Gamecocks offer fast-rising OG

Fresh off an MVP performance at the Orlando NFTC camp Sunday, Madison County (Fla.) OG Ira Denson is a hot name in recruiting circles. South Carolina linebackers coach Kirk Botkin was by Denson's school on Thursday and the Gamecocks extended an offer to the 6-foot-4, 320-pound prospect.

"I know they have (Shawn) Elliott as offensive line coach," Ira Denson said of South Carolina. "I watch their offensive linemen. I watch a lot of different colleges' offensive linemen to see how they play. They play nasty and they play physical on the o-line."

Denson has already started to develop a relationship with Botkin.

"He's really down to earth," Denson says. "He's told me that he really wants me to come play for them and stuff like that. He was really in-depth about about they build players."

South Carolina also offered Denson's cousin and teammate CB Shedrick Williams. Williams said it would be cool for the two to be able to play together and that they had been hoping for some of their offers to start overlapping.

Before South Carolina offered Thursday, Denson already had tenders from FIU and Western Kentucky. But his MVP performance has likely piqued the interest of other schools around the southeast.

"I always knew I had it in me, I just had to expose it to the world that I wasn't just an average player. It felt great to win MVP."

After this interview took place, Florida State offensive line coach Clint Trickett was by his school and offered.

"That was my favorite team growing up since I knew how to play football," Denson said Thursday before picking up the offer. "They never did really have big offensive linemen, so I never thought I'd be the type of guy to go there, because I was too big. They're a real physical team and they play together."

Denson insists that just because he grew up a fan of nearby FSU, that doesn't mean the Seminoles are on top right now -- in fact, he says no one has a lead.

He does list Alabama, Florida, Florida State and South Carolina as his top four in no particular order.

"They're physical, they play hard, they try to get after you every play," he said of Florida. "They're a downhill team and I like that."

With all the added attention, Denson doesn't want to rush to a decision. He hopes to visit all of the schools in his top group before making a commitment.

He does know what he's looking for in a school.

"I want them to help me become a man, get a great education. [I want] a great school, just a great all-around experience that I can not dread going to school because of this and that, and just wake up every morning being happy with practicing and school work."

Denson says he hopes to have a decision made before his senior season begins.

"I've got to sit down and talk with my parents, my dad and my coach," he says. "(Madison County head) coach (Mike) Coe will help me a lot. He brought me to this point. He made me work hard in the weight room. When I was misbehaving and stuff, he kept me around, and it's paying off now. I worked like a dog this offseason to get my knee-bend better [and] get more physical."

That hard work has certainly paid off.

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