2010 California QB Interested in Carolina

One of the South Carolina Gamecocks top priorities for the 2010 class is landing a top-flight quarterback. While the Gamecocks have shown interest in multiple west coast 2010 QBs, it isn't often, that a west coast recruit selects a school that is located literally on the other side of the country. Read inside to find out about one QB who may be different in that aspect.

6'2", 208-pound Santiago HS (Corona, Calif.) quarterback Brandon Connette has a list of schools interested in him similar to that of any top-flight California QB. That list includes UCLA, Boise State, Arizona and South Carolina.

One of the above does not belong. While the strong-armed QB has been busy turning heads throwing darts in Southern California, he hasn't forgotten his Carolina roots.

"My mom went to the University of South Carolina," Connette said proudly. "And all my family lives out on the east coast too."

"That definitely helps (South Carolina's chances)," he continued. "I've been down there, and I practically grew up down there, so it makes it more comfortable for me if I were to go down there."

And Connette may get the chance to go about anywhere he wants before it's all over with. The cool-headed prospect can make all the throws according to his former coach Steve Mitchell.

"I've had few kids in my career who can throw an 18-yard comeback route on a frozen rope," said Mitchell to the Los Angeles Times . "His is a frozen rope. That's what separates the good from the great. If you can throw that route, you can play at this level and the next."

But Connette's game isn't all brawn. In his first year as a starter at Santiago, as a junior, Connette impressed his coach in more ways than one.

"I like his decision-making process," Mitchell said. "He's got a very good grasp of what we're doing. He's a great leader. He's had a strong impact on the entire club. The quarterback position requires so much thinking, and to have that intellectual ability only adds to our ability to add more stuff to the offense."

Connette will be using that intellectual ability to make a different type of decision in the not-so-distant future. That decision could come down to location more than anything else. While recruiting can change by the second, at the time two up-and-coming programs, literally on opposite sides of the country, currently stand out in the race for his services.

"There's not a leader; there's a tie right now," Connette says. "Right now, it's really between UCLA and South Carolina."

Connette broke down what he likes about each program:

South Carolina: "What I like about the South Carolina program is where it's headed, and I've always liked Spurrier. I like him for what he's done at Florida, and for more of the spread offense that they're moving towards. So, that really attracts my attention. I love (the state of) South Carolina. I love being down there. I just like the place."

UCLA: "I like the education that UCLA has to offer. They have certain areas there that aren't at other colleges. I like what (Coach Rick) Neuheisel has done there. I went to a couple of UCLA games. I've talked with (offensive coordinator Norm) Chow, and I really like Chow. He is a mastermind with the offense. I really like what UCLA has done, too. And I like their talent. I have personally played with some of the guys that UCLA is recruiting, so I've gotten to see what's going to UCLA."

The kid who grew up in the mountains of Boone, NC is no stranger to the work of USC head coach Steve Spurrier. While he hasn't spoken to Spurrier yet, he has done his homework on the current state of the South Carolina program. He is interested in some of the tweaks that new quarterbacks coach GA Mangus and running game coordinator Eric Wolford will potentially be making to better accommodate a mobile QB.

Connette shared his thoughts on the offense each programs runs, and in the process provided a glance at what type quarterback he seems himself as.

"Whenever I'm on the field I kind of feel like I have everything under control. Everything always happens right. Everything happens as planned. I really don't feel anything unexpected ever happens on the field. As far as that, I'm never caught off guard; I'm always seeing the field clearly. And just for UCLA, I think I sort of fit into South Carolina's offense a little bit better, cause it's a little bit more spread (oriented) and they give the quarterback a little bit more opportunity to run. I like to use my feet sometimes and make plays happen and extend plays. UCLA, I like the offense too. I like just being able to sit in the pocket too, but USC definitely gives me a little more opportunity to unwind my legs a little bit."

No matter which offense he plays in, Connette knows the importance of knowing the offense completely. Most of what he has accomplished so far has been due to raw talent.

"With the offense we had last year we didn't really have that kind of offense. We didn't really have a quarterbacks coach at my high school who could walk through the reads with me. I was sort of making my own reads out there. It was sort of tough last year, because we didn't have a quarterback coach. But I would rather know the offense and completely grasp it, know the reads and where the ball is supposed to be. But I haven't gotten to work with that yet, because I didn't have the coaching staff to do that."

Most of the contact by the South Carolina coaching staff has been by Cedric Williams. Connette has been happy with Williams and his overall knowledge of the South Carolina program.

"I like him; I like his attitude and stuff," Connette said. "He's able to answer a bunch of my questions."

So, with the recent trend of quarterbacks committing earlier and earlier in the process, does Connette see himself as an early commitment possibility?

"I've thought about it a little bit," Connette says. "I want to wait, but I don't want to wait too long and stuff. My timetable is probably between May and June."

Connette says if one of his two top programs offered, then he would consider speeding up that process.

"There's some colleges who if they offered, I wouldn't put as much thought into it or anything," he said. "But if South Carolina did offer, then it's them and UCLA going down to a lot of thought. It would really boil down to the basics. UCLA and South Carolina would be the only schools that I would even consider committing to earlier than May or June."

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