COLUMBIA, S.C. (January 14, 2008) – Head Coach Steve Spurrier announced the arrival of seven incoming freshmen to the Gamecock football squad as the spring semester classes got underway Monday on the University of South Carolina campus. The newcomers are Antonio Allen, Akeem Auguste, Eric Baker, Reid McCollum, Jay Spearman, Charles “C.C.” Whitlock and Shaquille Wilson. Allen, Auguste and Baker all signed with the Gamecocks last February but spent last fall at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, while the others are December high school graduates.
Allen, is a 6-2, 190-pound safety from Ocala, Fla. After his year at Fork Union, he was given a four-star rating and considered the 12th-best prep school prospect in the country by Rivals.com. As a high school senior in 2006, Allen earned first-team all-state honors after logging 126 tackles and four interceptions. He helped Trinity Catholic High School to a 13-1 season. As a junior, he logged 114 tackles and two interceptions. A high school teammate of current Gamecock wide
receiver Dion Lecorn, Allen was coached by former Florida quarterback Kerwin Bell. Coming out of high school, the consensus three-star prospect was considered the nation’s 42nd-best safety prospect and the 80th-best player in the state of Florida by Rivals.com. He was the 75th-best safety prospect in the nation according to Scout.com and was rated the 91stbest player in the state of Florida by SuperPrep.
Auguste is a 5-11, 180-pound cornerback from Hollywood, Fla. After his season at Fork Union, Auguste was given a four-star rating and considered the 23rd-best prep school prospect in the country by Rivals.com. He was credited with 114 tackles and 10 interceptions in his final two seasons at Chaminade-Madonna High School playing for coach Mark Guandolo. As a senior, he logged 54 tackles and three interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. He was credited with
60 tackles and seven picks along with four touchdowns in the return game as a junior. Auguste was ranked as the 28thbest player in the state of Florida and the 14th-best cornerback in the country by Rivals.com while earning a four-star rating out of high school. He was considered a four-star recruit and the 31st-best cornerback in the nation by Scout.com and was rated as the 41st-best player in Florida by SuperPrep.
Baker, a 5-11, 190-pound running back, spent the 2007 campaign at Fork Union where he rushed for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns despite battling a nagging ankle injury. He earned a four-star rating and was considered the ninth-best prep school prospect in the country by Rivals.com. Originally from Jacksonville, Baker led the state of Florida in rushing during his senior campaign of 2006 for coach Terry Gilliam. He rushed for over 1,500 yards in each of his final two seasons at Edward H. White High School, helping his team to a pair of state playoff appearances. He received a three-star rating, was considered the 41st-best running back in the nation and listed as the No. 70 player in the state of Florida by Rivals.com. He ranked as the 67th-best player in the state of Florida by SuperPrep and was a three-star prospect and the nation’s 49th-best running back by Scout.com. He also competed on the track & field team. He turned down offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Clemson, West Virginia, Louisville and Nebraska to sign with South Carolina.
McCollum is a 6-4, 195-pound quarterback from Summerville (S.C.) High School. Under the direction of legendary coach John McKissick, McCollum led Summerville to Class AAAA Division I state championship game as a senior. He played in the 71st annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. As a junior, he passed for nearly 3,000 yards and 25 touchdowns. He is rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, is considered the 12th-best player in the Palmetto State and the 29th best pro-style quarterback in the country by Rivals.com. He is a three-star prospect and the 52nd-best quarterback prospect in the nation
according to Scout.com. He was also recruited by Wake Forest, Duke and NC State among others, but cast his verbal lot with the Gamecocks in June.
Spearman is a six-foot, 187-pounder from Greenwood (S.C.) High School where he played for coach Shell Dula. After playing quarterback in high school, Spearman is expected to compete at defensive back for the Gamecocks, but could also be used at wide receiver. He racked up 1,300 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns while leading his Greenwood team to an 11-2 record as a senior. He played in the 71st annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas following the season. As a junior, he rushed for 1,111 yards and 17 touchdowns and threw for 1,108 yards and seven scores, helping Greenwood to the AAAA Division II state title. A three-star prospect, Rivals.com considers him the 58th best “athlete” in the country and the 13thbest
player in the state of South Carolina. Rivals.com ranks him as the 75th-best safety in the nation. He also considered Clemson, Maryland and Nebraska before selecting the Gamecocks. His uncle is former Gamecock Andray Spearman.
Whitlock is a 5-11, 172-pound athlete from Chester (S.C.) High School who is capable of playing multiple positions, including wide receiver, defensive back and kick returner. Whitlock led Chester to the Class AAA State Championship game as a senior. He caught 23 passes for 418 yards, an average of 18.2 yards per catch, rushed 77 times for 266 yards with five TDs and completed 58-of-91 passes for 864 yards and 11 touchdowns for coach Victor Floyd. He was a firstteam
All-State selection by the Associated Press, played in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas and also participated in the Under Armor All-Star Game in Orlando where he returned an interception for a touchdown. As a junior, Whitlock starred at quarterback and cornerback, receiving all-state and all-region honors after accounting for 26 all-purpose touchdowns. He passed for 1,500 yards, rushed for 800 yards and logged four interceptions. The four-star prospect is rated as the
fourth-best player in the state, the No. 11 cornerback prospect in the nation and the No. 145 prospect overall by Rivals.com. Scout.com considers him the ninth-best cornerback in the nation and the third-best player in the Palmetto State. A cousin of former Gamecock Jonathan Joseph, Whitlock also visited Alabama, Florida and North Carolina.
Wilson is a six-foot, 220-pound outside linebacker from First Coast High School in Jacksonville, Fla. As a senior he totaled 116 tackles, three sacks, three interceptions, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries while leading his team to an 11-3 record and the district title. He was named the area’s Defensive Player of the Year by The Florida Times-Union. He logged 132 tackles including nine sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles as a junior. A three-star prospect, Rivals.com considers Wilson the 26th-best outside linebacker prospect in the nation and the 54th-best player in the state of Florida. Scout.com considered him the 34th-best weakside linebacker in the country. Wilson was a high school teammate of current Gamecock Jamire Williams. He was offered scholarships by Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Ole Miss and South Florida among others, but was the first Gamecock commitment for 2008.