Peach State LB Plans Return Trip to USC

One of the top defensive prospects in the talent rich state of Georgia is hoping to make a decision on his college choice in the next few months, but first he plans on taking a number of unofficial visits to schools that he is interested in, including a return trip to Columbia to learn more about the Gamecocks. Read inside for all the details.

Buford (GA) 3-star linebacker T.J. Pridemore is one of the top linebacker prospects in the southeast this recruiting year, as the 6'2", 235 pound backer possesses the size, athleticism and mean streak that college coaches love to see on the football field. With an impressive list of scholarship offers on the table, including tenders from major programs like South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and others, Pridemore has a tough decision ahead of him regarding his college destination. However, with unofficial visits to Duke and Georgia Tech already under his belt this summer, Pridemore plans to take a few more trips before summer's end, including a return trip to South Carolina.

"I really liked South Carolina the last time I went up there," said Pridemore. "I was there for junior day, and I liked the campus pretty well. I like Coach (Shane) Beamer a lot. He's my recruiting coach and maybe my position coach. Of course what Coach (Steve) Spurrier brings to South Carolina is impressive."

While he had a positive experience at USC's junior day back in March, Pridemore hopes to learn more in depth about the Gamecocks during his next trip to Columbia.

"Coach Beamer's been telling me that they need backers and need players up there. I'd like to talk to the coaches about where they want me and what they want me to do as far as school. I'm planning to graduate early right now. I just want to meet with the coaches and look at the program to see how well I like the atmosphere and the town and all that."

As has been the case throughout his recruitment, Pridemore is performing his due diligence before naming any favorites.

"Not at this point. I've tried to really limit myself from naming favorites. I'm trying to keep myself extremely open minded so I won't be eliminating schools that I may have an interest in."

Pridemore, who runs a 4.55 second forty yard dash, knows what factors he'll be looking for when making his final decision, a choice he'd like to make in the next few months.

"I'd like to be at a program where I can play for the coaches that recruited me and somewhere I feel that the staff will stay. I want to get along with the coaches and work under coaches I‘d enjoy playing for. As far as a timeframe, I think I would like to be committed before the season starts in the next month or two, but right now I'm so wide open that I might have to take a few official visits. That'll kind of take us into the season."

With the reputation of being a clean but hard nosed football player, Pridemore closed by sharing what strengths he brings to the gridiron.

"I think football is a special game, because you can actually go out there and play. As long as it's between the whistles, you can play nasty, and I really like to play as hard as I can. I'm very competitive, and I like to think I'm better than the guy across from me. I'm going to play like that, and I'm going to beat him every play."

Pridemore, who helped lead his Buford team to a 12-1 record last season before losing in the third round of the playoffs to the eventual 2A State Champions, racked up 115 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries in his junior campaign.

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