Nation's number one football recruit commits to South Carolina

ROCK HILL (WACH, AP) " Jadeveon Clowney is going to be a Gamecock. Ranked by many as the number one recruit in the nation, the defensive end made the announcement from the auditorium of South Pointe High School in Rock Hill on Monday.

"I got a lot of friends up there, it's close to home; my mama can come see me play all the time," Clowney said during his announcement Monday morning.Clowney plans to crack the Gamecocks' starting lineup in the fall. Bobby Carroll, Clowney's coach at South Pointe, says to believe all of the hype over the high school senior.

"Listen man, you don't see these guys come around very often," Carroll says. "You can compare him to whoever you want to compare him to, he's the best football player in the United States."

Clowney was recruited by schools from coast to coast but narrowed his decision down to USC, Clemson and Alabama.

Related Stories Gamecocks get several notable names on signing day Alshon Jeffery's brother, Shamier, commits to Gamecocks Jadeveon Clowney makes appearance at USC game Recruiting analysts thought Clowney had long favored the Gamecocks. His former teammates Stephon Gilmore and DeVonte Holloman start in the secondary and South Pointe defensive linemate Gerald G. Dixon signed earlier this month.The 6' 6", 250-pound senior could have signed on National Signing Day in early February, but Clowney took a different path than other recruits making the decision to wait until Monday, his 18th birthday and Valentine TMs Day, to announce his choice.

"Oh, I'm happy now. I wish I had done it on the 2nd, but happy to get it over with," Clowney said in front of dozens of reporters and a live feed on ESPN.

He says waiting until his birthday to announce his commitment is his Valentine TMs Day gift to his parents, Josenna Clowney and David Morgan.

Clowney's signing comes as another big recruiting victory for Steve Spurrier. It's the third straight season the Gamecocks have signed South Carolina's Mr. Football, given to the state's top senior.

"He chose to play for his home state university," Spurrier said at a press conference Monday. "He was here the day we beat Alabama, and I remember telling him 'we can win big here', and he believes we can win big here. So that was something that was important to him."

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Read a press release from USC announcing Clowney's National Letter of Intent.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)