Darrius Caldwell, a defensive end from Pearl River (Miss.) Junior College, had been waiting weeks for a call from South Carolina defensive line coach Deke Adams.

Caldwell had made it clear he wanted to play for the Gamecocks, but USC couldn’t offer him a scholarship until his transcripts from Pearl River checked out.

“I had told coach Adams if he made me the official offer I would commit on the spot. And when I got back to school he called and asked me if that still stands. I said yes,” Caldwell said. “I was probably more excited than he was.”

USC recruited Caldwell out of high school in Atlanta but he signed with Illinois. He spent two seasons there but left after a new coaching staff was hired.

He played at Pearl River last season and will have two years of eligibility at USC.

“They need a guy that’s ready to play and I would add a little more versatility to their defense in my playing style,” Caldwell said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to attend the university and play SEC football.”

Caldwell said he’s on track to graduate in May.

“I only need a few more credits to get out and I just have to take a few more classes here at the JC.”

Caldwell becomes the 18th commitment for USC’s 2014 class.