Bryant headlines 2013 signing class

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Larenz Bryant had been waiting for this moment for quite a while. On Wednesday the recruiting process officially came to a close as he signed his National Letter of Intent to play football at South Carolina.

For Bryant, the past few years had been about making the right decision but it was an opportunity that he was proud to have.

“For two years I have been contemplating about which school I wanted to go to and now it is over,” Bryant told on Wednesday afternoon at a signing ceremony at Vance High School. “I have put my life in South Carolina’s hands and it is a blessed experience that a lot of kids can’t say they signed with a school, have it posted on the internet and have camera’s around so I am pretty blessed.”

In this day and age of recruiting, just committing to a school does not necessarily end the process for the prospects. Coaches will continue to work, recruiting prospects in order to get them to go back on their word and switch their commitment. With Bryant, things were no different but he never wavered in his pledge to the Gamecocks.

“I guess that is just the process of recruiting,” Bryant said. “It is never over until you sign that dotted line but once I was really sure about South Carolina and my commitment, I stopped answering the phone or told coaches I was committed. I would tell them I was thankful for the opportunity to be recruited by them but I was committed to South Carolina.”

Bryant chose the Gamecocks over offers from Georgia, Alabama, Florida and nearly every other major program on the east coast. Being a native of Charleston did not hurt nor did it hurt that former coach Jay Graham had introduced the Gamecocks to Bryant a while back. Still it was not a lock that Bryant would end up in Columbia until he sat down with his mother, Stephanie Bryant, and explained to her why the Gamecocks were his choice.

“I sat down and talked to my mom one day and told her what they have for me,” Bryant said. “The communications major is pretty high in the nation. I feel comfortable every time I went to visit, my family is close, it is the SEC and with the linebackers leaving I felt I could get on the field. I just felt comfortable with every phase and that was the moment I knew.”

The 6-foot-2, 215 pound linebacker played running back and middle linebacker for his high school this past season. When he arrives in Columbia in June he will likely transition to the outside or weakside linebacker position. According to Bryant, the small change in positions will not be difficult.

“It is going to be kind of easy for me,” Bryant said. “It is not going to be a big difference at all, that is what linebackers do. Make plays, so inside or outside it is not going to make much of a difference, just make plays. With Coach Botkin and Coach Ward coaching me I don’t think it will be that hard.”

For Bryant another big reason the Gamecocks were able to land his services was the bond that he built with linebacker coach Kirk Botkin. Even though Shawn Elliott was the recruiter of record, Botkin developed a friendship with his future position coach and looks forward to learning from him.

“There is not a lot of Coach Botkin’s in this world,” he said. “He is a wonderful man and I look forward to his teachings about the linebacker position. He is energetic and you have to work hard with the way he coaches.”

Bryant is rated as a four star prospect with an overall grade of 96 by 247Sports. He plans to enroll at South Carolina in June and said that he will wear the number 23 next season.

Story by William Gunter, photos by Ryan Bethea

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