USC in the hunt for Peach State DL

Flowery Branch (Ga.) 3-star defensive end Izaan Cross is one of the top defensive line prospects in the Peach State's class of 2009, and the run-stuffing DE has the offer list to prove it. Cross now has 15 tenders, including one from Shane Beamer and the South Carolina Gamecocks. Read inside to see where Carolina stands with the nation's No. 47 ranked defensive end.

The 6'4", 250-pound Cross now has offers from programs such as Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Louisville, Florida State, Maryland and UNC.

The active defender says that he believes all of the schools who have offered are recruiting him with about the same intensity.

"I would say everybody is pretty much keeping in contact with me the same," Cross said. "I always get one of those written letters every other day or every day coming in the mail. We can't really talk on the phone, but a lot of us keep in touch on e-mail."

Cross says he is wide open right now, but he does have a plan and a timetable for narrowing things down.

"I'm still kind of wide open," Cross said. "I think when school starts Friday night after football games I'm going to head straight out and try to catch a Saturday game. I think I'm going to do a lot of that this season. I play basketball, and after that I'm going to really hit the schools hard. I'm going to take my time to keep narrowing it down and narrowing it down."

Cross plans to take all five of his official visits. While he warned that the list could change by the day, he says if he had to decide right now that Georgia Tech, Maryland, Oklahoma, South Carolina and UCF would get a visit from him.

He described what he likes about each of those five programs.

Georgia Tech – "It's close to home - about 45 minutes from me. I play defensive end, and their defensive ends are leaving, so that might be a good chance for me to possibly, maybe get early playing time. I have a lot of friends and people that I know that go to that school, and one of the players (Jaybo Shaw) who went to school with me last year, the quarterback, he goes there now. Out of the offers I have that might be one of the better situations for me."

South Carolina – "They were probably my second or third offer that I had received. That's also not too far from home, and Coach Spurrier is a good coach. I follow him a lot. My dad knows a lot about him and things like that. I went to one of their spring practices, and I really liked how things went down that way when I went there."

Central Florida – "I'll tell you those guys are on the ball with recruiting. I probably talk to them every day. They're really cool guys. I went to Florida's spring game, but I drove down to Orlando right after that and ended up staying the night down there. I really like the coaches, and I could see myself hanging out with them a lot."

Maryland and Oklahoma – "Those two programs are two more of the top programs on my list. I haven't really been there or anything like that, but I just like those a lot and would like to get to know those schools more."

South Carolina cornerbacks coach Shane Beamer is recruiting Cross, and the enthusiastic young coach has made an impression on Cross.

"He's pretty cool," Cross said. "I've talked to him. I saw him first when we went for the spring practice. He seemed like a nice guy, and he showed my family a lot of love and things like that. Then when he came down for one of my spring practices, you know I really couldn't talk to him, but he made sure he waved at me. He seems like a good coach, a cool coach."

Cross says that he could wait the entire process to make a commitment or it could just come when the time feels right.

"I'm not so sure it won't be the day before Signing Day," Cross said only half joking. "I have no idea. When it happens; it'll just happen. When that school is in my head and I just know for sure, whenever that is that's when I'm going to just go with it."

Despite not knowing when he will make a commitment, the high-energy defender does know exactly what he is looking for in a school.

"Academics are definitely a big factor. I think I want to major in communications and business, so I would have to take a look into that. The coaching staff, the recent coaching history, the style of play on the defensive line and things like that (are all things I would look at). And a school that if something were to happen to me, I could still be happy with my decision, like if I were injured or something like that. I'm not going to just make my decision based on football; I have to look at all the other aspects of that school. I don't think that me being away from home too much is really a big factor, but I will take that into consideration."

To discuss this article, visit GamecockAnthem's premium forum - The Golden Spur.

Gamecock Anthem Top Stories