Hillary fulfills dream, commits to Gamecocks

Strom Thurmond (Johnston, SC) dual-threat quarterback Aramis Hillary grew up following the South Carolina football program, as his uncle, Ira Hillary, played wide receiver for the Gamecocks in the 1980's. On Thursday afternoon, Hillary realized a lifelong dream when he was offered a scholarship by USC Head Coach Steve Spurrier and elected to commit to the home state Gamecocks on the spot.

The 6'3", 212 pound Hillary, who runs a 4.68 second forty yard dash, discussed the series of events that led up to his commitment.

"Coach Spurrier got on the phone and said that he wanted me," Hillary said. "He said that I really impressed him at summer camp, and that I had been on his mind ever since. I was surprised, listening there on the phone. I mean, this just came out of the blue. I knew they were always interested in me, I just didn't know how serious. When they offered, I jumped all over it... I had nothing else to think about."

According to Hillary, being offered by South Carolina and committing to the Gamecocks is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for him.

"I am so happy about it that I cried, I feel like I am on top of the world," Hillary said. "It has always been my dream to play for South Carolina, and now it has come true. Everyone is so happy for me, and I am so happy for me, too. This is the greatest thing to ever happen to me."

"South Carolina has always been my dream school because my uncle played there, and I have followed them ever since," he said. "It's always where I wanted to go. I don't think it could be any better. I'm firm in my commitment. I don't want to hear from nobody else."

After watching how the versatile Syvelle Newton performed in the Gamecock offense last fall, Hillary said he's excited about the way Spurrier plans to utilize his talents.

"They said they really liked me a lot," said Hillary. "Coach Spurrier said he plans to use me at quarterback. He loves my feet. He said I'm a guy that could diversify their quarterback situation, and maybe in a tough situation I could pull it down and get them seven or eight (yards) in a tight spot."

Hillary is not one to talk much about himself, but when asked to describe what strengths he brings to the football field, he said that leadership and the willingness to win are among his best qualities.

"I don't really like to critique myself, but I see myself as a great leader when it's my time to lead," said Hillary. "I just help my team win, and I'm a leader out there on the field and in the weight room. I do what it takes to win, and I'm a good leader."

The athletic signal-caller was in attendance at USC's home game against S.C. State last weekend, and he plans to be back for the Mississippi State contest next Saturday. According to Hillary, he has always loved South Carolina's game day atmosphere, and he can't wait to experience it as a player next fall.

"The atmosphere (at Williams Brice Stadium) is big time. It's always been where I wanted to play. It's always what I dreamed about, and now I'll get to do it."

When asked for his thoughts on how USC's 2007 season is going thus far, Hillary replied that he believes the Gamecocks are well on their way to contending for an SEC title.

"They're doing great, man. They just need to keep doing what they're doing. I think it's going to work out, and I think we can win the SEC this year. Gamecocks all the way."

The enthusiastic Hillary closed by asking that we pass on a message from him to the Gamecock Nation.

"Go Gamecocks!"

Hillary, who passed for 1,762 yards and 11 touchdowns and ran for another 752 yards and 10 scores as a junior last season, chose the Gamecocks over offers from Mississippi State, Michigan State, Appalachian State, Middle Tennessee State, East Carolina, Presbyterian and Coastal Carolina. He becomes USC's second quarterback commitment in the 2008 class, as Summerville (SC) signal-caller Reid McCollum pledged to the Gamecocks back in June.

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