Dynamic Culliver Will Bring Excitement To USC

2007 USC wide receiver signee Chris Culliver was a special guest on this week's edition of GamecockAnthem Radio, and the dynamic Tar Heel State product, who is one of the most anticipated newcomers of the Steve Spurrier era, hopes to use his special combination of speed and playmaking ability to add some excitement to South Carolina's special teams and passing game this fall.

GamecockAnthem Radio aired its' third show on 90.5 WUSC FM in Columbia this week. As the only radio show in the state of South Carolina that offers "All Gamecock talk, all the time," Gamecock Anthem Radio is the perfect show to help USC fans get their Gamecock fix, especially during the summer months when football deprivation begins to set in. Be sure to tune in every Wednesday morning from 8-12 throughout the summer to hear great interviews like the one below and enjoy in depth discussion on South Carolina football, recruiting, baseball and much more. To learn more about GamecockAnthem Radio, click here: LINK

Interview with 2007 wide receiver signee Chris Culliver:

Question: One of the biggest questions the South Carolina offense is facing heading into the 2007 season is which receivers will step up to help fill the void left by Sidney Rice. Even though a few of USC's younger wideouts showed promise during the spring, returning starter Kenny McKinley is really the only proven receiver on the roster right now. That obviously leaves a great opportunity for newcomers like yourself to come in and make an immediate impact. What exactly have the South Carolina coaches told you about the possibility of seeing the field early and making an impact this season?

Answer: Really, they've told me straight up how it's going to be - the best guy is going to get the spot, whether it be me or some other guy. I'm just hoping to be that guy.

Question: There's no doubt that you're a special player on the football field. You're dangerous pretty much any time you have the ball in your hands. Why don't you give our listeners a little taste of what they can expect from you this season. What strengths would you say you bring to the football field?

Answer: One is my speed. I'm very dangerous with my speed. When I get open, that's going to be a problem for the guys guarding me. Also, just the different things I bring to the table. I can do punt return, kick return and play receiver. When I touch the ball, things are going to happen.

Question: Is there any player that you tend to model your game after on the football field?

Answer: Most likely it'd probably be Jerry Rice. I also love Devin Hester.

Question: I know you've got to be excited about taking your game to the next level this fall and competing against some of the best talent in the country in the SEC. With that in mind, what kind of personal goals have you set for yourself in your upcoming freshman season?

Answer: One, I just want to contribute to the team as much as possible. I just want to help out anyway possible so we can get more wins than we had last year and hopefully get to a better bowl. I know this is the best recruiting class (South Carolina) has ever had, and we're going to try and fulfill that with great wins. Hopefully with the close losses from last year, we can help that out a little bit and turn those losses into 'W's.'

Question: When are you planning to arrive at USC and begin working out with the team?

Answer: I plan on being there probably on July 5th. I'm hoping to get there early, but July 5th is my main goal to get there. I know if I get a head start, then everything will work out for me and the team.

Question: I've heard you've been working hard leading up to that. What exactly are you doing in between now and early July to basically gear up for the 2007 season?

Answer: I'm working hard just about everyday. I actually ran track (during the spring) to help out my speed a little more. I was second in the state in the indoor state (championships). I've been doing that and running routes better. I'm just working to get better overall.

Question: Speaking of the workouts, has anyone told you what to expect with USC's strength and conditioning program under Mark Smith?

Answer: Yeah, I've actually talked to a couple guys like Travian Robertson. He said the workouts are kind of hard, but he said you have to do a lot of (sprints) in a certain amount of time and seconds. I did that in track, and I'm still doing it. Hopefully the workouts won't be that tough for me because I've done that before.

Question: You mentioned that you're a standout on the track as well, and it's no secret that you've got great speed. Just curious, what's the best forty yard dash time that you've recorded?

Answer: The best forty time I've had was clocked at 4.27. I ran a 4.29 like two weeks ago, and I'm training with my coach, so I hope to just get faster and faster. That's my main goal. That's what I want to do.

Question: Okay, let's take a quick look back at the recruiting process for you. Obviously you were an extremely highly touted prospect up there in North Carolina, and you had offers from major programs like Florida, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Clemson and others. You could have gone to just about any school in the country, but what was it about South Carolina that stood out to you and helped you decide to commit to the Gamecocks?

Answer: It was just the coaching. I saw what Coach Spurrier was putting together, so I had to join the party. It was just the experience that he has with the league and what he's going to do with the program to try and better it. Also, the environment (in Columbia) is the same environment that I'm living in right now in Raleigh, North Carolina. I think that all had a lot to do with it.

Question: When did you know for sure that South Carolina was the right place for you?

Answer: Probably about a week or so before signing day I knew for sure.

Question: Was it exciting for you to have other top North Carolina players like Travian Robertson, Jason Barnes, Weslye Saunders, Melvin Ingram and those guys join you at South Carolina?

Answer: Oh yeah, that was good because they'll help us out a lot. They're all great players.

Question: You mentioned earlier that the 2007 class was pretty much the best recruiting class in the history of the South Carolina football program. How special was it for you to be a part of something like that?

Answer: I'm just glad I was able to contribute to the class and be a part of that.

Question: I understand that you've got a few highly touted teammates that are rising seniors up there at Garner this year in Tony Morgan and Reggie Bowens, and the Gamecocks have offered both of them. Are you kind of working them to join you down in Columbia?

Answer: Oh yeah, I talk to them about everyday. I actually have class with Reggie Bowens, so we hang out, and I talk to him a lot about how important it's going to be for him if he does come (to South Carolina). I just tell him to work hard and enjoy his senior season. I think that's where I kind of slipped off a little bit, worrying about the recruiting process and things like that (last year).

Question: I've talked to Reggie a little bit already in the recruiting process, and he's got some pretty good speed in his own right. Has he said if he wants a crack at you on the track yet?

Answer: (Laughs) Oh yeah, I'm just telling him to keep working hard. I'm trying to help him get his forty time as low as possible. He's an explosive guy and a great athlete.

Question: Alright, I've just got a few more questions for you here, Chris. When you look at South Carolina's 2007 schedule, is there a certain game that stands out to you where you just say, ‘I can't wait to play against those guys.'

Answer: Florida. When all is said and done, it's Florida.

Question: Is there a pretty interesting story there with South Carolina and Florida recruiting you? I know they were the two final teams you had under consideration. What's the story there?

Answer: They were the two finalists. It came down to South Carolina and Florida, and fortunately I picked South Carolina. There were a lot of rumors going on, and people asked me why I didn't pick Florida, but when we play them I'm going to show people why I didn't pick Florida.

Question: Is there going to be any extra significance for you when you play against your home state schools like North Carolina and N.C. State over the next few years?

Answer: Oh yeah, I'm looking forward to playing UNC this year, and then we play N.C. State the following year. There's guys I know up there like Darrell Blackmon. I hang out with him, and I've got a real close friend that actually got off their football team. His name is James Reed. I also know a lot of people at UNC, and I just hope to meet them in a game.

Question: I know a lot of times incoming freshmen are excited about picking out what jersey number they're going to wear in college. Do you have an idea of what jersey number you're going to be wearing this season?

Answer: I talked with Coach Spurrier, and he kind of made me a deal. He said if I start or get any type of playing time that I can have the #7 jersey.

Question: Speaking of jerseys, what are your thoughts on South Carolina's new Under Armour uniforms that they'll be wearing this season?

Answer: Everything's good. I like the uniforms the best, but the cleats, that's what everybody's been talking about.

Question: I know you've heard how excited everyone is in South Carolina right now about the direction of the Gamecock football program under Steve Spurrier and the potential to do things that have never been done before in Columbia like win an SEC Championship and possibly even contend for a national championship. So how excited are you about coming into a situation like that where you can be a part of something special and help USC reach those goals?

Answer: I'm very excited. The team is an up and coming team, and I'm glad just to be a part of it. In Coach Spurrier's offense, when they call my name, I'll be the happiest person.

Question: I've just got one more question for you, Chris. Obviously the Gamecock Nation is very excited about you arriving in Columbia in the next couple of months here. Is there any message you'd like to pass on to the South Carolina fans before you go?

Answer: I just want to let y'all know that I want to contribute to the team anyway possible, and I'll see you on Saturdays.

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