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Top Gamecock football recruit Jordan Burch leaves USC in the dark again

COLUMBIA — Seven weeks of wondering has perhaps created nearly two more months of wondering.

Is Jordan Burch committed to South Carolina or isn’t he?

The highest-rated recruit USC has landed since Jadeveon Clowney, Burch was supposed to finally turn the verbal commitment he made on Dec. 18 into a signed commitment on Wednesday. He again wore a USC ballcap at a signing ceremony, again gave no indication that he was considering picking another school.

And again USC could not confirm a signed letter-of-intent, which would have made it official. Burch, who refused all interviews in December and on Wednesday, was asked by The Post and Courier during his ceremony if he sent in his letter.

He replied, “Yes, sir.”

But as coach Will Muschamp — who was sitting 15 feet from Burch at Hammond School’s ceremony because his son, Jackson, was there to accept a preferred walk-on offer from Georgia — talked about the four additions to his signing class later Wednesday, he couldn’t discuss the fifth.

Because Burch’s letter is not at USC.

“No, we’re gonna be fine,” Muschamp replied when asked if there was any reason for concern about any verbal commits who hadn’t signed. He said the same in December.

He was also asked what might prevent a player from signing after verbally committing. Burch was not mentioned by name because coaches can't talk about recruits until they are officially signed with the school.

“I don’t know,” Muschamp said. “Got to ask them.”

National Signing Day not all about football for high school athletes across Lowcountry

Neither Burch nor his mother, Henri, will consent to interviews. Burch has never publicly wavered from his verbal pledge and even said Wednesday that he was looking forward to the next 3-4 years playing with his high school teammates. Hammond defensive tackle Alex Huntley and preferred walk-ons Fabian Goodman and Bradley Dunn have each signed with the Gamecocks.

Yet there’s no letter, although the signing period lasts until April 1.

The Gamecocks would feel a lot more comfortable if the letter was in hand and they could count on Burch bolstering the defensive line next year.

Burch, rated the No. 4 prospect in the country by ESPN, took his final official visit last weekend, at USC. It followed an official visit to national champion LSU.

He could be part of a strong addition to the class USC signed Wednesday. Junior college running back ZaQuandre White was the first to sign and USC also received a signature from wide receiver Ger-Cari Caldwell, a 6-4 prospect from Rock Hill’s Northwestern High.

The Gamecocks flipped Gilber Edmond, a linebacker from Florida, from his verbal commitment to USF. USC will officially add kicker Mitch Jeter and punter Kai Kroeger in the summer. Colorado State transfers Collin Hill and Adam Prentice are already enrolled.

There’s just the lingering mystery of why Burch hasn’t officially signed. He said in December he wanted to wait until Wednesday so he could sign alongside his teammates. He did that.

He signed a piece of paper, not the official letter. He re-Tweeted a message from Fox College Football that said he had officially signed with the Gamecocks. He did everything a USC commitment should have done.

Except send the letter.

SOUTH CAROLINA SIGNINGS

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (Last school)

Rashad Amos RB 6-0 213 Tyrone, Ga. (Sandy Creek)

Jaheim Bell ATH 6-2 207 Valdosta, Ga. (Valdosta)

Ger-Cari Caldwell WR 6-4 190 Rock Hill (Northwestern)

Luke Doty QB 6-1 185 Myrtle Beach (Myrtle Beach)

Gilber Edmond DE 6-4 215 Fort Pierce, Fla. (Westwood)

O’Donnell Fortune DB 6-1 172 Sumter (Sumter)

Tonka Hemingway DL 6-2 259 Conway (Conway)

Collin Hill QB 6-5 214 Moore (Colorado State)

Dominick Hill DB 6-0 188 Orlando (Jones)

Joey Hunter DB 6-0 197 Tyrone, Ga. (Sandy Creek)

Alex Huntley DL 6-3 288 Columbia (Hammond)

Trai Jones OL 6-2 276 Abbeville (Abbeville)

Mohamed Kaba LB 6-2 212 Clinton, N.C. (Clinton)

Vershon Lee OL 6-3 300 Woodbridge, Va. (Freedom)

MarShawn Lloyd RB 5-9 211 Middletown, Del. (DeMatha Catholic)

Rico Powers WR 6-1 183 Atlanta (Hapeville Charter)

Adam Prentice FB 6-0 236 Fresno, Calif. (Colorado State)

Makius Scott DL 6-3 306 Gainesville, Ga. (Gainesville)

Eric Shaw TE 6-4 205 Dadeville, Ala. (Reeltown)

Jazston Turnetine OL 6-6 337 Stockbridge, Ga. (Hutchinson CC)

Tyshawn Wannamaker OL 6-3 347 St. Matthews (Calhoun County)

ZaQuandre White RB 6-2 205 North Fort Myers, Fla. (Iowa Western CC)

Mike Wyman WR 6-2 188 Greensboro, N.C. (Dudley)

USC commits who have not signed

Jordan Burch DE 6-5 275 Columbia (Hammond)

Mitch Jeter PK 5-11 175 Concord, N.C. (Cannon School)

Kai Kroeger P 6-3 190 Lake Forest, Ill. (Lake Forest)

Preferred walk-ons

Bradley Dunn FB 5-11 225 Columbia (Hammond)

Brandon Edwards RB 5-10 185 Blythewood (Blythewood)

Fabian Goodman CB 5-10 165 Columbia (Hammond)

McKay Melnick RB 5-9 175 Bogart, Ga. (Prince Avenue Christian)

James Reedy OL 6-6 290 Columbia (Cardinal Newman)

Kamarah Reynolds-Hall CB 5-8 170 Columbia (Ridge View)

Hunter Rogers LS 6-1 185 Columbia (Spring Valley)

Jesse Sanders TE 6-4 200 Aiken (South Aiken)

Dylan Sebuck OL 6-5 290 Mount Pleasant (Oceanside Collegiate)

Chuck Strickland OL 6-3 270 Duncan (Byrnes)

Darryle Ware LB 6-2 220 North Charleston (Fort Dorchester)

Follow David Cloninger on Twitter @DCPandC.

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