Four-star safety Sheldon Royster commits to South Carolina
January 21, 2011 at 7:38 PM EST - Updated June 23 at 6:49 AM
JERSEY CITY, NJ (The Big Spur) - South Carolina made it a New Jersey sweep picking up a commitment from four-star safety Sheldon Royster who made the announcement at his home Thursday evening.
The Gamecocks and recruiter G.A. Mangus landed quarterback Tanner McEvoy earlier Thursday afternoon giving them three players from the state in the 2011 class.
"I really came to a final decision this weekend," Royster said. "I didn't talk to any reporters or coaches and cleared my head."
Royster, who is given a 95 rating by 247Sports, has long favored South Carolina. He had offers from Rutgers, Illinois, Louisville, Miami, and others. The 6-foot, 200-pounder is the third-ranked player in the Garden State and the No. 5 safety in the country.
"Coach Mangus was the first coach I met from South Carolina so naturally, he was a big factor," Royster said from his home.
Along with Royster and McEvoy, Mangus landed wide receiver Damiere Byrd from New Jersey during this recruiting cycle. Those three players are some of the top commitments, as far as 247Sports rankings, currently in South Carolina's verbally committed class.
"Everybody has their own decision, it just so happened three guys from Jersey decided to go down there. I don't really look at myself as a trendsetter. I am just another guy making a decision."
Royster took an official visit to Columbia on October 29 and the Gamecocks have liked their position to land the talented safety since that point. Rutgers made a late push but were unable to overcome South Carolina's lead for the prospect.
"It was close between the two schools, " Royster said speaking of South Carolina and Rutgers. "It came down to if I wanted to stay at home or if I wanted to go away. So with that, I am committing to the University of South Carolina."
While Mangus was his recruiter, he'll be on the defensive side of the football with assistant head coach Ellis Johnson, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward, and safeties coach Jeep Hunter.
"I talked to Coach (Lorenzo Ward). He's a good guy. He seems excited to have me as a player. I think he feels that he can make me into a star and help me get to the next level."
While Royster is a natural safety, they could also use him some at corner.
"They said they want to use me some at cornerback. I think that's the best move right now. They said special teams, too. Return game. With my size, I think cornerback would be the best thing right now."
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier also spoke on the telephone with Royster twice on Thursday.
"Last time I talked to him I told him I was going to be coming to South Carolina and playing for the Gamecocks. He was fired up like he always is when he talks to me. It was just good to get that off my chest and let him know that I was going to be a Gamecock."
Royster becomes commitment No. 30 for the Gamecocks in this recruiting cycle. The big visit weekend is set to begin tomorrow. Names such as Phillip Dukes, Jerell Adams, and Ahmad Christian will all be in Columbia.