Home Is Where The Heart Is

The South Carolina Gamecocks solidified their 2007 wide receiver class as one of the nation's best on Wednesday afternoon when Garner (NC) 4-star standout Chris Culliver announced his commitment to USC. The premier Tar Heel State prospect claimed offers from major programs around the country, but in the end, the University of South Carolina just felt like home, according to Culliver.

"The school of my choice would have to be South Carolina," the 6'1, 190 pound Culliver said at a 12 p.m. news conference at his school. "The reason for that is because I think I can fit in at South Carolina in Steve Spurrier's offense, and that's just where my heart is right now. On Signing Day, I'm going to be signing that paper and going to South Carolina."

Culliver said he knew for sure that South Carolina was the place for him after taking his official visit to Columbia last weekend.

"Really it was talking to the coaches and taking the visit there. I just felt right there. That's where my heart was, so I think that's the best choice I could have made. Environment-wise, I really like the atmosphere and everything. It's also got similarities to home right here in Raleigh. Everything is nice, and it just worked out for me perfectly."

Another important factor in Culliver's decision to join the Gamecocks was the bond that he built with several other Gamecock commitments at the recent Offense-Defense All American game in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

"That was another big factor for me. Just getting to know those guys and talk with them was great. Quintin Richardson, we talk all the time, and when I went down there for the Offense-Defense game, I roomed with him. I used to wrestle with him, and I beat him up a couple times. For real, a lot of guys that are going to South Carolina went to the Offense-Defense game, and they lifted me up a little bit. This freshman class, I'll know at least half of them. I won't be a newcomer, because people will know me too."

The opportunity to win an SEC Championship for the first time at South Carolina was also intriguing to Culliver.

"It's kind of like what Coach Spurrier did at Duke. Being one of the first players on the first team to win an SEC Championship is one of my goals. People around here give a lot of recognition for that (1989) Duke team when they went to the championship and won that. If we make it to the SEC Championship, then people will look back at that, and I'll be up there. I think that's a great opportunity too. Florida has won a lot of championships, and they were another one of my choices, but fortunately I chose South Carolina over them."

Culliver, who was timed at 4.27 seconds in the forty yard dash during the week of the Shrine Bowl, was recruited to play wide receiver at USC, but the dynamic playmaker said he could potentially make an impact in other areas as well.

"I'm going to go down there and play wide receiver. That's really the position that my heart is in, and I think I'm very productive at that position. I'll probably be doing some kick return and punt return and stuff like that. Maybe I'll even help the team out if they need me in a nickel package on defense."

When asked to describe what strengths he brings to the gridiron, Culliver replied that his explosiveness sets him apart, and he hopes to be an immediate impact player for the Gamecocks.

"I think I can make an immediate impact anywhere as long as I push myself like I've been doing and trying hard. The one thing I can probably work on is getting a little better in my route running, but as far as catching it and things like that, I'm ready. When I get the ball in my hands, I'm very explosive. There's very few guys even in this 07' class that run in the 4.3's or 4.2's. I think I'm a very explosive guy, and I'm ready to work hard on the next level."

Lastly, Culliver shared what goals he will look to accomplish in his freshman season at South Carolina.

"Really, academics and everything come first. I'm going to concentrate on that first, but any way I can help the team out, I'm going to try to be productive. Hopefully we will win the SEC next year and get to the National Championship. We'll just see what goes on from there."

Culliver chose the Gamecocks over offers from Florida, Alabama, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and NC State. He becomes USC's 30th commitment in the 2007 recruiting class.

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