During the past couple of months, Charlotte (NC) Ardrey Kell TE Drew Owens agonized over his college choice.
South Carolina, who offered Owens last summer, had been sitting atop the leaderboard for the longest time but NC State made a big push towards the end of the process, culminating in a battle between the two programs for his services.
"It was real tough," Owens told GamecockCentral.com. "It was eating at me for a long time. I went back and forth every day."
Owens frequently granted interviews to the media regarding his recruiting earlier in the process but shut himself off from the media and even fellow prospects while trying to make his final choice.
"I wanted to be clear-minded and focus on my season and college later," he explained.
In the end, South Carolina won out when the three-star tight end called up recruiter Jay Graham and informed him he would be heading to Columbia.
"I just called him up and told him. That was the way I wanted to do it. It wasn't like me to do an announcement. He was real excited. He said it was eating at him a lot so it was good to be able to know he had a tight end committed."
Owens said spurning the home-state Wolfpack was a hard choice.
"Their program is a great program," he said of NC State. "I really couldn't go wrong with either program. They're a great program and coaching staff."
The North Carolina product says that he simply felt more comfortable with USC, which is why they got the nod.
"It came down to the atmosphere at South Carolina, the people and players I"m going to be around and the overall school. It was the best fit for me for football and school."
According to Owens, Graham also played a huge role in his decision because of his persistence recruiting him.
"He played a major part just keeping in contact with me, talking to me and being there. He was a big part of my recruiting and talked me through it."
The 6-foot-5, 227-pounder realizes his opportunity to play early at Carolina, and hopes to make an impact during his first season.
"I'm real excited about the weight program and getting bigger, physical, and faster and getting on the field."
Owens and his mother made his last visit of the process to Columbia over the weekend to check out South Carolina's bowl practice.
"They were looking real sharp," he said. "Players were flying around full-go. They're not holding back anything. They're getting ready and getting prepped."
Owens said he the recruiting process is over for him and that he will not take any visits. Though he originally planned on enrolling in January at USC provided he finished his exams in time, he now says he will wait until the summer to enroll.
He finished his senior season with 36 catches for 450 yards and 5 touchdowns, and is looking forward to the next few years as a Gamecock.
"It looks great for the future with the young team they have now making the plays they did this year," he said. The sky is limit."