Ask Manning (SC) four-star cornerback John Fulton his thoughts about the South Carolina program and he's likely to tell you how South Carolina is his dream school, it's close to home and that he has a great relationship with his recruiter of record Shane Beamer.
But despite South Carolina's huge need at his position and despite Fulton's constant positive comments about the home-state school, for whatever reason the Gamecocks still trailed other SEC programs for much of the process.
The 6-0, 175-pound prospect was one of many who made the trip to Columbia Saturday for the second annual Gamecock Showcase Camp. The visit went about as well as possible for the Gamecocks.
"I was going to work out, but they told me I didn't have to work out," Fulton said. "So, I just went with Coach (Lorenzo) Ward and we talked for a while. He was just telling me all kinds of stuff that made sense. Then after that Coach Beamer and I took a tour. We toured (the campus) and I really liked it. Then we went back to the stadium and hung out with Marcus (Lattimore), Dylan (Thompson) and Eric (Mack). It was just wild. It just felt right.
"Now they're No. 1."
But Fulton had been to USC's campus many times before and still had the Tide on top. So, what made this trip different than all the ones in the past?
"I saw how they were rebuilding and everything and they've got some of the top prospects in the state," he said. "I see them rebuilding and their getting better as we speak. That's basically why they're on top."
Fulton, who had been listing Alabama in the top spot and a turntable consisting of Georgia and Florida in the No. 2 spot now lists South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Virginia Tech as his top five in order.
If looking for one person to credit with the Gamecocks climb to the top, credit Beamer. The Gamecock Recruiting Coordinator has been working Fulton hard since the Gamecocks offered last summer.
"That's one of the main reasons I like South Carolina so much," he said. "Me and Coach Beamer are so cool and we've got a tight relationship. That's what put them on top."
Beamer also introduced Fulton to former Gamecock and NFL veteran cornerback Terry Cousin. Cousin took the time to share his insight with the talented corner.
"He was just showing me some things, some different moves," Fulton said. "I asked him why he went there and he said that there were just real good people there and they would take care of you. The facilities don't really matter when you're having a bad day, it's about the people there and will they take care of you? And it's about will you have a chance to go to the NFL there? He explained the chances and everything and that was real good."
Despite a great relationship with Beamer, Fulton had not talked much in the past about his relationship with USC defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Lorenzo Ward. Saturday the nation's No. 6 cornerback according to Scout.com got the chance to get to know the new Gamecock coach.
"I mean he's a real cool person," Fulton says. "His attitude is real good. He's a fun-type person. He was just telling me a little bit about his background and stuff. The people that he coached, I didn't even know that he had coached them. But they turned out to be real great coaches. It's a choice that I've got to make, but I really like South Carolina right now."
Fulton will now turn his attention to high school football as his Manning Mighty Monarchs start practice this weekend.
He says there is a possibility he will attend a USC practice this fall as well.
Fulton plans official visits to South Carolina, Alabama, Florida and Georgia, though he says he will likely take a fifth somewhere as well.
He plans to announce a college choice at a press conference in November or December. He still plans to enroll early at the school of his choice.
We hope you've enjoyed this free look at GamecockAnthem.com's content. If you are not already a premium subscriber and you would like to enjoy more great content like this, then feel free to try our 7 Day Free Trial and see first hand what all GamecockAnthem has to offer.
Feel free to join in on the discussion on The Cockpit, our free message board forum, or The Golden Spur, our premium forum.