The next big thing in S.C.

CHARLOTTE - He's one of the top prospects in South Carolina and his stock only improved with an impressive performance at Sunday's Sports combine held in Charlotte.

His goal was to win MVP honors at the Sports Combine Sunday, and Manning (S.C.) High School's Johnavon Fulton nearly pulled it off.

If it wasn't for an outstanding performance put by the Tar Heel state's Gabe King, Fulton would have literally run away with it. But the 6-foot, 180-pound defensive back didn't leave Charlotte empty handed as he still won Defensive MVP honors.

"All of this training in the off-season, I guess it is coming together for me," Fulton told afterwards.

At least it did on Sunday as the four-star cornerback posted a time of 4.39 on a grass surface and then proceed to impress everyone with his skills as a cover corner in one-on-one drills.

"I'm trying to show people that I can play corner at the college level," Fulton said. "If I have to play safety or something, I will do that, but while the other corners are sitting at home, I'm trying to come out here and get better."

It's safe to say Fulton made his case to be a starting corner to those that witnessed his performance Sunday.

"He was everything I expected plus some," said Chad Simmons, Southeast recruiting manager for "He was much quicker in person than on film and he was outstanding in the agility/speed drills which included him posting a time of 4.39 seconds in the 40-yard dash on grass.

"He really turns well in coverage, while maintaining control of his body and speed. I at one time thought he was a safety, but he is just a big corner that can definitely line up on the outside at the next level."

Speaking of the next level, Fulton already has offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Clemson, Maryland and N.C. State, and he says the recruiting experience has been a pretty enjoyable ride thus far.

"It is pretty great. I have enjoyed it," he said. "It's a job, but it could be the best job I ever have in my life. (Football is) what I love to do, and when you love something it is not like a job at all."

Right now, Fulton list Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina and Georgia as his favorites.

"I'm loving them right now because they have put a lot of DBs into the pros and there are a lot of great coaches – Nick Saban, Urban Myer, Coach (Mark) Richt and Coach (Steve) Spurrier. All of them are going to be Hall of Fame coaches so I want to learn under them."

Though the Manning star has his favorites, he stressed that he is in no way ruling any school out at this time. For example, Clemson is not on his list because he has not visited or been to Clemson in several years. He is planning on visiting Clemson this summer for football camp.

Thus far, he said he has stayed in touch with the Clemson coaches and he really likes what they are telling him.

"They told me I will have a chance to start, but I understand that it is not going to be handed to me," he said. "If I go there, I'm going to have to work and I understand that and love that. That's what I love to do and that's why I'm out here today.

"I'm competitive and that's what I came out here to do."

Fulton says he is looking forward to his upcoming trip to Clemson and he is anxious to see how the football program and the campus compares to other schools he has visited or will visit.

"I'm really looking forward to that. I'm just looking forward to see how people greet me and how the coaches treat me and all of that stuff," he said. "And then I want to see if I can get along with the (current) players because I have to be there for four years so I want to make sure I'm around people I'm going to like."

With the combine season over, Fulton says it's time to really get to work as he tries to help Manning make a run at a state championship.

"When you come to Manning, it's a small town and everything. We have big time playmakers down there and after while I think everybody is going to see that," he said. "I have to work. I have to work every day to get my teammates ready and try to win state. I just try to take it one step at a time.

"I think we have a state championship team this year. We have scholarship players and one of the best passers to come through Manning High in a long time. I think we are going to get it done."

Just like Fulton did on Sunday. Top Stories