Kelsey Griffin, who tried to commit to UGA a few weeks ago, pledged to South Carolina on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-1, 290-pound defensive tackle from Mill Creek High School picked South Carolina after making an unofficial visit to see the Gamecocks defeat UGA 35-7 this past weekend.
“He’s very relieved and excited,” Mill Creek coach Shannon Jarvis told the AJC. “It was always between South Carolina and Georgia for him. He feels blessed with how it all turned out. He was able to go the game this week, and meet with Coach [Steve Spurrier] on Sunday to finalize this.
“He’s excited about the opportunity to play at South Carolina. He’s built a great relationship with the coaches. Kelsey was high on their board. He was a priority for South Carolina. They’ve done an excellent job recruiting him. Kelsey is very relieved to get his recruiting over with, and ready to move on with our season.”
South Carolina landed a 4-star recruit who is ranked as the nation’s No. 5 defensive tackle by 247sports.com. He’s also ranked as the eighth-best overall prospect out of the state of Georgia by 247.
“For their scheme, he fits perfectly with the way they move their tackles,” Jarvis said. “They are a 4-3 based alignment, which is different than a lot of schools that run a 3-4. It will let him stay around the body weight he is right now. And if you look at his body type, it fits in exactly with what they do upfront defensively.
“I think Kelsey saw that first-hand on Saturday night. That was one of the first things he was impressed with, with how they move their defensive front. Because Kelsey, with his size, his quickness, and his ability to use his hands, those are things that are strengths for him and allow him to fit in well with that scheme.”
Tuesday’s commitment ended a strange few weeks in the recruiting world for Griffin.
On the morning of Sept. 22, Griffin sat with his parents in front of TV cameras and publicly committed to UGA. However, a few hours later, his coach stated to the AJC that he was not pledged to the Bulldogs.
Apparently, Griffin made a commitment that UGA was not ready or willing to accept.
“I did not affirm my commitment,” Griffin said at the time. “For right now, that’s all I have to say. It wasn’t confirmed. It wasn’t official. So right now, I’m uncommitted.”
On Tuesday, Griffin’s coach told the AJC, “I had different schools from across the Southeast calling me after the Georgia thing, trying to line up visits and all. But Kelsey didn’t want to open up the recruiting process again. He wanted to focus on South Carolina and go to the game there.
“From that game, he needed to come home and finalize some things with his parents. Once he talked with them this week, he was ready to make the decision to and move forward.”
Was UGA still interested in Griffin? “Not that I know of,” Jarvis said. “They did not contact me, so I don’t really know that answer. I have not talked to Georgia for three weeks now.”
Was there any disappointment that it did not work out with UGA? “No, I think Kelsey feels blessed with the opportunity at South Carolina. He really hasn’t looked back at the other thing. He’s excited about South Carolina. They were always in his top two. With Georgia, I wouldn’t … I wouldn’t … well, I’m just going to leave it at that. He’s very happy about South Carolina.”
After signing 12 recruits from Georgia last season, South Carolina is having another banner recruiting year in the state. The Gamecocks have 21 commitments for their 2013 recruiting class, including nine from Georgia, led by Kell High School defensive back Brendan Langley.
Meanwhile, UGA has 27 commitments and appears to be holding two spots along the defensive line for Dooly County’s Montravius Adams and Toby Johnson of Hutchinson junior college.
WE’RE LESS THAN FOUR MONTHS AWAY FROM SIGNING DAY
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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