Tar Heel State DL commits to USC

South Carolina picked up its eighth commitment of the 2010 recruiting class on Thursday when Parkland (Winston Salem, NC) standout defensive tackle Jalen "J.T." Surratt gave his pledge to USC coaches Jay Graham and Brad Lawing. Read inside for this FREE article as GamecockAnthem.com talks in-depth with Carolina's newest commitment.

Surratt, who measured in recently at 6-2.5 and 289 pounds, may be a new name to many on the recruiting scene, but he is not a new name to college coaches or opposing high schools in the Winston Salem area. The athletic defensive lineman recorded 107 tackles, 22 sacks, and 28 tackles for loss as a junior last season, making a name for himself as one of the top players in his area. College coaches took notice, as Surratt claims offers from NC State, Wake Forest, Louisville, Marshall, and East Carolina. He was also receiving interest from Boston College and Illinois.

So what was it that stood out to Surratt about South Carolina and helped him decide to commit to the Gamecocks this week? According to him, a recent trip to Columbia and his respect for the USC coaching staff sold him on being a Gamecock.

"I talked about it with my parents, and we agreed on the decision about South Carolina because I feel it's the best place for me. I loved it when I came down there on June 6th, and they let me know that I was a top priority for them in the recruiting process. That played a real big role," said Surratt. "The coaching really stood out to me. Coach (Brad) Lawing said some things that stuck with me when I went down there. I believe he'll probably be the smartest coach and the best coach for me. I like (my recruiter) Coach (Jay) Graham, he's real straight forward with me."

The emerging Tar Heel State defensive lineman said another factor that stood out to him about South Carolina is how the Gamecocks plan to use him in the defensive tackle rotation once he arrives.

"Coach Lawing told me after he watched my film, he immediately liked me. He thinks I'm a real good player and I can help them," he said. "He told me when I get there, the defensive tackles they have now are going to be seniors. Just by me coming in and watching how he coaches, I can get the feel of the coaching staff and get used to the way the school works and everything like that. He said by the time they're ready for me to play I'll be ready to go."

While Surratt plays defensive end in high school, his future on the college level is on the interior of the defensive line. With an impressive 4.78 second forty yard dash at his size and a history on the basketball floor which has helped him develop quick feet, he has the potential to be one of the more athletic defensive tackles in the SEC.

"I'm a pass rusher, and it's hard for running backs to get across the line against me," replied Surratt when asked about his strengths on the football field. "I just go hard every play."

Surratt, who becomes South Carolina's second defensive tackle commitment in this class along with Kelcy Quarles, closed by passing on a message for Gamecock Nation

"South Carolina is one of the best choices out there as far as schools and as far as coaching-wise. They'll help make you a good person and a good football player. I'm looking forward to going to that school and being a Gamecock."

In addition to being a stalwart on the gridiron, Surratt is the starting power forward for Parkland's basketball team, and he averaged an impressive 9 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 blocks per game last season.

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