The big thing that separates the Southeastern Conference from the rest of the college football world is the league's ability to produce outstanding defensive linemen. They are big, fast, quick, agile and physical. And, they are in demand.
The SEC produced 50 defensive linemen who played in the NFL in 2012, according to The Associated Press, and no other conference came close. The position has helped the SEC dominate college football during the BCS era. Three players who were the epitome of an SEC defensive lineman: Georgia's David Pollack, Florida's Carlos Dunlap and South Carolina's Jadaveon Clowney.
Only time will tell, but Goose Creek's Javon Kinlaw has the size, speed and potential to be great. The 6-7, 265-pound sophomore has so much potential that South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier offered him a scholarship this week.
"It will be his first offer," Goose Creek coach Chuck Reedy said Wednesday. "But it won't be his last."
Kinlaw was flattered by the offer but didn't commit just yet.
Kinlaw is new to football. Reedy said this was his first year on the gridiron.
"We just threw him in there," Reedy said. "But there were times when you could just see it. He has a tremendous upside."
He also is new to the recruiting game. But he knows anything can happen between now and National Signing Day 2016. He must be drawn to the weight room, avoid injuries and hit the books as hard as he does the blocking sled.
"Playing football has been a dream," Kinlaw said. "I've always wanted to play in the NFL. Now, I have to work hard because I have a chance to go to college for free. If I had to pay for it, I don't think I could get there. My main focus is academics."
Kinlaw is listed as an offensive and defensive lineman. His future seems to be on the defensive side of the ball. He logged 40 tackles his sophomore season for the Gators with two sacks and three pass deflections. He could be an end or a tackle.
He was nearly 300 pounds, but has lost more than 30 pounds.
"He'll put the weight back on," Reedy said. "But he will do it the right way, with muscle and not fat. I think one of the things that impressed coach Spurrier is how much better Javon moves now that he's lost weight."
Kinlaw also is on the Goose Creek basketball team. He grabbed six rebounds against West Ashley on Tuesday night.
"He has come a long way," basketball coach Blake Hall said. "He is still learning the game."
The Gators play Wando Friday in a matchup of top 10 teams, and Kinlaw hopes the Gators will fare well the rest of the season and make a return trip the state championship game.
After basketball season ends, college football coaches will make their annual spring pilgrimages to high schools, and Goose Creek has been a prime stop in recent years. The coaches won't be allowed to talk to Kinlaw, but he obviously will be on their radar. That's when the recruitment of Kinlaw should begin to go full throttle.
"I just don't want to get too hyped up on the recruiting," Kinlaw said. "I have the potential, but there's a long way to go."