EHRHARDT, SC — Kevin K.C. Crosby ended the recruiting process Saturday by emptying a duffel bag.
The Bamberg-Ehrhardt High tight end pulled out a South Carolina shirt, hat and helmet, and committed to play football for the Gamecocks in front of about 75 friends and family members at Savannah Creek Baptist Church. It was a ceremonial ending to more than two years of the spotlight for the rising senior.
South Carolina had Crosby in the bag because of a less-is-more recruiting approach, he and his coaches said.
They didnt pressure me, Crosby said. They popped in with a visit here and a visit there. Thats how I liked it. When they came down they showed a lot of love.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Crosby had around 50 scholarship offers and picked South Carolina over Alabama and Clemson. The Gamecocks were the first to offer, reaching out to Crosby as a 14-year-old after his ninth-grade season.
He publicly named the Gamecocks his leader more than once. Other times, they were among his top schools. And, he revealed Saturday, there was a time he lost a little love for them.
I couldnt catch on to their recruiting technique, he said. I didnt know if they were blowing me off or what. I realized they were really recruiting me harder than other schools were. Once I figured out what they were doing, my interest starting building back up.
South Carolina coaches didnt overwhelm him with questions, contact and pressure, according to uncle and Bamberg-Ehrhardt defensive coordinator Corey Crosby.
They did a great job recruiting this kid, Corey Crosby said. They told him, This is a great place to be at. You can play SEC football. They recruited him the right way. They didnt use negative talk about other schools.
Crosby almost committed to the Gamecocks last summer but continued to weigh his options on the advice of his family.
There was confusion on his part as to whether South Carolina was recruiting him as a tight end or linebacker, but a visit by Steve Spurrier earlier this year cleared things up. The Gamecocks want him on offense, and thats where Crosby wants to play.
He had 36 catches for 786 yard and 14 touchdowns as a junior, while adding 67 tackles, eight sacks and three interceptions on defense.
Im very physical playing the position, he said. Most guys play with finesse, but I come from the defensive side of the ball. I carry my defensive mentality over to the offensive side of the ball.
ESPN rates him the No. 2 player in the state for this class. Hes a four-star prospect and No. 7 overall instate in the 247Composite ranking, which factor in all networks.
Crosby is the Gamecocks fifth commitment for 2014. He is the first Bamberg-Ehrhardt player to commit to the Gamecocks since offensive lineman A.J. Cann, who signed with USC in 2010.
His father and coach, Kevin Crosby Sr., was glad to see the recruiting process come to an end, even though he expects other schools to keep calling.
For us its a solid commitment, Crosby Sr. said. Hes not looking at any other schools. Hes not thinking about any other schools.
The final decision was made Friday night, Crosby Jr. said, after praying and thinking things over one last time. In the end, he said he felt most comfortable with South Carolina and what the school offers him for both athletics and academics.
The little things are the things that count, and thats what set them apart from the rest of the schools, Crosby said. Im part of the Gamecock family and Gamecock Nation. It feels real good.