But at just 205 pounds, the defensive end from McEachern High School in Georgia knew he was going to have to put some weight on his 6-foot-6 frame if he's going to see any reps during his first year as a Gamecock.
English has worked hard in the offseason to get ready for summer workouts -- those begin Monday as he moved into his dorm over the weekend -- and as of a few weeks ago was up to 226 pounds, he said.
The coaches have told him to get his weight up to 235 pounds by the end of the summer.
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward and defensive line coach Brad Lawing are looking for another premier pass rusher to give them the luxury of rushing star end Jadeveon Clowney from the inside on passing situations -- much like they used first round draft pick Melvin Ingram last season.
English could be just the guy.
English believes one of the reasons his weight was so low for a defensive end is the four years he spent playing high school basketball. But his experience on the hardwood, he believes, will help - not hurt - his value on the turf.
"I do believe it has kept me from gaining weight," English said. "But it will still help me with things like quickness and agility."
He'll have plenty of other things going for him once he begins practice in August. One huge plus, in English's eyes, is having the privilege to learn from two of the best defensive ends in the nation.
English said he agrees with the comparisons being drawn between he and senior end Devin Taylor, and knows the fortuitous position he's in to be learning from both Taylor and Clowney, the former No. 1 recruit in the country, who had eight sacks and forced five fumbles last season as a reserve.
"I've seen [Taylor] play. He does remind me of myself. He's very long, has great speed," English said. "It will be great playing with him and Clowney. I can learn a lot of things from both of them."
English will also be learning from defensive line coach Brad Lawing, who English calls "one of the best in college football".
"I'm very excited to play for him. He's a great coach," English said. "He's put a lot of guys in the NFL and he knows what he's doing."
When his time is up at South Carolina, English wants to be remembered "as a dominant player on the football field and a great person off the field".
English will join two high school teammates who signed with South Carolina last February, linebacker Marcquis Roberts and tight end Rory Anderson, and fellow 2012 signee from McEachern PK Nick St. Germain.
English was scheduled to room with St. Germain and freshman safety Kyle Fleetwood, who is from Stone Mountain, Ga.
He plans to wear No. 8 for the Gamecocks.
NOTE: This interview was conducted before English enrolled at South Carolina
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