Gamecocks offer emerging Alabama LB

With three outside linebackers already committed in the 2009 recruiting class, South Carolina is still looking for an enforcer of the future at middle linebacker. Coach Ron Cooper has a proven history of finding hidden gems in the Yellowhammer State, and he recently extended an offer to a physical, hard-hitting player that fits that mold. Read inside for all the details.

The Gamecocks faced a double-edged sword last season when middle linebacker and team leader Jasper Brinkley went down with a season-ending LCL injury. The loss of Brinkley severely depleted the Gamecocks' 2007 run defense, but at the same time bolstered their 2008 defense by way of a medical waiver Brinkley was granted, allowing him to complete his eligibility this season. Inevitably, the Gamecocks will eventually have to replace the 6'2", 275-pound All-SEC playmaker.

One prospect who the Gamecocks hope could eventually fill that void in the middle is 5'11", 235-pound C.F. Vigor (Prichard, Ala.) linebacker/fullback Jalston Fowler. The imposing linebacker now has offers from South Carolina, Marshall, South Alabama and Arkansas State, but one team stands out above the other three.

"South Carolina is my leader," the Alabama prospect responded when asked who stood out at this time. "I like their head coach, Coach Steve Spurrier. He's a good coach, and I would like to play for him some day."

Fowler, who is friends with current Gamecock standout Captain Munnerlyn, says when he heard the news recently that South Carolina had offered, he considered committing on the spot.

"Oh, I was fixing to commit (after receiving the offer), but I figured ‘Nah, I'll just wait and see how many more offers I'll get.'"

South Carolina safeties coach Ron Cooper is recruiting Fowler for the Gamecocks, and the hard-nosed defender described some of Coopers' recruiting pitch.

"I think he's a good coach," Fowler said. "He says they're a good team, and he hasn't seen anybody with my size. He tells me how I would fit in there."

While Fowler looks like the ideal middle linebacker, he says the Gamecocks are offering him the chance to play on either side of the ball. "Coach Cooper says they're recruiting me as an athlete," Fowler said. "I could see myself playing on the offensive side of the ball at running back."

Fowler says he could commit sometime during his senior season. He plans to officially visit South Carolina sometime during his senior year as well, but says he doesn't have any desire to visit the other schools that have offered him. Fowler stated he could commit to the Gamecocks during his visit. Mississippi State and Alabama are two other SEC programs showing interest.

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