Carolina Cracks Top Group

Carolina Cracks Top Group

After signing a multitude of interior type linemen in the class of 2010, the South Carolina Gamecocks are out to bolster the depth chart at offensive tackle in 2011. Tarpon Springs (Fla.) four-star OT Zach DeBell is one prospect who would help fill that need. Look inside as DeBell discusses his recent visit to South Carolina in this FREE update.

The 6-7, 265-pound Zach DeBell visited South Carolina earlier this year for a spring practice and made a return visit to Columbia this weekend.

"I had a lot of fun," DeBell said. "I was in the weight room for pretty much the entire time -- well not the entire time but for a lot of time, a good hour."

The nation's No. 25 OT, according to, says he was impressed with the Gamecocks' work ethic.

"Watching some of the workouts they did, there were a couple of guys doing their workouts and a competition between the teammates just trying to get better and better with each rep," he explained. "The coach told them to do just two more [reps] and they actually did four more so it was just the little things that helped them out a little more."

DeBell says the one thing he didn't see during his visit in the spring was the dorms.

"We saw the dorm rooms [this time]. It's a big building," DeBell said. "I actually got to meet Marcus Lattimore. And he walked up to me, and said, 'Hey, Zack, what's going on?' I had no idea he knew my name. I thought that was pretty cool he knew who I was."

DeBell, who didn't know Lattimore's full story but did know how highly recruited he was, says that any offensive lineman wants to block for top players.

"I think that's really cool," he said. "Like it opens my eyes to the entirety of the situation. I have to protect the guy that is more valuable than gold -- it's not really like that, but it's just a very valuable person. And they want me to do that? I guess it's just an honor in kind of a way."

DeBell spent a lot of time on the visit with his recruiter of record G.A. Mangus and offensive line/running game coordinator Shawn Elliott.

"I really like Coach Mangus," DeBell says. "He's a great recruiter. I respect him a lot, he respects me. I really like coach Shawn Elliott. He's a great guy. We were just joking around. He's from Boone as well."

While DeBell currently lives in Tarpon Springs, Fla., both of his parents went to Appalachian State where Elliott coached before arriving in Columbia. DeBell and his parents actually spent a day in Boone in between visits this weekend.

While the Gamecocks had dropped out of DeBell's list prior to the visit, that has now changed.

"South Carolina is in there now," he said. "It's Notre Dame, Georgia, Tennessee, Ole Miss, South Carolina and UCLA. That's not in any order. Everyone is pretty even right now."

DeBell broke down his thoughts on the other schools on his list (all have offered).

Notre Dame: "It has great history, great academics. They're focusing majorly on academics. What's really cool, I found out, my freshman year, they're actually playing in Ireland. I thought that was really cool."

UCLA: "It's kind of just like home. You've got the beach. You've got the girls. It's just like Florida but with zero humidity."

Ole Miss: "Coach (Mike) Markuson. He's sent more people than I can count to the NFL."

Tennessee: "Everyone was real nice and heartwarming up there. It was kind of cool because (Tennessee quarterbacks) Coach (Darin) Hinshaw was the coach at Central Florida when my uncle was the center there."

Georgia: "It's just around eight hours away. Coach Searels is a great coach. They have Coach Richt. I really liked Coach Richt, he liked me, I hope. He showed me his whole office -- it was cool."

DeBell isn't done taking visits. He will be at Tennessee today (Monday) and Georgia Friday for Dawg Night. He may take a trip to Auburn on Saturday. DeBell will also be back at South Carolina for the Gamecock Showcase Camp later this month.

He says he will take a few official visits then likely make a decision mid-way through his senior season.

DeBell says it's quite simple what he's looking for in a school: "Where I really feel comfortable. Where I feel most at home."

DeBell also has offers from Minnesota, UCF, Florida International, Iowa State, South Florida, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Western Kentucky, Louisville, Purdue, Memphis, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Michigan, Missouri, Rutgers, West Virginia and Virginia. Recommended Stories

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