Gamecocks chasing Peach State DE

South Carolina Secondary Coach Ron Cooper has a history of identifying emerging sleeper prospects that turn out to be real gems on the football field, and this year promises to be no different. One such player in this year's class is likely Chamblee (GA) star defensive end Taylor Loftley, who visited USC this past weekend and had a very good experience in Columbia. Read inside for all the details.

The 6'2", 250 pound Loftley, who possesses excellent athleticism and a strong motor off the edge, has quite a few scholarship offers to his credit, including a tender from the Gamecocks, who were one of the first schools to jump into the mix for his services

"I've got offers from Duke, Stanford, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, UAB, Tulane, Middle Tennessee, Ohio, and a few others. That's most of them." said Loftley. "I went to South Carolina this past weekend for the Vanderbilt game, and I went to Vanderbilt the weekend before that for the Georgia game."

According to Loftley, he enjoyed taking in his first South Carolina football game over the weekend, despite the Gamecocks being upset by Vanderbilt.

"I really enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun. I got to meet all the coaches and talk to some of the current players and some of the players that are committed to play there next year. It was very interesting. I had a good time."

Following his trip to Columbia, Loftley said that three teams currently stand out to him in the recruiting process.

"Right now I'd say South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Duke stand out. I don't have an individual favorite right now. I'm just planning to take more visits and talk with the coaches and stuff."

Loftley, who runs a 4.7 second forty yard dash, shared what he likes about each of his three favorite schools:

South Carolina - "I really like their coaching staff up there, not just Coach Spurrier but all of the coaches. I like the players, and I really like the fans and the fan support they have. I just really think that it's a good school and a good fit for me."

Vanderbilt - "They're trying to definitely win. A lot of the games they've lost have been close games. I think their football program is getting better year by year, and they're really trying to be a contender."

Duke - "It's some of the same things as Vanderbilt. They're trying to get a lot better and recruit better players than they have in years past. They have good academics and everybody's real close up there. I really like that about them."

The Peach State standout is unsure of when he'll make a decision on his college choice, but he does know what factors he'll be looking for when the time comes to commit.

"I'll probably just choose the school that I feel the most comfortable at and the place where I can see myself going for four or maybe five years of my life. That's probably the biggest thing. I don't have a timeframe right now, but once I decide I'll definitely make a decision. I'm trying to focus on my senior season right now, though."

Loftley plays for one of the top 3A high school programs in Georgia, and both he and his team are off to excellent starts this fall.

"We're doing really good. We're 7-0 now, and we're ranked in the state and everything. We're doing real good, and we're trying to keep it up. I've been doing good. I don't know my exact stats, because I haven't really been keeping up with them this year like years past, but I try to do my part in the game. I probably average about 6 or 7 tackles a game, and I probably have like 4 sacks and an interception. This year we're really focusing a lot on team defense because we have a lot of good players on our defense. There's a lot of people getting to the ball, and we're doing really good this year."

When asked to describe what strengths he brings to the football field, Loftley replied that he has a natural ability to get to the football, and he shared one player on the college level that he models his game after.

"I believe I have a lot of quickness, and I'm good with using my hands. Basically I've got a good sense of where the ball is," said Loftley. "On the college level, one person that I really look up to is #40 for South Carolina, Eric Norwood. I just really like how he plays. I think he might be a little undersized, but he definitely plays big and he makes plays. He definitely makes plays. I just really like how he plays physically."

In his junior season, Loftley totaled 97 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 7 sacks and 4 fumble recoveries.

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