By Chris Hays | Orlando Sentinel
5:18 PM EDT, June 29, 2010
Orlando Olympia High has been a big feeder this week to the NCAA Division I-A football talent pool. The third Olympia player in a week committed Tuesday as highly sought defensive tackle Deon Green finally decided South Carolina was the place for him to continue his football future.
"I'm visiting South Carolina today and I got a chance to speak with Raymond Harrison, the director of academics and my position coach Brad Lawing and they made me feel really good about South Carolina," the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Green said via cell phone from Columbia, S.C.
The overwhelming factor for Green, however, might have been that he has a strong family connection to the area where his father Leon Elder and his mother Linda Owen both grew up.
"Oh man, I got a big ole country family up here ... like close to 100 family members and that's only on my father's side," Green said.
Now he just has to persuade his mother, who lives in Orlando, that he made the right choice.
"My father was definitely excited," Green said. "It's my mother whom I'm trying to get to come aboard. She wanted me to wait until she saw it (the school), but I feel she will love the place so I went ahead and committed."
Green said that while head coach Steve Spurrier may not have been heavily involved in the process of recruiting him, he did figure into the decision.
"Kind of because of his years of experience," Green said. "When they sit down in the meeting room there is over 100 years of experience right there in one room and great decisions can come out of that experience. That's just a great thing to have."
Overall, though, it was just comforting to be able to lift the burden of the recruiting process from his shoulders.
"Basically I now have a place I can call home and I'm ready to become a Gamecock next year," Green said. "It's not too much of an aggravating process, but it got harder and harder as it came down to it. My plan was to make my decision at the end of summer, but once I came here it was a place that felt like home ... the perfect situation.
"I've always been focused on the season, but now I can really focus more and help get the team to the playoffs."
Green, the No. 11 player in the Sentinel's Central Florida 2011 Super60 who figures to be part of a defensive tackle rotation if he gets playing time at South Carolina, plans to graduate early in December to be on campus in January.
"Basically they tell you you'll come in and put on 15 pounds and get strong," Green said. "As for playing time, I'm not really that concerned about that. Playing time was not that much of a factor, but I was told I have the ability to be in the mix."
So now there is only one thing left for Green.
"Oh yeah, now we gotta try to get LaQuentin Smith on board," Green said of the Dr. Phillips linebacker who also has close to 20 offers and is the No. 7-ranked player in the Sentinel's Super60. "Hopefully we get him. I'll probably hit him up on Facebook later."
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