USC jumps into the mix with Peach State LB

The linebacker position is a top priority for South Carolina in the 2009 recruiting class, and the Gamecocks recently jumped into the mix with one of the Peach State's best. Read inside as reports the latest.

Valdosta (GA) standout linebacker Mike Gilliard is considered by many to be one of the top linebackers in the southeast this recruiting year, and he has the offer list to back it up. With tenders already on the table from major programs like Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Miami and several others, a new school recently jumped into the mix for Gilliard's services that he plans to learn more about.

"My coach came to me last week and told me South Carolina is going to offer me. He said their coach looked at three plays of my highlight tape, turned it off, and said he wants to offer me," said the 6'3", 205 pound Gilliard. "I'm not real familiar with them, but ever since I was a kid I've been watching them on TV and stuff like that. I don't know too much about the program, but I'd like to learn more."

While the Gamecocks are now a factor with Gilliard, they have some ground to make up as three other programs currently sit atop the athletic linebacker's list of favorites.

"My top three right now is Georgia, Georgia Tech and Florida. I don't have an individual favorite, but I can't go wrong with any of them."

Gilliard, who totaled 112 tackles, 8 sacks and 2 interceptions as a junior last season, is remaining patient with the recruiting process, but he knows what factors he'll look for when the time comes to decide on his college choice.

"I really don't want to rush anything. I'll just make a decision whenever I feel comfortable and whenever I think it's the right time to do it," he said. "I'm really going to look for where I feel comfortable at because that's where I'm going to spend the next four or five years of my life. Basically how I feel around the players and coaches and stuff like that."

Gilliard said he plans to take several unofficial visits in the coming weeks, including trips to Georgia Tech, South Florida and Miami.

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