Thursday afternoon Myrtle Beach quarterback Everett Golson announced he was removing his commitment to North Carolina because of the blanket of uncertainty covering the Tar Heels football program.
One of South Carolina's top senior recruits, Golson decided not to wait out the possibility of NCAA sanctions being placed on the Tar Heels. He also wants to play basketball in college. And after Notre Dame agreed to look into letting him play two sports, Golson cast his future with the Fighting Irish.
Today is the present, and Golson will be among several national recruits on the field when his Seahawks battle the South Pointe Stallions for the Class AAA state title at 6 p.m. today at USC's Williams-Brice Stadium.
Looking across the line will be the nation's top player, South Pointe defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. He's one of those rare defensive players who can control a game when his team doesn't have the ball.
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Clowney hasn't chosen a college yet, but nearly every Division I school in the country is after the 6-foot-6, 255-pound lineman and a 4.5 time in the 40.
He's called the "Beast.''
"College isn't on my mind,'' Clowney said at the state championship press conference Monday. "I'm concentrating on playing football ... right now and not next year. I want to help my team win a state championship. We are here because we want a ring.''
And that's not a case of Clowney being cocky. He carries his fame well, is the team jokester and is popular with all his teammates. But cocky would be fine considering what South Pointe has done is just five seasons.
The Stallions won the Class AAAA DII championship in 2008, their third season, lost in the semifinals last year and are back as the seniors try to get another championship ring.
Both teams are 13-1 and ride 12-game win streaks into the stadium. South Pointe lost its second game to Northwestern, Myrtle Beach to Byrnes. Those teams also made it to the state finals.
Golson was hurt in the Byrnes game and missed most of the season with an ankle injury. He's back at full strength and Stallions must contain him.
"The thing is he can run and throw equally well,'' Stallions coach Bobby Carroll said. "Myrtle Beach can move the ball. We might end up rushing three or four people and dropping everyone else back in coverage to slow them down.
"And they have another good quarterback in Matthew Mitchell. He filled in well when Golson was out. Golson is amazing. Mitchell is great.''
Regardless of which quarterback Seahawks coach Mickey Wilson runs into the game, that player will feel at times like he's looking down the barrel of a tank.
Carroll told Alabama coach Nick Saban, who was in town this week for his in-home visit with Clowney, that if he wasn't on the team everyone would be talking about the other defensive end, Gerald Dixon.
Both were chosen to play in the Shrine Bowl, as was Golson. Mitchell will play for the South in the SCADA North-South All-Star game next week at Myrtle Beach.
"Jadeveon and me grew up playing against each other,'' Dixon said. "We are good friends and having him as a teammate has helped my game. Teams try to run away from his side. That gives me more opportunities to make plays.''
South Pointe has an amazing 70.5 sacks and 81 tackles for loss: 26.5 sacks and 24 TFL byClowney, 19.5 and 18 by Dixon.
They and the other nine defenders will have the task of stopping a Seahawks team that has scored 667 points, second most be any team in the state this season. Williston-Elko in Class A scored 714.
"It was tough being out, and I became our team's top cheerleader,'' Golson said. "He made our team stronger; two quarterbacks who can move the ball. That's ending up paying off for us here at the end of year.
"We have to be aware of South Pointe's defense. All of them are good and go hard, but Jadeveon is amazing. We'll have to find a way to keep him from blowing up our plays.''