Mangus still making waves in the Northeast

The South Carolina Gamecocks are poised to sign three of the top prospects in New Jersey this Wednesday and Damiere Byrd's high school coach has a pretty good idea how G.A. Mangus was able to accomplish that. Look inside for the story of the first time the two met.

Timber Creek Regional (Erial, N.J.) head football coach Rob Hinson remembers the first time he met South Carolina quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus.

And based on that first impression, it's no surprise to Hinson that Mangus is set to sign three of the top players in New Jersey on national signing day Wednesday.

"I met Coach Mangus probably eight to 10 years ago when he was at Delaware Valley," Hinson said. "And that was a college that really didn't have many guys with interest going there. There was a college fair in Atlantic City and the fair seemed empty because everybody was over at G.A.'s table. And G.A. had just gotten some uniforms that looked like the Oregon Ducks' or something like that, so basically he stole the show with his uniforms and went from there and turned Delaware Valley into a winning program."

Mangus took over that Delaware Valley program in 2002. After going 2-8 in his first season, he guided the Aggies to the fifth-greatest one-year turnaround in Division III history. They finished with a 9-2 record and captured the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Southeast Championship.

In the three seasons following his rookie campaign, Delaware Valley notched a 33-4 record, won three conference championships, and advanced to the national quarterfinals twice. Before his time at Delaware Valley, located in Doylestown, Pa., Mangus spent time as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Ursinus College (Collegeville, Pa.). Before that it was four years at Chester, Pa.'s Widener University.

So it's not hard to see where Mangus' connections to the northeast come from.

And it was no surprise to Hinson a couple of years back when Mangus came knocking on his door wanting to recruit his prized wide receiver Damiere Byrd.

Mangus may have gained some glances when he battled to the end for the class of 2010's Sharrif Floyd, a five-star defensive tackle from Philadelphia's George Washington HS who ultimately signed with Florida.

But he really made waves when three of the top prospects from New Jersey verbally committed to the Gamecocks' 2011 class.

Byrd joins St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) safety Sheldon Royster and Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) QB Tanner McEvoy as the three prospects from the state who will sign with South Carolina Wednesday.

Byrd, ranked the No. 18 wide receiver in the country, and Royster, the No. 7 safety, are both rated four-star prospects by McEvoy is rated a three-star wide receiver, though he will play quarterback at South Carolina.

Byrd is a speedster best known for the 4.26 40-yard dash time he put down at the Nike Football Combine in Philadelphia, Pa. He should contribute immediately in the return game and as an added dynamic to the Gamecocks' receiver corps.

Royster is considered by many to be the second best prospect in New Jersey and brings a hard-nosed mentality with great instincts to the safety position. He, too, should contribute as a freshman at South Carolina.

Much like Connor Shaw, South Carolina's 2010 signee at quarterback, McEvoy hasn't played the position long, but is a supreme athlete with outstanding upside at the position.

Byrd was the first "northeast guy" to commit to South Carolina, when he pulled the trigger in October.

"A lot of it really had to do with G.A.," Hinson said in regard to Byrd's reasons for picking South Carolina. "G.A. has done a fantastic job of recruiting him. I believe South Carolina was the second offer, so G.A. saw him and got him offered up early. That really played a major part in how Damiere viewed South Carolina.

"G.A. has been there for him and talked to him even when the topic may not have been recruiting and that left a really good impression on Damiere."

Byrd echoed those feelings.

"My relationship with Coach G.A. Mangus has really helped a lot as he was the first coach to come and actually see my games in person," he said. "He came up and started to get to know my family, get to know my younger brother by his first name and get to know me well. Then he started to sell me on a program that I really knew nothing about from there, so he did a great job on selling me on South Carolina from start to finish."

Royster and McEvoy joined the fold on the same day in January.

"I'm picking South Carolina because I feel like I need to get away," Royster told "I have been in New Jersey my entire life and I feel like I need to get away and experience different things in life and see what a different state or culture might look like."

"I compared North Carolina and South Carolina," said McEvoy who ultimately chose between those two schools. "And I just had a lot of fun down at South Carolina and felt very comfortable with Coach Mangus and Coach Spurrier, as well as the supporting cast, so I wanted to go there. I'm looking forward to joining their team.

"I'm looking forward to spending my next four years with (Mangus) as my position coach."

St. Peter's Prep head coach Rich Hansen says it's easy to see why South Carolina would want to recruit New Jersey and why Mangus has had success doing so.

"There are a lot of great football players [in New Jersey] so that makes us an attraction to major schools," Hansen said. "Honestly, I think playing in the SEC Championship game and having bowl appearances and winning is the greatest cosmetic that you can buy. The fact that South Carolina has been winning, the fact that they play in the SEC is certainly a huge attraction."

Don't look for the northeast connection to stop any time soon. South Carolina has already offered multiple top class of 2012 prospects from the area including Byrd's teammate LB Quanzell Lambert, Downington East (Exton, Pa.) RB Drew Harris, Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) S Nate Smith and Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) TE Colin Thompson to name a few. South Carolina was also once named a public leader by Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) four-star safety Elijah Shumate, a good friend of Royster's.

"That kind of lets you know that he had an idea of really how to reach kids and affect kids and stuff like that," Hinson says of the first time he met Mangus. "And from then on, most people in this area knew who G.A. was. If he can recruit kids to Delaware Valley to pay $40 thousand to play Division III football, then I really don't think he's going to have a problem recruiting scholarship-type kids to play football at South Carolina."

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