South Carolina running game coordinator and offensive line coach Eric Wolford immediately knew when he took the job in January that he needed to sign a big, talented offensive line class for the 2010 cycle. Wolford took another big step in that direction when he picked up his second commitment in the last week in the form of Cocoa HS (Cocoa, FL) OL prospect Ronald Patrick.
"After I left South Carolina," Patrick said. "I pretty much knew I wanted to go there. Because after I went on that tour and saw their facilities, it pretty much had my mind set."
That visit took place less than a week ago, on June 15. Two days later, Patrick received a scholarship offer from Wolford and the Gamecocks. And just four days after that, he pulled the trigger.
"Basically, I pretty much felt good about it," he said. "I talked to my family, coaches. We were all on the same page. We all sat down and made sure we were all on the same page. I called Coach Wolford, told him what I wanted to do. After I told him, he was very excited.
"I'm happy and relieved."
Patrick chose the Gamecocks over offers from
ECU, Western Kentucky, New Mexico and Middle Tennessee State. He was also receiving interest from Michigan State, Purdue and Tennessee.
He was actually on Tennessee's campus this weekend for a three-day camp where he was one of two offensive linemen to take home the OL MVP award.
But Patrick says it was an easy decision to go ahead and commit to South Carolina.
"I wanted to help do something special. That's basically what it is."
Patrick says there are several other reasons he chose the Gamecocks. While tight ends coach Jeep Hunter was officially his recruiter, Wolford played a huge factor. Patrick worked with Wolford extensively at the camp.
"It was very fun working with him," he said. "He pushed me very hard just like my coaches do. We talked, [I] got to know him. That was my first time meeting him, I was just saying to myself, I could play for him for four or five years."
Patrick also expounded on the tour of the campus, which also played a big factor in his decision.
"The tour by all of the buildings, they talked to me about it, explained the different type of classes. We went to the library, saw the dorms, saw the weight room. It was just fun."
He says the Gamecock coaches were very straightforward with him.
"They basically laid it on the line and told me what was going to happen. And I sat down and talked about it with my family."
Now, after committing, he says he will shut down the recruiting process. He won't be taking any other visits, other than to hopefully see a few South Carolina games this year and for an official visit to Columbia.
While some may question the 6-1, 270-pound prospect's height, there is no questioning his desire. Patrick helped his team to the 3A state championship and a 14-1 season last fall. He was named to the All Space Coast First Team, was a 3A FSWA Third Team All-State selection, and was an All Space Coast First Team member last year. He also possesses a 80-inch wingspan, which suggests he may have plenty of room to go.
Patrick says it is his tenacity that led him to receive those honors as he described his style of play.
"You would see somebody with an engine that is always running; I don't stop," he said. "I just look for people to hit."
Finally, the newest Gamecock commitment wanted to send a message to the Gamecock faithful.
"They're going to have a hard working person, who's going to bring it."
Patrick becomes the Gamecocks' ninth commitment of the 2010 class. He joins four-star prospects A.J. Cann and Elliot Williams as the offensive linemen on USC's commitment list.
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