All three colleges that played for last year's national championship have offered North Augusta WR and FS C.J. Byrd; Southern Cal offered a full ride on Thursday, less than a month after offers were extended by Oklahoma and LSU.
"Man, oh, man, I don't know what to say," Byrd said, "It's hard for me to believe that these schools that my friends and I watch play for the national title last year want me to be part of their program in the future. I'm confident in my abilities, but I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't surprised by it all. I mean, Southern Cal is on the other side of the country."
The player who is called "Big Byrd" talked on Thursday to Southern Cal coach Pete Carroll, who said the Trojans liked Byrd at WR, but would also take him as a FS. It was the 21st offer for "Big Byrd", who is considered a strong candidate to be the nation's No. 1 prospect for next year by several media outlets.
"Coach Carroll told us he watched the tape personally the day before, he wanted to immediately offer a scholarship and that was C.J. was a priority in Southern Cal's recruiting efforts this upcoming season," North Augusta assistant Drew Hummel said.
"(Carroll) likes CJ at WR, but some of his defensive coaches want him at FS. Carroll said it was up to CJ, but that due to the depth on the team, he could compete for a lot of playing time as a freshman at FS.
"We're all pumped up about Southern Cal. You're talking about the co-national champions. You're hearing evaluation from a guy (Carroll) who was once a head coach in NFL. I mean ... wow."
"Big Byrd" was supposed to call Southern Cal on Wednesday, but he was on an unofficial visit to the University of Florida that day. Byrd and his father met with Florida coach Ron Zook and rising sophomore quarterback Chris Leak.
"They have some giants down there playing football," Byrd said. "And Florida's football facilities were as good as any I've seen. It was a fun trip and I really liked (defensive coordinator Charlie) Strong."
Perhaps no other player in the country has more offers at this point than "Big Byrd", who has offers from Florida, Oklahoma, LSU, Tennessee, Auburn, Georgia, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Maryland, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Duke, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Kentucky, Illinois and Penn State.
"Heck, I am still surprised over the first offer," Byrd said. "I've just always tried to play football as hard as I can, I have been blessed to play with some great, great teammates and North Augusta promotes its athletes like no other school around ... by sending out tapes and calling recruiters."