The town that Steven Gilmore Jr. described sounded a lot like Rock Hill.
“They really look at their football players highly. The whole city is just straight football,” he said Wednesday.
Gilmore Jr. was of course talking about Huntington, W.Va., where he’ll play his college football at Marshall University. The South Pointe football standout signed with the Thundering Herd Wednesday, bringing to a close a recruiting process that at times was difficult.
“Take advantage of every opportunity you have,” Gilmore Jr. said. “Just don’t believe in what people are saying, just focus on what you’ve got going on and make sure it’s the right place for you.”
Gilmore Jr. had offers from South Carolina, Louisville and North Carolina but lost those when the schools filled his spot. He had plenty of opportunities to fall back on, though, including Marshall, a traditionally strong football program in Conference USA.
“The coaching staff really wanted me from Day 1. They’ve always been on me trying to get me to go there,” Gilmore Jr. said. “It just felt like they really wanted me.”
Gilmore Jr. caught 37 passes for 685 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, and was also dangerous in the kick return game. He played in the North-South all-star game, earning offensive MVP honors and finished his high school career with four state titles in as many years. Gilmore Jr. will play defensive back at Marshall, and get a shot at returning punts.
“Just work hard and get bigger for the next level and I’ll be straight,” he said.
Scott Robinson Jr., South Carolina State
South Pointe’s senior class president heads to South Carolina State this coming summer to play college football. One of the Stallions’ most reliable players, especially the last two years, Robinson Jr. won four state championships in four years of varsity football.
He enjoyed his visit to Orangeburg.
“It’s a family down there,” Robinson Jr. said. “It’s always been my dream to sign D-I. Family’s happy, school’s getting paid for and they’ve got what I want to major in -- criminal justice -- so it’s gonna be a fun time.”
Robinson Jr. caught 53 passes for 910 yards and eight touchdowns. One of South Pointe’s better wide receiver blockers, Robinson Jr. made All-Region 3-4A and second team All-Area.
B.J. Davis, South Carolina State
Davis will join Robinson Jr. in playing football at Orangeburg at S.C. State. He made a trip to the school two weeks ago on an official visit.
“I just liked the environment. Everybody was together. They weren’t separated, it was like they were a family,” Davis said.
Davis also had offers from Northern Iowa and Liberty. He’ll play at safety initially and could move to linebacker if he puts on more weight. Davis was mildly surprised that he’s playing college football, especially since basketball was his main focus the first half of high school.
“I didn’t think I was gonna be good enough,” he said.
That proved to be far from true. Davis was a first team All-Area pick and played in the North-South all-star game. The 6-foot-4 athlete made 89 tackles, intercepted four passes, notched three sacks and broke up six passes. He also forced and recovered a pair of fumbles and was named All-Region 3-4A.
Jaydon Collins, Guilford College
Collins started hearing from Guilford about a month ago. The South Pointe offensive lineman enjoyed the vibe at the Greensboro, N.C.-based school.
“The atmosphere was great,” he said. “The people were laid back, it was pretty cool.”
Collins, who plans to major in business, is excited to play with two high school teammates in college, De’Angelo Huskey and Keshawn Veal.
“Guilford’s gonna have one good team,” he said with a grin. “That’s all I’m gonna say.”
Keshawn Veal, Guilford College
Veal had plenty of college football options. Averett, Randolph-Macon and Limestone were also after him but he chose Guilford.
“Campus was pretty nice,” said Veal. “You know me, I’m a big guy, and the food was amazing. I met a couple of the teammates, they’re great guys.”
He’ll study business and/or accounting because he wants to own his own business.
De’Angelo Huskey, Guilford College
Huskey will play in the defensive secondary at Guilford. He was one of the busiest defensive players around in 2017, making 148 tackles, with 20 for a loss, recording six QB sacks, intercepting four passes and scoring two defensive touchdowns. Huskey was an All-Region 3-4A and first team All-Area pick.
Alex Barnes, Coker College
Barnes will play college soccer at Coker. He loved the small campus and will major in exercise science. Barnes, who plays midfield and forward, also had some interest from Anderson and Southern Wesleyan.
“I always on the fence about it. I didn’t know if I would be at that level,” he said. “I’m excited to take the opportunity.”