said. "He knew exactly what time, so he called me right on the dot right when the bell rang to tell me that he's coming down tomorrow and Coach Zook is going to call me and all this other stuff. They were really informative about it."

So, now the obvious question becomes how big of an effect does the news have on Carter's Illinois commitment?

"It shakes things up just a little bit," Carter said after a long pause. "Coach Wolford was most of the reason I was going there, because I really liked him and we had a great relationship and all of his players loved him and all of this other stuff. But it's great that he's going to go to South Carolina and be successful and do his thing over there. But it's just been a bummer that he's leaving a month before signing day."

As much as Carter likes Wolford he wanted to make it clear that his first priority is hearing what Illinois has to say. He plans to see what offensive line coach Illinois hires before considering opening up his recruitment.

"I'll have to talk to Coach Zook and talk to Coach Dish and see who they're bringing in," Carter said. "If I don't like the guy, and I don't have a good relationship with him right away then I will probably just go somewhere else, because that's half of it. The guy you're going to spend most of your time with is your position coach, so if you don't like him it's pointless to go there."

Carter has not heard from Wolford today, but says whether or not he hears from Wolford on behalf of Carolina could play a big part in his decision.

"If Coach Wolford called me and explained and talked to me about it, and still wanted me there and all of that stuff then I would probably still consider (South Carolina), because I have that much respect and I like the man that much. But I wouldn't just go and commit to them right now, just because he's going there."

The Gamecocks were involved with Carter in the spring, but he hasn't heard from them since his commitment to Illinois. The physical lineman says he did have a good relationship with his recruiter of record Shane Beamer, but he still would have a lot to learn about USC if he did give them another look.

"It's an SEC team, a great school, a huge stadium. That's some of the stuff I really remember there," Carter said. "My recruiting coach, Coach Beamer was a great guy, I remember that. It's been so long since I've talked to them or been there that I can't really remember. That would probably be just if Coach Wolford himself called me himself, and brought himself back into the picture, and brought South Carolina into the picture, that would probably be a school that I would go back and take an official, and get all the scoop on."

Carter has only taken one official visit (to Illinois) so he can take four others if needed. Two other programs he could consider are Boston College and Maryland.

"Some of the schools that I haven't been to like the Marylands, the Boston Colleges that just came into the picture a couple of months ago that I haven't been to… I will probably set up an official visit and see if there is still interest there and just take it from there," Carter said. "There are schools that were a close second and third to Illinois if I opened back up. And there are schools that I didn't think I could get into before I committed so now I have the opportunity to go and take other official visits."

The nation's No. 11 ranked offensive tackle wanted to reiterate that any potential visits first depended on what Illinois has to say and who the Illini hire to replace Wolford.

"I heard already, my Mom told me that there was a blog or something [saying] that the Miami offensive line coach could be up there," Carter said. "And I had a great relationship with him when I visited, so that could be a possibility. But like I said, If I don't like the guy or the guy doesn't like me, that happens too, then I'll just go my separate way and do what I've got to do."

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