South Carolina landed verbal commitment number 17 today when Lithonia (Ga.) offensive lineman Joe Harris committed to the Gamecocks.
The 6-foot-4, 300-pounder announced a commitment to the Gamecocks at Hallford Stadium in Clarkston on Wednesday afternoon.
"It was between Alabama and South Carolina," Harris told GamecockCentral.com shortly after the public announcement. "It was a real hard choice."
According to the Peach State prospect, USC gives him the best chance to fulfill his potential as a student-athlete, the main reason he made the choice to take his talents to Columbia.
"I think South Caroina is where I can have the most success as a player, as an athlete and a student."
Another factor that drew Harris to Carolina was the young talent on the team.
"With them having Marcus Lattimore, I'll be able to play with him, Jadeveon Clowney, and Cedrick Cooper one of my teammates from Lithonia. That made a great impact on me."
Harris, who said he believed he would play guard at South Carolina, also credited defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach Lorenzo Ward with doing an excellent job recruiting him. Three other prospects (DB Kyle Fleetwood, LB T.J. Holloman, DT Carlos Hood) who were present at the Dekalb County Media Day where Harris announced are committed to USC and recruited by Ward.
"You see, (he is doing) a great job," Harris laughed. "Coach Ward is a great person. He's a wonderful person to be around, a people's person. I call him and he calls me."
The four-star trenchman is excited about having a chance to play with those prospects from Georgia as well.
"It's great. All of us, we played with each other in park ball and middle school. We know each other and are good friends. It's always good to play with your homeboys and your friends."
The Gamecocks now have five offensive linemen committed in the 2012 class, plenty of fresh talent for line coach Shawn Elliott to work with in the future. Harris is ready to get started.
"He told me he's a hard worker; he loves to work," he said. "The offensive line, they never stop running, they never stop playing. That's a position they focus on a lot. Coach Elliott, I can't wait to play for him. He hyped me up and showed me what they have for me."
Finally, Harris discussed what he believes the ceiling of the USC program is now and in the coming years.
"The sky is the limit," he said. "BCS championship this year and next year. Like I said, there are great young players that they have."
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