The University of South Carolina has offered a football scholarship to one of the top middle schoolers in the Atlanta area.
The Gamecocks are the first offer for Dominick Blaylock, the son of former NBA All-Star Mookie Blaylock. The younger Blaylock is an eighth-grader at Dickerson Middle School in Cobb County (which feeds into Walton High School).
“It felt pretty great,” Blaylock told the AJC. “I was shocked that when I met the coaches, they went straight to the point with the offer. I had no words. I didn’t know what to say. All I could say was ‘Thanks, coach.’”
Blaylock, who is 14 years old and stands 5-foot-11 and 165 pounds, attended a Junior Day at South Carolina on Saturday. The all-around athlete got the big news from Steve Spurrier and assistant G.A. Mangus.
“They said this was a firm offer, and they felt like it was important that South Carolina was Dominick’s first offer,” said Blaylock’s stepfather, John Woods.
“I am happy for Dominick. I know there are more eighth-graders getting offered now. It seems like it’s happening with more eighth-graders every year. Dominick got invited to five Junior Days, so I think other offers are coming.”
Blaylock, who is consistently clocked in the 40-yard dash under 4.6 seconds, also has been asked to visit Florida, Auburn and Alabama this spring.
It’s a growing trend for college football teams to offer recruits while they are still in middle school. LSU made national headlines last March by accepting a commitment from a Texas quarterback who was in the eighth grade.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the Florida Gators offered an eighth-grader from the Orlando area.
In a recent interview with the AJC, Steve Spurrier was asked this question: How early is too early to a recruit a kid? Or is there such a thing?
“It really doesn’t mean a whole bunch because the kids change their minds so much,” Spurrier responded. “Basically, everyone now says we’re going to recruit everybody until signing day. And after signing day, you know what you’ve got. But not all players change their minds, but a lot do nowadays. In a way, you can’t blame them. Take something in the hand right now. And if something looks better to you down the road, then take that. So that’s part of recruiting these days.”
More on Blaylock: He named MVP of the Elite Junior Classic Eighth-Grade All-Star game last December. He grew up a Kentucky fan because his twin older brothers play football for the Wildcats.
Blaylock and his family were pleasantly surprised with the South Carolina offer.
“I have mixed emotions about it,” Woods said. “With this comes a lot of pressure and responsibility. But Dominick is a very humble kid and pretty grounded. So I think he can handle this pretty well.”