Relationship with Botkin was key to Stallworth's commitment

dmclemore@thestate.comAugust 22, 2013 

USC defensive tackle commitment Taylor Stallworth, at right, from Mobile, Ala.

COURTESY PHOTO

Defensive lineman Taylor Stallworth declared the Gamecocks his favorite even before stepping on campus.

His relationship with recruiter Kirk Botkin and a first visit to Columbia encouraged Stallworth to make his commitment to South Carolina on July 27.

Stallworth (6-3, 280) plays defensive end and linebacker for Murphy High in Mobile, Ala., a school that was severely damaged by a Christmas Day tornado in 2012.

A three-star prospect, Stallworth visited the USC campus and stadium July 27 along with Murphy defensive coaches.

He wants to take his official visit to South Carolina during a game weekend but has not set a date. He also considered Auburn, Mississippi State, Minnesota, Florida State.

Stallworth said USC coaches told him he could be a defensive end or defensive tackle. Last season he had 59 tackles with nine tackles for loss and four sacks.

Why South Carolina?

I was already strong and wanted to go there. When I got on the campus and I saw how great the campus was, how the coaches reacted to me and how they react to their players, it seemed like a great home for me for the next four years. That was my main reason why I decided to commit.

What did you get to learn about your future position coach Deke Adams?

Everything. I'm going to get to know him more on my official visit.

What do you like about playing linebacker and defensive end?

When I'm at linebacker I can see what's going on. I feel like when I play linebacker I can make more tackles. I also like playing defensive end because I like to attack people.

What did Kirk Botkin do to make an impression?

He kept coming back to our school. At that point in time, I was like, 'Wow, this guy really wants me to be there.' We started building our relationship from there.

What are your strengths as a player?

My strength is my speed and my hands. I get off the ball very quickly. I always beat the offensive lineman. I'm very quick with my hands. Knocking the offensive lineman's hands off me, I work a lot on that.

What would your teammates tell me about you?

They'd actually tell you that when we're not even in pads, I'll be trying to him them. I go 100 percent every time. I'm very aggressive on the field.

Talk about playing in the SEC.

People say it's the best league in college in the country. That's a great fit for me.

What did Deke Adams tell you he liked?

He told me he had seen my film and liked everything about me. He told me I had the ability to work at it to start when I get up there.

What are your physical goals for the next year?

I need to work my speed up and get better as a football player. I still have things to work on. I'm trying to maintain my weight. I really want to get down to 270.

Is your recruiting over with?

I'm going to go for my five officials. I'm going to go to South Carolina, Auburn, Mississippi State, Minnesota, Florida State.

Still solid to South Carolina?

Yes, sir.

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