(South) Carolina on His Mind

A school closer to home has entered the mix for Penn State linebacker commit Jonathan Walton. See what he has to say about the situation.

Just over two weeks have passed since Bayside Academy (Daphne, Ala.) linebacker Jonathan Walton pledged his verbal commitment to Penn State on the tail end of an official visit weekend at University Park. At the time, it ended a recruitment that had Arkansas State, Louisiana and Minnesota hot in pursuit of the FOX Sports NEXT two-star linebacker, and gave the Nittany Lions an early recruiting gift.

But now, with a dead period and the holiday season morphed into one, Walton has received an unexpected gift of his own in the form of an offer from South Carolina this week.

“Coach [Keith] Botkin came down the day before the dead period, and we've been talking since then,” Walton said Thursday afternoon. “He offered me a week later, but it didn't get out right away because I wanted to make sure it was legit.”

It most certainly was. Walton becomes the 11th reported middle linebacker to receive an offer from the Gamecocks, who already have one inside 'backer in the fold with Goose Creek (S.C.) High three-star prospect Gerald Turner holding strong since March. But the offer has not changed anything just yet, as the senior holds firm in his commitment to the Nittany Lions.

“I feel the same about Penn State. It doesn't change anything,” Walton said. “More doors have opened for me now, though, and I want to find the best place for me. If I like [South Carolina], I do, and then I will decide. If I don't like it, well then, I don't, and I know Penn State is the best place for me.”

Walton will use his third official visit to help make that determination, a visit that is still in the planning process.

“Coach Botkin is coming down in January, and we are going to schedule a visit then,” Walton said. “I want to learn everything while on that visit. I want to learn about the coaching staff, the players and that kind of stuff.

“I know they have a good coaching staff, it's just basically about how I feel around the people, and how I fit in and feel about the people there.”

With signing day rapidly approaching, Walton knows he won't have long to decide how he feels about South Carolina, and how that relates to his commitment to Penn State. But in the hurried world of recruiting, he knows he still has time.

“Once I take the visit, I will have a little bit better feel on where I want to go to school,” he said. “I want to go to school where I feel most comfortable, and the first two visits I took are important, because now I know what to expect and what to look for on this visit. That will help me decide and make my decision.”

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