USC lands Sunshine State tight end
Kelvin Rainey is one of the most athletic and versatile prospects in the Sunshine State this year, and South Carolina made him a priority in the 2012 recruiting class very early on. With an impressive offer list that included tenders from major programs like Florida, Georgia, LSU, Miami, and Southern Cal, the nation's No. 17 rated tight end prospect certainly had plenty of attractive options to choose from when deciding on his college choice. However, according to Rainey, he fell in love with the Gamecocks' program and knew in his heart that he wanted to play in the garnet and black.
"I enjoyed every minute of my recruitment, and South Carolina is where I want to be. I just want to be where my heart is. I felt like I should go ahead and commit now and not hold it back since I know where I want to go," Rainey said shortly after making his pledge to USC. "I have a really strong relationship with South Carolina‘s coaches. It's amazing. It's more like we're good friends than an athlete and coach. They're really strong on academics, and I like that about a college. That excited me from the beginning."
Rainey, who noted that Miami and Georgia were his two other finalists, said he appreciated the honest and upfront way that South Carolina recruited him.
"It's just the way they handle things. They never beat around the bush. They're straight forward with what they want. They're going to tell you what they're doing and how they want to use you. They just have a great program. The relationship I have with them is so strong, I just couldn't hold out anymore."
According to Rainey, the Gamecocks like him in a tight end/H-back role that will utilize his versatility and create mismatches for opponents.
"I think they'll use me the same way I'm used in my high school's offense now. I can create mismatches against linebackers and cornerbacks. You can flex me out wide or sometimes put me in the backfield. I can play tight end. I'm going to hit it hard this summer and in the season, and we'll see how it goes when I get there."
Another factor that intrigued Rainey about USC is how they use dynamic wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, who was very similar physically to Rainey when he came out of high school in the 2009 class.
"It caught my eye the way they use (Jeffery). He's an outstanding athlete for them. There are things he does that I couldn't do, and there are things I can do that he can't do. I'm just ready to prove myself and be better than the next guy."
Rainey, who said he would like to get his weight up to 245 pounds at the college level, described the versatility that he brings to the football field and how he excels on both sides of the ball in high school.
"I'm pretty athletic. You can put me on any side of the ball, at any position. Some people think because of my size I'm not that fast of a guy, but being 6-3, 220 and running a 4.4 or 4.5, that's pretty athletic. You can put me at linebacker to stop the run or at safety to stop the pass. I can block at tight end or flex out to receiver to beat people out of the box. They throw me a lot of quick screens. Mostly what I think is exciting about my skill-set is that I can turn a five yard pass into a sixty-five yard touchdown. There are a few kids that can do that in high school, but for me being a big guy, I think I can find the cutting lanes and run well."
Lastly, while Rainey noted that he may attend some more camps, he stated that he is firm in his commitment to South Carolina.
"I might take some other visits, but other than camps that's pretty much it. I'm committed."
Rainey, rated a three-star prospect on Scout.com, becomes South Carolina's ninth commitment in the 2012 recruiting class. The talented prospect last visited Columbia in the spring, but he plans to make a return trip next month for the Gamecock Showcase Camp.
In his junior season, Rainey caught 36 passes for nearly 500 yards and five touchdowns, while also recording 76 tackles on defense. He plans to graduate in December to enroll early at USC.
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