Blocking power Kalan Ritchie growing as a pass-catcher

dmclemore@thestate.comJune 18, 2013 

Kalan Ritchie

DWAYNE MCLEMORE — dmclemore@thestate.com

Goose Creek tight end Kalan Ritchie (pronounced KAY-lun) committed to South Carolina as April came to a close.

Ritchie (6-6, 226) picked the Gamecocks over Clemson and N.C. State. He and Bamberg-Ehrhardt's Kevin "K.C" Crosby are the two tight ends in South Carolina's 2014 class.

Ritchie caught four touchdowns as a junior.

Rivals rates him a four-star prospect and the No. 212 prospect in the Rivals250. He is the No. 17 overall tight end in the country, according to 247Composite - which factors in all rankings.

He chose the Gamecocks over Clemson and N.C. State, and also had offers from Virginia Tech and Connecticut.

Goose Creek plans to play Ritchie some at defensive end during the 2013 season.

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Q: Why South Carolina?

It's a great school. I learned a lot about the school and learned that I have a good chance of playing and good coaches to learn from.

Q: How were USC's coaches during the recruiting process?

They were pretty laid back. They try to get to know you and make sure you are the best player they can have. They make sure you're the player they are looking for.

Q: What do you think about how USC uses the tight end?

They use their tight ends a lot. Most people don't really see it. I really do like blocking but I would like to receive more. They get their tight ends in there just as much as at Goose Creek.

Q: Do you see yourself more like Justice Cunningham or Rory Anderson?

I could see myself as both a mixture of both Justice and Rory Anderson. I can block really well and I'm starting to catch the ball even better. Putting it together, that's a great tight end to have.

Q: How are you a good blocker?

Being aggressive about it. To me just blocking and try to block for the quarterback. Don't be soft about it. You've got to be aggressive.

Q: Does Goose Creek throw the ball a lot?

We're not known to throw a lot. This year I can that we're going to try and get me into the passing game. I'm excited to see it.

Q: Do you need to improve as a pass-catcher?

I need to work on catching the ball because I'm not used to getting the ball 24-7. They're getting excited seeing I can catch the ball well. They're throwing me more passes.

Q: Clemson recruited you as a defensive end. Do you think you could end up playing defense in the long run?

I could see myself playing it. I'd just rather play something I am already good at.

Q: Why commit early?

Why not? Go ahead and do it. I knew the school I wanted to go to for awhile. I went ahead and committed to lock it in and focus on school and getting there.

Q: Didn't you want to wait until signing day?

I was going to wait. I put a lot of thinking into it. I'd rather focus on being at school and football.

Q: You committed late on a Tuesday night, April 30. Why then?

I was talking to my mom and she was like, "You're talking a lot about South Carolina. Why don't you just go ahead and do it?" It was just feeling right about it.

Q: What makes you a good tight end?

I've gotten better at catching the ball. My blocking has been great all around. And being an aggressive football player and knowing what to do and when to do it.

Q: How big was USC's recent success as a factor in your decision?

A big thing. I always wanted to go to a school I could see myself winning a championship at.

Q: You will follow in the footsteps of going from Goose Creek to Columbia, with former teammates Brandon Shell and Gerald Turner. How nice is that?

It's a good thing. Going up there already knowing people from my school, I'm not nervous about it a lot.

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