April 26, 2006

Peach State DL picks up Gamecock offer

LaGrange (Ga.) defensive lineman D.J. Stafford is one of the top overall prospects in the Peach State this year, and the South Carolina Gamecocks are hoping he'll follow in the footsteps of Blake Mitchell, another former LaGrange star.

"South Carolina offered me today (Tuesday)," the 6-foot-3, 260-pound Stafford said. "They had been writing me a lot of letters, and I was hearing from them a lot, but they kind of surprised me with the offer. I like Steve Spurrier, and I like how they play on defense."

Stafford, who racked up 119 tackles and 11 sacks as a junior, also has offers from Georgia, Auburn, Clemson and Kentucky, with two of those making up his current top two.

"Georgia and Auburn are probably at the top. Auburn is close to home, and I just like how they run things on their defense. They all run to the ball and play with an attitude. Georgia also has a very aggressive defense, and I like that style. Coach (Rodney) Garner is recruiting me for them."

Stafford, who bench presses 350 pounds, believes he's the kind of player that can help his program of choice immediately.

"My pass rushing is my biggest strength. That and my speed and aggressiveness. I just love to play the game."

Stafford will base his decision on three primary factors.

"Academics, the school itself and the coaching staff are the most important things to me. I want to get good education at a place where I'm comfortable and play for a good staff."

Don't look for anytime soon from Stafford.

"I plan to take all five of my official visits before committing. I want to get good feel for all the schools before I pick one, so it will probably be after my season before doing anything."

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