Gamecocks keeping tabs on in-state speedster

With cornerbacks Carlos Thomas and Stoney Woodson exhausting their eligibility after this year, and All-SEC junior cornerback Captain Munnerlyn a possibility to leave for the NFL draft, the Gamecocks will need a couple of talented corners in this class to continue their recent tradition of great play in the secondary. The USC coaches may not have to look far to find what they're looking for.

Greenwood (SC) standout cornerback Byron Best, a 5'9", 180 pound speedster, only holds offers from North Carolina and Marshall at this point, but don't let the lack of other offers fool you. Many schools, including South Carolina are just waiting on Best's test scores to come in.

"Carolina is just waiting on the SAT," Best said. "A lot of schools are just waiting on my scores. Carolina has been keeping in touch. Some people that work up there have been keeping in touch with me. It should be coming in soon, either this week or hopefully next week."

Best may be patiently waiting on his test score to show the schools, but the Greenwood cover-corner has already shown what he can do on the field. Best turned in an impressive 4.37 second forty-yard dash on a slow surface at the recent Charlotte Under Armour Combine. Despite turning in one of the best times of the event, Best remains humble about his abilities.

"I ran a 4.37 forty. I normally run a 4.3, but that was hand-timed. When I think about a 4.3 hand-timed, it's about a 4.4 electronic. It's a whole different ball game when you're on that laser. I prayed about it. I gave my ability to Christ, and he led me to a good forty."

Best also turned in a 38-inch vertical at the event. That raw athleticism has grabbed the attention of schools like South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Clemson, NC State, Michigan and Georgia Tech.

The lock-down corner described how he would feel if he does eventually earn an offer from the Gamecocks or some of those other programs.

"I would be very ecstatic (with a South Carolina offer), but I would just continue to weigh my options. I mean I like Carolina, but there are a lot of other school I have interest in, too. Georgia Tech, I really like them a lot. Georgia, I like a lot of teams. Tennessee would be the team I'm really liking right now. But there's a lot of other good school that I have interest in."

While Best is still wide open, he did have positive things to say about the Gamecocks and how they handle their student-athletes.

"I like Carolina, not because of their athletics. They care about you. They'll work with you. They'll do their best to try and get you in school. They'll do their best to try and take care of their players. And there's a lot of other schools I could say that about, too."

Best has been to camps at Georgia and South Carolina, and also plans to be back in Columbia July 18 with his Greenwood teammates for another Carolina camp.

With Best and teammates Sam Montgomery, D.J. Swearinger and Kelcy Quarles being recruited by many of the same programs, Best says they won't necessarily play together at the next level, but he can't rule out the possibility either.

"We've talked about that a couple of times. But you know, who knows? We're going to go where our hearts are. If we want to be together, we do. If we don't, we don't, but that won't change our relationship."

For now Best and his teammates are just focusing on getting ready for the upcoming season. Best says he and his teammates look up to Greenwood head coach Shell Dula, and he has done his best to keep the talented group of players focused on the task at hand.

"He just tells us that this decision we're making to go to the next level is very important, but he also tells us don't forget about this year (and) what we're going for.

"Not just don't let this recruiting thing knock us off track, but also to continue to work hard and get better. Not for just college, but for our team, and looking forward to going to that Death Valley this year. You know, giving it all out not just for one individual, but for everybody on the team."

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