Gamecocks get a corner

With cornerbacks Akeem Auguste and C.C. Whitlock one season away from exhausting their eligibility and All-SEC standout Stephon Gilmore a possible early entrant to the NFL draft after this season, there's no question the Gamecocks' need corners. Thursday evening they got a good one when Lovejoy (Ga.) three-star CB Rico McWilliams committed to Lorenzo Ward.

"It feels real good; it's a blessing," Rico McWilliams said shortly after committing. "I thank God for this and everything, it's a blessing for me. For me to commit to South Carolina, it feels good to me."

The 6-foot, 171-pound receiver chose Carolina over offers from programs like Arkansas, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, N.C. State, Pitt, Purdue, South Florida, UCF, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Wake Forest.

South Carolina defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Lorenzo Ward landed the three-star prospect for the Gamecocks.

"Oh, man, he was really happy about that, he was real happy," McWilliams said of Ward's reaction. "I called him and I like him know [that] I want to be a Gamecock. He said, 'You're a Gamecock, let me tell the boss man!' He was real happy about it."

McWilliams explained some of the reasons that he felt the USC program was the best fit for him.

"Oh, man, it just feels good," McWilliams said. "I grew up watching the SEC and it was no doubt about it that I was going to play in the SEC. And I had [a] South Carolina [offer] and I felt good to have South Carolina.

"I like the defense that they run -- they have the 4-2-5 -- that's five DBs on the field. I could play corner or I could play safety, so I could play more than one position and I like that about that."

McWilliams was one Carolina campus for a visit a couple of weeks ago.

"I had a good time; my mom and dad had a good time," he said. "We just all had a good time. Coach took his time out to do what he did and he showed us around, and I respect coach for doing that."

He also likes the fact that Ward, his recruiter, is also his future position coach.

"I've got a good relationship. I talk to him about two times a week. It's good, some people have areas that they recruit in and I've got my defensive back coach that it's the area he recruits in. That's good so that my relationship with him is good already since that's who I'll be playing for."

McWilliams says that South Carolina has expressed to him many of the things that they like about his play.

"They love my effort to the ball. They say I'm aggressive to the ball," McWilliams says. "The other thing is I'm not a 5-9 or 5-10 corner, I'm a 6-foot corner. You don't get that a lot. I'm not saying it's super hard, but it's kind of hard to find a 6-foot cornerback and that's good at that. I'm a 6-foot corner, I'm aggressive [and] I've got good speed."

McWilliams didn't get to meet head coach Steve Spurrier during his last trip because the Head Ball Coach was at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla. But he does plan to get back to Columbia, possibly as early as next week, to meet Spurrier.

McWilliams had South Florida as his leader for some time but ultimately changed to having no leaders and then eventually committed to South Carolina Thursday.

"It took me a long time [to realize South Carolina was the place] because I loved South Florida," McWilliams said. "I just felt South Carolina was just best for me."

As excited as McWilliams and Ward were about the newest Gamecock, he says his parents are just as thrilled.

"They're real excited," McWilliams said. "They love that. They're going to be behind me 210 percent, so they're going to be excited even if I went somewhere else. But they're happy about this. And they've got a place that they had a chance to see South Carolina because it's not that far from home."

McWilliams closed with a message to South Carolina fans.

"Just let them know that a competitor is coming, a person that hates to lose," McWilliams said. "Not that I won't lose, but a person that loves the game and doesn't just play the game because he's good. And let them know that I'm going to do whatever I can to help the Gamecocks win."

McWilliams is ranked the No. 42 CB in the country by

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