The South Carolina football team scored two big victories over the weekend. The Gamecocks beat Tennessee on the field Saturday and recorded a major recruiting victory over Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, and Miami on Sunday when Goose Creek offensive tackle Brandon Shell committed to USC.
Shell, the great nephew of Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Shell, is highly regarded by the Rivals and Scout websites. Rivals lists him as a four-star recruit, the No. 3 player in the state and No. 81 in the country. Scout gives Shell five stars and lists him as the No. 6 tackle in the country.
Prior to the season, Goose Creek coach Chuck Reedy said Shell is the best offensive line prospect in the state since Alex Barron played for Orangeburg-Wilkinson in the 1990s. Barron went on to earn All-America honors at Florida State and was a first-round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2005.
"He's had a great year so far," said Reedy, whose team is 10-0 heading into Thursday's home game (WMMP-TV, 7:30 p.m.) against Beaufort. "He's such a dominant blocker. We, as coaches, watch him on tape and we're in awe. We lead the state in scoring and rushing, and a lot of that is attributed to Brandon."
Shell, a 6-7, 290-pound senior, had indicated earlier this year that he would not announce his decision until National Signing Day, which is the first Wednesday in February.
"I was ready to make a decision, and once I was ready, I didn't want to put it off any longer," Shell said Monday. "South Carolina is a place I fit in. It's like family. I get along with all the players and coaches."
Shell has made numerous visits to USC and was on hand a few weeks ago when the Gamecocks stunned top-ranked Alabama.
"I was impressed with the way the Gamecocks played, but it wasn't the only factor," Shell said. "It showed they could beat a big-time team, and now I am ready to help them beat some more big-time teams."
Reedy was surprised but glad that Shell made his decision now.
"When we spoke last week, he didn't indicate he was ready to make a decision," Reedy said. "But he called me (Sunday) and said he was tired of all the phone calls. He doesn't like the attention, being in the spotlight. Now he can focus on football and being a senior."
Reach Philip M. Bowman at 937-5592.