South Carolina has turned a key in-state prospect from his commitment to the reigning national champions as Saluda (S.C.) four-star DL Dexter Wideman announced his intentions to sign with the Gamecocks at a press conference held at his high school this afternoon.
The 6-foot-3, 276-pounder drew scholarship offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Michigan, and Ole Miss in addition to the Seminoles and Gamecocks during the recruiting process.
Wideman favored South Carolina for much of the process but things took a dramatic turn back in July when he made his first visit to Tallahassee and then made a surprise commitment to the Seminoles. Even in the hours after making that pledge, Wideman's choice appeared far from settled as he told GamecockCentral.com on July 23 that South Carolina was still in the picture for him. In fact, Wideman made the short to Columbia shortly thereafter for USC's 'Black Magic' summer camp.
The talented lineman sat down with GamecockCentral.com in September and said that while he remained committed to FSU, that he was '50/50' on his pledge. He maintained that stance throughout the season, one in which he took multiple unofficial visits to Columbia for games inside Williams-Brice Stadium.
Wideman closed out the recruiting process with official visits to Columbia (weekend of January 17) and Florida State (weekend of January 31) before taking a few days to finalize his decision.
The Rivals250 member was recruited to South Carolina by quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus. Wideman participated in the Under Armour All-America Game and was also selected to the annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.
"I decided I want to stay close to home," he said. "I have a good relationship with all the coaches."
Mangus played a large role in the process for the in-state product. He told Mangus and the HBC this morning.
"Coach Mangus was honest with me. He let me know how everything was going to be. They really want me. I know how things are going to be. They were real happy. They were ready to celebrate."
Wideman plans on giving it his all to prepare himself for potential early playing time.
"I'm going to work my butt off during the summer time so I will be able to play next year."