|USC Legends News|
Timing is everything for USC quarterback recruit
That’s why he has the watch. The tall, tan and athletic McCollum might be the future quarterback at South Carolina, but what fascinates a visitor is his strange-looking watch.
It keeps time, sure. But most importantly for McCollum, it keeps track of the ocean tides.
“I don’t really have much time,” he said. “So when I do have time, I want to make sure it’s worth it.”
McCollum’s future is a little more landlocked. The Summerville High junior recently committed to play at South Carolina, becoming the first in-state quarterback to commit to coach Steve Spurrier at USC. (Spurrier is restricted by NCAA rules from commenting on a recruit until he signs a letter of intent.)
The Gamecocks are getting a kid who could run the gamut of stereotypes: jock quarterback, surfer dude, fishing buddy. McCollum partakes in all those activities.
He claims he doesn’t fit any of those characterizations. But he likes this one: the football player who is stepping out of A.J. Green’s shadow.
Green is Summerville’s star receiver, a Georgia commitment and one of the nation’s top prospects, who has been featured in Sports Illustrated.
So when McCollum put up huge passing numbers last year (2,787 yards and 25 touchdowns), detractors could point out that a lot of that had to do with being able to throw to Green.
But McCollum proved his worth this spring at individual workouts, including the Elite 11 camp. National recruiting service Rivals.com has him ranked No. 12 among quarterbacks nationally.
“He stands on his own as a quarterback prospect,” Rivals.com analyst J.C. Shurburtt said. “He’s not a guy who’s a product of his system or just because of A.J. Green.”
Summerville coach John McKissick, who has coached at the school since 1952, said McCollum has the best arm of any quarterback he has coached. Listed at 6-foot-5, McCollum is also the kind of drop-back, quick-release quarterback who fits Spurrier’s offensive system.
South Carolina was the first school to offer McCollum a scholarship. But this was no case of a player jumping at his first offer.
McCollum and his father, Dennis, have had Gamecocks season tickets for as long as the son can remember. So when the offer came, the response was quick, and McCollum only realized later he was Spurrier’s first in-state quarterback.
“I guess it’s pretty special,” McCollum said. “But he brings in the best. So I feel like I’m lucky to be in this situation right now, and I’m hoping to take advantage of it.”
This does set up a potentially long six months for him. He plans to graduate early in December in order to go through spring practice at USC. Until then, the many Charleston-area Gamecocks fans will have the chance to gaze at him as their potential future quarterback.
“It’s already starting to get a little crazy,” McCollum said. “But I’m prepared for it.”
He also gets plenty of questions about Green, whom fans hope will reconsider his college choice now that his quarterback is headed to USC. But while McCollum said he and Green are close, he said he wouldn’t try to talk the receiver out of his commitment.
“He’s always been a Georgia fan, and to go there has always been a dream for him, so I’m just pretty happy for him,” McCollum said.
And McCollum is following his own dream to South Carolina. Even if that means his surfing career will take a hit.
“He’s an intelligent guy, and all the kids look up to him,” McKissick said. “He’s working real hard. I think he’ll make South Carolina proud of what he’s assigned to do.”
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