Five Gamecocks Named Parade All-Americans

Stephon Gilmore may arguably be the most well-known Parade All-American in Gamecock Nation. But the former South Pointe High School football star is certainly not the only one in the Gamecocks' class of 2009. For the first time in school history, the University of South Carolina welcomes in five Parade All-Americans in the same academic year.

Gilmore, who enrolled to play football in January as an early graduate; Kelsey Bone and Ieasia Walker, who are part of Dawn Staley's women's basketball 2009 signing class; and Eric Martinez and Alex Long, both soccer signees, all earned spots on the teams for their respective sports.

Parade, a national Sunday newspaper magazine publication distributed in over 400 U.S. newspapers, features the nation's best high school athletes in football, boy's and girl's basketball, and boy's and girl's soccer each year in its All-America teams. The list is chosen by coaches, scouts and recruiters, among others, and is coordinated by Michael O'Shea.

Gilmore capped off a tremendous prep career by quarterbacking his South Pointe Stallions to a 15-0 season and Class AAAA Division II state championship by way of a 35-14 victory over archrival Northwestern in the final game. He rushed for 1,331 yards and 23 touchdowns and passed for 1,771 yards with 14 scores in the undefeated march to a title in just the school's third year of existence.

Named Mr. Football for the state of South Carolina, Gilmore also starred at quarterback in the 72nd Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. He was named Offensive MVP of the Sandlapper team after leading them to a come-from-behind 24-16 victory. He rushed for 71 yards and passed for 28 more.

Gilmore, who is from Rock Hill, S.C. was rated a five-star prospect and the No. 3 safety in the nation by

He was selected to the list as an All-Purpose player and was one of two players in the state selected for football, the other being West Florence standout and Clemson signee Malliciah Goodman.

"This is quite an honor, just like the others," Gilmore told The (Rock Hill) Herald in January. "But I'm happy the most for what our team accomplished this season. And I'm happy to be here in Columbia getting ready to start my college career."

The 6-2, 188-pound athlete chose the Gamecocks over programs like Alabama, Clemson, Tennessee and Florida. He enrolled at USC in January and quickly earned a spot as a first-team cornerback. He also became one of the players head coach Steve Spurrier seemed to like to brag about the most on his Carolina Now Gamecock Club tour. While likely a day-one starter at corner, the versatile athlete will also likely get some snaps on offense as a zone-read quarterback.

Bone, a 6-5 post player ranked the No. 2 prospect in the nation by most services, picked USC on national television at the McDonald's All-American Game. She was also named the 2009 McDonald's All-American Female Player of the Year, and was presented with the 2009 Morgan Wootten Award at the game. The award is given to the nation's top high school senior who demonstrates outstanding character, exhibits leadership and embodies the values of being a student-athlete in both her schoolwork and community affairs. Bone was also named to the 2008 USA Women's U18 National Team.This is her second year in a row as a first-team member of the Parade list.

"Kelsey is a program changer," USC women's basketball coach Dawn Staley said in a press release after Bone signed. "Every program in America would love to build their program around her. We are fortunate that she chose us, but this is the kind of challenge she is looking for. She could have easily gone to a higher profile program, but she chose us because she believes in the vision of our staff. That ability to see the bigger picture is what people here will love about her. At 17, she already has a pretty worldly vision."

Bone selected the Gamecocks over offers from programs like Texas, Texas A&M and Illinois.

Bone starred for Dulles High School in Stafford, Texas averaging 19.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots in her senior season. She averaged 17.0 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists during her four-year career.

Walker is rated as high as the No. 17 player in her class by Blue Star Basketball. The 5-7 point guard from Copiague High School in Copiague, N.Y. is rated the No. 21 guard in her class and a four-star prospect by She averaged 19.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 5.1 steals per game during her senior season. It is Walker's first appearance on the Parade list as she grabbed a spot on the third team.

Bone and Walker became the first ever USC women's basketball signees to make the list.

Martinez is a 6-2, 180-pound defender/mid-fielder from Fort Mill, S.C. who played at Providence Day High School in Charlotte, N.C. He was named to the U18 U.S. Men's National Team and NSCAA Adidas High School All-American Team. The North Carolina State High School Player of the Year, Martinez was also named one of the top 10 prospects in the nation by

"It's pretty cool looking at it when you're a kid and wishing to be on it one day, then getting to be on it when you get older," Martinez said in an interview with "All of the coaches I know pretty much told me it was the best list to be on so it feels pretty special too."

Martinez chose South Carolina over top programs like Clemson, UNC and UCLA.

Long, a 6-3, 200-pound goalkeeper who played at Green Hope High School in Cary N.C., also played on the U18 U.S. Men's National Team and was named to the NSCAA Adidas High School All-American Team. He chose the Gamecocks over offers from programs like Duke, N.C. State, Elon and Appalachian State.

Martinez and Long have crossed paths on multiple occasions as they played together on the North Carolina ODP team twice and went to region camp together twice. Long even credits Martinez as part of the reason he chose South Carolina.

"It's going to be awesome," he said of the two playing together. "I mean, I definitely play well with him and I'm very comfortable with him as my defender especially. I'm just really looking forward to it I guess."

Now they, along with Gilmore, Bone and Walker, will all continue their illustrious careers together at USC.

"It's certainly a great honor like you said and then some," Long said of being named to Parade's list. "It's really good knowing that I'm going to a school with other All-Americans too. And it just makes the school even bigger and more well-known."

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