Sutton expecting good news

Defensive end Chaz Sutton was one of the gems of South Carolina's 2008 signing class, but after not qualifying directly out of high school, the athletic defensive standout spent a semester at Fork Union Military Academy to work on getting his test scores up. With the start of the spring semester at USC on the horizon, Sutton is excited to announce that he expects to enroll at Carolina in January.

"I talked to Coach (Brad) Lawing, and he said everything is getting taken care of. He said I've done what I need to do. There's just certain things that need to go through the clearinghouse and that I should be OK," said an enthusiastic Sutton on Monday morning. "I should get the official word sometime by the end of the week or by the beginning of next week."

While Sutton certainly would have preferred to join the Gamecocks directly out of high school, he acknowledged that his time in the strict Fork Union environment helped him mature both on and off the football field.

"I've learned a lot about having a better academic approach with study habits and things like that," he said. "As far as football goes, I got to play against some of the better talent around that area like the guys from Hargrave. We also went to Kentucky and Maryland to play their JV squads. That kind of helped me become a better player - just playing more physical, going all out, and sacrificing in certain situations for the good of the team."

Sutton is now anxiously awaiting the opportunity to begin working out with the Gamecocks and to start going to classes at USC in the spring.

"I'm just ready to go in there and start working hard to get ready for spring football. I'm also looking forward to getting started in school and just getting ready to go with everything. I'm going to do everything I can to get ready to play. That's what I've been dreaming of since I was at Fork Union."

The versatile 6'4", 240 pound Sutton played a combination of both linebacker and defensive end while at Fork Union, and he says the Gamecock coaches are talking about him potentially playing both early in his USC career as well.

"I might be playing strictly defensive end my first year, but then again I might be playing that and standing up as a linebacker, like an Eric Norwood role," he noted. "I can play either one, but I think I'm stronger at defensive end."

Sutton said fellow South Carolina signee and Fork Union placement Ronald Byrd made a 21 on the ACT, and he anticipates him being able to join him at USC for the spring semester.

Now only a couple weeks away from officially enrolling at USC, Sutton closed by passing on an enthusiastic message for the Gamecock Nation.

"Just get ready. I'm coming!"

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