Sean Tapley, who is considered by some to be the most underrated wide receiver prospect in the state of Florida this year, had maintained since the day he committed to South Carolina last November that he was a “soft commitment” to the Gamecocks, even going as far as to say in recent weeks that he was only “60-percent committed.”
However, the USC staff had the opportunity to host Tapley for an important unofficial visit on Saturday afternoon, and the 6-0, 175 pound receiver came away with a renewed positive impression of South Carolina following his third ever trip to USC’s campus.
“It went real well,” Tapley said of his visit. “I’d been there twice (before), but I saw some new things. I learned more about the campus, the dorms, and stuff like that. I liked the dorms a lot. It was a real good visit.”
Tapley spent a lot of time with his recruiter Steve Spurrier Jr. and the Head Ball Coach himself during his time in Columbia, and the talented pass-catcher left impressed with their vision for the future of Gamecock football.
“I spent a lot of time with Coach Spurrier (Jr.) and his dad, Coach Spurrier Sr. They were telling me about what kind of team they’re putting together and how much better they’re getting. That was good to hear. They also talked about the new facilities they’re building,” Tapley said. “They said they’re really looking forward to me getting up there.”
According to Tapley, another highlight from his trip came when he learned that his jersey number will be available when he arrives at USC next year.
“My number (#9) will be available next year,” he said with a smile. “(Moe Brown) is a senior, so it’ll work out for me to get that right away.”
Following his time at USC, Tapley stopped short of completely firming up his commitment to the Gamecocks, but he stated that his pledge is much stronger than before.
“I’ve still got some interest in other schools, but it’s not strong interest. I’m really strongly committed to South Carolina right now,” he noted. “I’d say my commitment is 85-percent.”
When asked what it would take for another school to sway him from his commitment to the Gamecocks, Tapley replied succinctly, “It would take a lot.”
The Sunshine State receiver said that he still plans to maximize the recruiting process by taking all five of his official visits, and he already knows which schools he wants to visit.
“I’m going to visit South Carolina, Miami, Ole Miss, North Carolina, and Southern Miss,” he said. “I’m still working on (setting up the dates), but I’m going to take some during the season and some after.”
Tapley, who hopes to make a return trip to USC soon for one of the Gamecocks’ fall practices, insisted that he will keep an open mind about his recruitment until “close to Signing Day.”
The Jacksonville, FL product closed by giving a prediction and some personal goals for his upcoming senior season.
“We’re going to win state. That’s a guarantee,” he said emphatically. “For personal goals, I want to get about 1,000 yards and about 50 receptions.”
Scout's Take: Sean Tapley
Scout.com recruiting analyst Mike Bakas has seen Sean Tapley on multiple occasions, including at the Pro Impact Sports one-on-one skills camp in Jacksonville earlier this summer where Tapley dominated the competition and came away with Wide Receiver MVP honors from the event - which featured the top wide receivers and defensive backs in Northeast Florida.
Below is Bakas' impressions of Tapley, who he believes deserves consideration to be the top wide receiver in the state of Florida this year:
"People who haven't seen Tapley call me crazy, but I think he's the best receiver in the state of Florida. I think he will be in the NFL in three years (after signing). He's that good. Nobody talks about him being that good because most of the people who talk about him haven't really watched him," said Bakas. "You can't base evaluations off of his high school season because their offense is so disorganized that you're only going to get so much. He's only going to catch three or four balls per game. But if you watch him in these camps where you see him play after play, running thirty or forty plays in an hour, the kid is awesome.
"The kid is a phenom. He's the real deal. He does everything. I've seen him a lot. We had a 7-on-7 tournament back in the spring, and we had a couple workouts with that. I ran the team and organized it, so I got a chance to see Tapley a lot there. Then we had the one-on-on camp recently, so I've gotten to see him really up close. What stands out about him is the way he competes, he catches everything thrown to him, he's got incredible hands, he runs good routes, he's strong and quick, and he just doesn't have any flaws. He doesn't do anything that jumps way off the charts, but if you were to break down ten different aspects of a receiver's game, he does everything well. I don't see any flaws. That's very rare. If it were up to me, he would be one of our five-star prospects in this state. The kid is a stud."
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