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‘It was electric’: TE target visits South Carolina for spring game ahead of commitment

It took a little while for him to make his first visit to South Carolina, but tight end Hayden Bradley of Buford, Georgia was very glad to get in for the spring game on Saturday night.

Bradley (6-5, 220) has long held an offer from the Gamecocks, and he’s been heavily worked by head coach Shane Beamer and tight ends coach Shawn Elliott.

So, with his commitment announcement coming at 2 p.m. Saturday, it was important for Bradley to see the Gamecock program in action.

“I had a great time. Me and the coaching staff, we’ve formed an awesome relationship throughout these past couple of months,” Bradley said. “It’s been a long time waiting for me to get up there. They offered me pretty early in my recruitment. They were stoked to have me down for this weekend. It was my last visit for the spring. They were real hyped and showed me and my family a whole bunch of love.

“The spring game, the fan base, it was electric. It was a night spring game, which you don’t really see too often. They had the lights going and a fireworks show at the end. It was nothing but great vibes there.”

Elliott has not been on the job at USC all that long after moving from his head coaching job at Georgia State, so he’s made quick work in building a camaraderie with Bradley.

“We’ve built a very strong relationship,” Bradley said. “He calls me every day, sometimes twice a day. That man is awesome. He’s a great coach. He’s got a great personality. His family is awesome. I got to meet his family this past weekend. We really hit it off this past weekend.”

Beamer has also done his part in putting the Gamecocks in position to be among Bradley’s top five when he announces that group on Wednesday afternoon.

“Me and Coach Beamer, he’s been calling about twice a week. He’s texting me every day and calling about twice a week,” Bradley said. “We sat down for a private meeting, and there was nothing but great talk. He showed me how much of a priority I was to them and to their offense and to their program. That meant a lot. There was nothing but great things between me and Coach Beamer.”

Last season Bradley caught 12 passes with five going for touchdowns. He considers himself a hybrid tight end who relishes blocking in the trenches as much as getting down field for a pass. He sees the USC offense as a good fit for a guy with his skillset.

“Their offense definitely prioritizes the tight end position,” he said. “They run a big 12 personnel, mix in 11 personnel, 12 personnel. This spring game, being able to watch how their tight ends were getting the ball and scoring touchdowns, it was great. You can definitely tell the tight end is a top position in their offense.”

Bradley has 37 offers on the table. Along with USC, he also made stops this spring to Florida, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Michigan, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Penn State and Miami.