Garcia Is a Gamecock

Jefferson (Tampa, FL) standout quarterback Stephen Garcia announced his commitment to play for the South Carolina Gamecocks at a press conference at his school this afternoon. Garcia, who is rated a 4-star prospect by, chose the Gamecocks over offers from Florida, Auburn, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Louisville, and Boston College. Read inside for full story.

The 6'3, 200 pound Garcia announced his decision in front of a crowd of over one hundred onlookers, including friends, family, and local media. The emotional Garcia opened by thanking everyone for their support, and reminisced about his time at Jefferson High School, as he said, "Wow, so many memories at this school. Coach (Mike) Fenton, my friends and family, you guys have been great. I've enjoyed every minute of it."

Garcia, who entered the news conference wearing a navy blue blazer, then took off his jacket, as the audience eagerly awaited the announcement of his college choice. "As far as colleges go, all of the different coaches that I've met through the past couple months have been really good to me and my family. It's just been a really fun time," said Garcia. "It's hard to explain. The feeling that I've got right now is pretty mixed emotions. There's a lot of colleges that wanted me, and there's only one college that I'm going to be able to sign with."

As a smiling Garcia unbuttoned his dress shirt to reveal a black South Carolina t-shirt, he said, "I want to take this time to officially announce my commitment to the University of South Carolina. That‘s where I‘ll be going for the next four years. I‘m excited. I‘m very excited."

The premier Sunshine State quarterback acknowledged that the opportunity to play under Head Coach Steve Spurrier played an important factor in his decision to become a Gamecock. "It was a major factor. Once I heard the rumors about him leaving to Alabama or Miami, I called him that day, and he told me that he's going nowhere," said Garcia. "He wants to win the first SEC Championship in South Carolina history, and he wants me to be a part of it. It‘s going to be very special working with him."

According to Garcia, the South Carolina fans also played an important role in his choice to attend USC. "I don't know if they can get much better than that. I went out there for the spring game, and the whole stadium just chanted my name," said Garcia. "I went to the Florida versus South Carolina football game this year, and the whole sideline was cheering for me. It was pretty intense stuff. On my blog, pretty much all the people there were South Carolina fans, and it's a great feeling."

When asked to comment on the possibility for early playing time at Carolina, Garcia announced that he plans on graduating high school early, which will allow him the luxury of taking part in spring practice and competing for early playing time. "That depends on my work ethic, how focused I am, and whether I graduate early or not, which I most likely am," Garcia said. "I haven't really told anybody yet, but I'm probably going to end up doing that. I'm probably going to graduate early so I can get the head start and hopefully play next year, or at least contribute." Garcia, who is considering majoring in mass communications at USC, stated that he is a straight ‘A' student, and he is eligible to graduate early.

Although the Gamecocks return a number of quarterbacks next season, including incumbent starter Blake Mitchell, Garcia said that his mobility in the pocket helps to set him apart. "Coach Spurrier told me that they don't really have another quarterback on their team that has the ability of scrambling that I do," said Garcia. "All of them are pretty much pocket-passers, so he said I bring that dimension to the table, and hopefully I'll make the most of it."

Jefferson High School Football Coach Mike Fenton talked about the joys of coaching Garcia over the past four seasons, and praised him for his record-setting career. "We've been fortunate enough to go to the state playoffs for the last four years. His sophomore year, he led us to the State Championship game. We were Region Champions, and this year as a matter of fact, he has set the all-time Hillsborough County passing and touchdown record," said Fenton. "He's the current record-holder, and I think that's going to be a record that's going to stick around for a long, long time."

Fenton concluded by stating that he believes the sky is the limit for Garcia. "I think that he's got a lot of great things to look forward to," said Fenton. " We're definitely going to miss him, and if he does what he's supposed to do, I really believe that we'll maybe be seeing him play on Sundays one day. We're very, very proud of him, and Jefferson High School is very proud of him."

Garcia becomes the Gamecocks seventeenth commitment in the 2007 recruiting class, and he will be the only quarterback taken by USC in this class. will post the exciting video of Garcia's announcement to play for South Carolina later this evening.

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