"I'm excited to be a Gamecock"

Callaway (Hogansville, GA) mammoth defensive end Ronald Byrd Jr. put an end to the recruiting process on Sunday morning when he committed to South Carolina at the conclusion of his official visit. Read inside for Byrd's comments on why he chose the Gamecocks, how USC plans to utilize his talents and much more.

Ronald Byrd, who measures in at an imposing 6'6" and 265 pounds, said he committed to South Carolina because he believes the Gamecocks are a program on the rise, and he's excited about the opportunity to play under a legendary coach like Steve Spurrier.

"I committed to South Carolina today," said Byrd. "One of the big things that stood out was how Coach Spurrier came to the school to meet me personally. South Carolina's a program on the rise. It's a program coming up, and I should be there when they reach their peek. I want to be a part of that. I'm done taking visits, and I'm excited to be a Gamecock."

While in Columbia, Byrd had the opportunity to meet with new USC Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder, and he was impressed with VanGorder's vision for the Gamecock defense and how the veteran coach plans to utilize him on the d-line.

"He told me they're going to have a Jaguar-based defense and do a lot of the same things the (Jacksonville) Jaguars do. He said the ends are really going to like it. He's real straight forward and to the point. He's all about football," said Byrd. "He told me to work hard and that he could see me on the defensive line real soon. I see myself as a d-end, but I'll play d-tackle too if that's where they want me to play."

Byrd was hosted on his official visit by current USC defensive end Eric Norwood, a fellow Georgia native, and he gave Byrd a good idea of what to expect when he enrolls at South Carolina over the summer.

"Eric Norwood was my host. He showed me around the city and told me about how their defense is run. He told me how intense their workouts are and how I need to be in shape and ready to work. He said (Coach Mark Smith) is going to push you in the weight room when you're conditioning."

When asked to give Gamecock fans a preview of what to expect from him when he suits up in the Garnet and Black, Byrd replied that he'll bring a combination of intensity and aggressive play to the gridiron in Columbia.

"I'm aggressive. I'm not content. I'm competitive. I go hard all the time."

Byrd, who was recruited by Coach Ron Cooper for the Gamecocks, closed by passing on an enthusiastic message for the Gamecock Nation.

"South Carolina is where it's at. It's the place to be."

The Peach State standout, who bench presses 295 pounds, power cleans 315 and squats 420, chose South Carolina over offers from major programs like Auburn, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Louisville, Purdue, Indiana and others.

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