Finally, Byrd Down to 5 Schools!

North Augusta's C.J. Byrd, who is the consensus No. 1 prospect in South Carolina, narrowed down to five colleges on Monday afternoon: Georgia, Clemson, Southern California, Florida and Florida State in "no particular order."

ATH C.J. Byrd
6-3, 184, 4.5
North Augusta High School
North Augusta, South Carolina

"I've been visiting or researching every school that offered me a scholarship over the last six months, and these are my top five choices," Byrd said. "I really feel that I can't go wrong with any of the five. I am going check out a lot of games at these five schools this fall and that will play a large part in my final decision."

"Big Byrd" is one of the nation's leaders in scholarship offers with 33. He provided some insight on his final five:

Georgia: "It's 100 miles from North Augusta, plays in a great conference, and competes for championships every year. I like the fact that Coach (Mark) Richt really seems to care and take a personal interest in the lives of each and every player. They will have some immediate openings at WR next year to compete for."

Clemson: "Without a doubt, they have been one of the biggest surprises. Coach (Tommy) Bowden is extremely personable, and the ACC is loaded now that Miami and Virginia Tech has joined. I am very close friends with (former North Augusta standout and Clemson sophomore tailback) Reggie Merriweather. Now I would never pick a school because of another player, because everyone has to do what is best for himself, but having Reggie at Clemson is definitely a plus."

Southern Cal: "If I decided to go far, far, far away from home to play for a school, it would be only one school and that's Southern Cal. I really liked the coaches from Southern Cal that I met or talked to on the phone, I like the location of the school, and I think everyone knows they have had one of the top two or three programs in the land over the last two or three years. And it doesn't look like that is going to change anytime in the immediate future."

Florida: "Two words: Chris Leak. He may be the top quarterback in college football and I don't know of any WR that wouldn't like to catch passes from an All-American."

Florida State: "My family grew up in same neighborhood as (former Florida State standout) Jamal Reynolds so I've been hearing about them forever. FSU's record over the last two decades speaks for itself. If you go there, you know you won't be coming home for Christmas because you will be at a top bowl game every winter break."

"Big Byrd" said it was tough narrowing down to five schools. He was asked about leaving out South Carolina, which he followed during his childhood and attended numerous games:

"South Carolina is a great school and Coach (Lou) Holtz is a living legend. They were great to me up there. They didn't do anything wrong. It was just that I had to narrow down to five schools, and there were other schools that I liked a little better. There is nothing more to it than that. I wish South Carolina all the best in the future."

"Big Byrd" began football practice last Friday and lowed his 40 time from 4.5 to 4.41, thanks to some tips on technique from former teammate Frayne Abernathy, who plays at Northwestern. The coaches didn't believe the new time and asked Byrd to run again; on the second attempt, he clocked in at a 4.37.

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