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By Derrick Mahone
Lovejoy defensive back Rico McWilliams is not worried about the schools that didn't recruit him, but is thrilled that South Carolina did show an interest.
Late Thursday, McWilliams gave a verbal commitment to attend the Columbia, S.C., based SEC school. The 6-foot, 170-pound rising senior picked the defending SEC East Division champions among his 18 offers. He list Nebraska, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, South Florida and Purdue as his finalist.
"It just felt like it was the right situation and environment for me," McWilliams said. "The coaches really took their time with me and my family when I visited. We made a good connection. It felt like home."
McWilliams becomes the second player from the Southern Crescent to made a verbal commitment to a college. Earlier this spring, Union Grove's D.J. White committed to South Florida.
Verbal commitments are non-binding and players have the right to change their mind on their college choice. National Signing Day is Feb. 1 of next year.
Since the spring, McWilliams has taken visits to USF, Clemson, Wake Forest and Vandy. He said he might take a couple official visits, but wasn't sure yet.
Will he change his mind on a college choice?
"I'm a Gamecock," he said via cellphone Friday evening.
McWilliams will likely play cornerback for South Carolina, but may also get a look at safety.
He said he spoke with in-state schools Georgia Tech and Georgia only a "couple of" times, but no offers were made. A Louisiana native, McWilliams said he wasn't too disappointed that Tech and Georgia didn't recruit him harder.
However, he did say that he was a little disappointed that his former hometown school - LSU didn't make an offer.
"I guess I will just have to show them what they will be missing," said McWilliams, who sports a 3.26 grade-point average.
As Lovejoy clinched the Region 4-AAAA championship last fall, McWilliams was sidelined five games with a leg injury, including the Wildcats playoff loss to Glynn Academy.
Despite not participating in contact work during the spring, McWilliams constantly received scholarship offers. He has since been release and said he is looking forward to the upcoming season.
"Not doing much during the spring really didn't matter," McWilliams said. "Most coaches knew what I could do because of the season. I could have practiced during the spring, but the coaches decided it was best that I didn't get in there. I don't think it hurt at all."