In-state recruit reacts to landing South Carolina offer after Shane Beamer camp

During one of his first live reps at a position he doesn’t play, Jaquel Holman dropped back in coverage, tracked the football and leapt to bat it out of the air before the receiver could get a square inch of skin on the leather.

Standing in the end zone about 25 feet away, Shane Beamer put his hands on his knees and turned his head toward Holman’s coach at Blackville-Hilda High School, Kevin Jones. Beamer squeezed his lips and raised his eyebrows. The non-verbal way of saying, “Wow.”

“Can’t teach size and speed,” Jones said.

“No, you can’t,” Beamer agreed.

A few hours later, inside the South Carolina recruiting lounge, Beamer formally offered the 6-foot-1, 200-pound three-star athlete.

Sitting shotgun as Jones drove him back to Blackville, Holman was still trying to process the news.

“I’m so happy right now, I can hardly think about what I did at the camp,” he said. “I watched this team since I was little and dreamed of playing at Williams-Brice. Now I have the chance. It’s a dream come true.”

Holman admitted he has choices and a tough decision to make, adding that he’ll likely commit to a college in July before his senior season of high school gets going.

Pittsburgh has offered him as a running back, and Holman admitted he’ll likely take an official visit up there next week.

Clemson is also in the mix. Holman has talked with Tigers defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin, but Clemson still hasn’t offered.

“Clemson hasn’t shown as much interest as Carolina,” he said. “I think they got interested because of Carolina. It’s one of those things like, ‘OK, so Carolina wants him? Let me look at him too.’ ”

After Friday, South Carolina definitely wants him.

The Gamecocks has shown interest for the past few months, but things heated up after Holman won the S.C. High School League’s 1A championship in the 100m (10.81), 200m (21.98) and 4x100 (41.90).

At the USC camp on Friday, Holman clocked a 4.43-second 40-yard dash that impressed the South Carolina coaches.

Defensive coordinator Clayton White worked out Holman individually for about a half hour, focusing mainly on coverage drills.

“He wanted to see me backpedaling and wanted to see if I could move as a DB,” Holman said. “They’re going back and forth because they don’t know how my body is gonna (develop).”

The Gamecocks, Holman said, believe he could possibly stay at linebacker if he jumps up to 225 or 230 lbs, but could also move to safety if he settles around 210 lbs. There’s also a chance they’ll let him try out running back (He had 26 TDs and averaged over 10 yards a carry as a junior).

“I can play running back in college,” Holman said. “It’s kind of 50-50 right now (which position I like better).”

For now, though, he still needs time to tell his folks that their favorite school, the college an hour away, the one they’ve always rooted for wants Holman to play for them.

“(My family are) Carolina fans but they’re not gonna push me in one direction,” Holman said. “I know they’d love to see me go to Carolina because I grew up watching Carolina.”