Jeffery talks G&B Game, names favorites
DaMario Jeffery, who measures in at a solid 6'3" and 215 pounds, is rated by Scout.com as the no. 4 weakside linebacker prospect in America this recruiting year, but the home-state Gamecocks are recruiting the elite defender at his preferred position of safety. Jeffery has visited South Carolina several times in recent months, and he made a return trip to take in USC's spring finale on Saturday afternoon.
"I went to their spring game yesterday. It was a really nice day overall. Everything was good," said Jeffery. "I got a chance to talk with defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson, I watched the game, and I mingled with a couple players."
According to Jeffery, he was impressed with the atmosphere at the game, and he also enjoyed watching the secondary make several plays on the day.
"It was a good atmosphere. There were about 30,000 fans there. That's good for a spring game," he said. "I liked the game overall. I thought the defense played well, especially the secondary. They picked off several passes. That shows that they're coaching their DB's well so they can cover a guy and also have good enough hands to make the interception."
The local standout also had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with new defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson while on campus.
"I talked with Coach Johnson for a while. We didn't really talk about football that much. He was telling me how his wife graduated from Columbia High - the school that I go to - and I think that he graduated from Columbia High too. He was telling me about how the stadium and everything hasn't changed much since he was there."
Jeffery has been a fixture at many of USC's spring practices over the last month, along with teammate and Gamecock commitment Chris Payne, and he said he's enjoyed watching Coach Ron Cooper work with the defensive backs throughout the spring.
"I've been going to see how they coach their players and how college DB's work out. I've mainly been looking at that and the things they do so I can start on those things."
While he's still admittedly early in the recruiting process, Jeffery said that two schools have begun to emerge as the frontrunners for his services.
"I like South Carolina and Alabama right now, but I'm still going to look at a lot of other schools. They're my favorites right now."
Jeffery discussed what stands out to him about each of his two early favorites:
South Carolina - "South Carolina's a nice school. I like that they're pushing to get better in a lot of areas. Instead of just trying to recruit the best players, they're building a nice academic facility and they're upgrading their training room. I like that they're trying to do things like that. Plus Chris Payne gets on me pretty hard about us playing together."
Alabama - "I visited them about a month ago. Alabama's a nice place, and they have Nick Saban as a head coach. Who wouldn't want to play for him?"
Jeffery said early in the process that he planned on waiting until next February before making a commitment, but he's now leaving the door open for an earlier decision once he takes his official visits.
"I really can't say when I'll make a commitment. If I take all my visits, and I feel like it's time to make a decision then I'll make it. But I don't really have a timeframe," he said. "When I make (my commitment), I'll look at the coaching staff, the academics, the winning tradition, and the chances of me playing early."
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