South Carolina was the first SEC school to extend a scholarship offer to four-star Murfreesboro (Tenn.) offensive lineman Maxwell Iyama and on Sunday that early groundwork paid off in a major way. Iyama, the nation’s No. 27 ranked offensive tackle, committed to the Gamecocks after a week that saw him make several recruiting visits.
“I feel like that’s where I belong,” Iyama told Rivals.com on Sunday morning. “I feel like that’s where my heart has always been.”
Iyama visited Columbia last weekend and despite visiting a few other programs this week, he couldn’t shake the feeling that South Carolina was home.
“Last weekend kind of sealed the deal that I really wanted to go there,” Iyama said. “I had a couple of visits after that to see if it changed my mind and it really didn’t. That was my first time visiting not for a game and I just loved the campus and the whole atmosphere.”
A major key figure in Iyama’s recruitment was South Carolina offensive line coach Eric Wolfword. Iyama said their bond put both him and his family at ease when it came time to make a decision.
“I feel like I can trust coach Wolfe and what he has planned for me at South Carolina,” Iyama said. “He’s really solid, he doesn’t beat around the bush. He’s going to coach me hard, he said that sometimes I’m not going to like him but he’s going to push me to be a better player. He’s going to be like a father figure to me and he feels like he’s serious about my talent and he can help me get to the NFL and be the best person I can be on and off the field.”
Like most high-level prospects Iyama said he’s hoping to make an early impact in college and he said the path that was laid out for him in Columbia made the most sense.
"I have the biggest chances to play and it’s a great opportunity,” Iyama said. “They told me that they need more length and speed on the edge. I might have a chance to play my freshman year if I work for it.”
After watching the Gamecocks have a better than expected season in 2016, Iyama said he feel like he’s joining the fold at just the right time.
“I feel like they’re improving and they’re a team on the rise,” Iyama said. “I really like the energy around the program.”
Iyama is commitment No. 4 in the Gamecocks 2018 class and the second offensive lineman to commit in the last week, joining three-star Hank Manos. His commitment marks the first four-star to join the class.