Coach: South Carolina best fit for Brent

The South Carolina Gamecocks kicked off their 2011 recruiting efforts in a big way Wednesday morning when Marvin Ridge HS (Waxhaw, N.C.) WR K.J. Brent became the Gamecocks first public pledge of the recruiting cycle. Just what type of player and person are the Gamecocks getting? Look inside as Marvin Ridge head football coach Scott Chadwick goes in-depth about his star pupil.

Marvin Ridge head football coach Scott Chadwick admits that K.J. Brent's early commitment to South Carolina was a bit of a surprise to him, but in the end, he says there wasn't much of a reason to wait any longer.

"I'll be honest, it caught me a little off guard that he committed this early," Chadwick said, "because he doesn't have a lot of offers. Him and his family have done their research on the programs, have done their research on the schools. It ultimately just came down to, I think from a football standpoint particularly, he was comfortable there."

The 6-4, 180-pound Brent, who chose South Carolina over tenders from North Carolina, NC State, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky and ECU among others, has found great comfort on the football field at Marvin Ridge as well. After breaking his tibia and fibula in the first fall scrimmage of his sophomore season, Brent burst onto the scene as a junior to grab 47 passes for 737 yards and eight touchdowns.

"From a football standpoint, he's a 6-4, 180-pound receiver who has mastered the ability to use his size," Chadwick says. "He runs great routes. He catches everything. He'll catch the routine balls, all of them, then he'll go out and make a spectacular catch as well. [He] has tremendous body control, just used his frame, uses his size.

"I think it'd be hard to find anybody in the country better in the red zone. If you look at his film you'll see all kinds of one-handed catches. You'll see him going up in the end zone amongst defenders and making catches. He's a pretty special athlete."

What he brings to Marvin Ridge extends well beyond the football program as well.

"He's a great kid, great young man," Chadwick says. "[He] comes from a great family. Academically, he's well over a 3.0 student. From that respect, he brings a lot of character to our program."

Brent uses his "smarts" to his advantage on the football field as well. Chadwick says that's one of the many things South Carolina likes about his star player.

"One of the things that they like about K.J -- And we move him around to different positions [too], we have to do that because at our level we only have one K.J. on the team -- But that was one of the things that they really liked, that he can play the different receiver positions, that he's smart enough to learn those positions."

Chadwick says that the South Carolina coaches never allowed Brent to wonder how much they liked him as a prospect. Brent's recruiter of record, running backs coach Jay Graham, never left any doubt that Brent was one of the Gamecocks' top priorities.

"Coach Graham was by quite often during the fall, and just really worked hard to develop a relationship with both myself and with K.J," Chadwick says. "Obviously, he can't call K.J., so he called me often. K.J. has been down there a few times to visit, so those guys, I think the staff has worked really hard recruiting him. K.J. really felt wanted there. And Coach Graham, he worked really hard at it."

It may be fitting that Brent is the first commitment of the Gamecocks' class of 2011 as the North Carolina prospect's pledge could be a sign of things to come. Chadwick believes more recruiting success in the greater Charlotte area could be on the horizon for Graham and the Gamecocks.

"I definitely think with Coach Graham, he's from the Charlotte area, he's got some pretty good contacts here," Chadwick says. "And I really see them really making a bigger push here in the Charlotte area, because with the possible exception of, depending on where your school is, Wake Forest may be closer, but other than that, in most areas of Charlotte, South Carolina is the closest major division 1 school. I definitely see them making that more of a point of emphasis, and I'm sure they're going to be successful."

Just as they were with Brent. The early commitment may have caught Chadwick off guard, but was there really any reason for Brent to wait?

"I [also] think a big part of it was he wanted to play in the SEC. He had a couple of other SEC offers, but he developed a really good relationship with Coach Graham and Coach Spurrier, Jr.," Chadwick said. "I think he really just feels like this was the best fit for him, and really nothing was going to change that. I think he figured if nothing was going to change it, then there really wasn't any point in delaying it."

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