The message from South Carolina to four-star quarterback recruit LaNorris Sellers this fall has been crystal clear: Stay home.
Most signs are pointing towards Sellers doing just that when the South Florence High School star reveals his final college choice and signs his national letter of intent at 11:30 am Friday at the school’s auditorium.
(Watch Sellers make his decision through this live stream link.)
Sellers, the No. 5 recruit in the state, has been verbally committed to Syracuse since March but has publicly walked back the strength of that commitment and picked up two 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions this week to flip to South Carolina.
247Sports national recruiting analyst Brian Dohn and 247Sports director of football recruiting Steve Wiltfong — both of whom are correctly predicting commitments at a better than 90% rate this cycle — filed Crystal Ball predictions on Tuesday for Sellers to choose USC.
“I think (South Carolina) is in a strong position to flip in-state four-star QB LaNorris Sellers, who had a terrific senior season, but it’s certainly a tough decision,” Wiltfong tweeted Tuesday.
Coach Shane Beamer’s Gamecocks were late to the party with Sellers, who didn’t get an offer until Oct. 22, but USC’s pitch has been a compelling one for a quarterback who played his high school ball a mere 90 minutes east of Williams-Brice Stadium.
A coaching shakeup at Syracuse also caused a shakeup in the recruitment of Sellers.
Sellers was verbally committed to Virginia from July 2021 to January 2022 but flipped his commitment to Syracuse when Robert Anae, UVA’s offensive coordinator, took the same job at Syracuse. NC State hired Anae as its offensive coordinator earlier this month.
South Carolina — which lost out to Alabama over the summer for four-star 2023 quarterback Dylan Lonergan, its former top target at the position — has been recruiting hard Sellers most of the fall.
USC’s Oct. 22 offers lined up with the back end of a statistically dominant senior season that saw Sellers complete 58.1% of his passes for 2,949 yards, 45 touchdowns and two interceptions.
He also rushed for 1,337 yards (9.3 yards per carry) and 22 touchdowns for a grand total of 4,286 yards and 67 total touchdowns in 15 games. Sellers led South Florence to a 15-0 record and a Class 4A state championship win over Northwestern, the first in program history.
South Carolina had five assistant coaches on site for that state championship game. Sellers was untouchable in a 57-30 win with 452 total yards and six touchdowns. He was also a finalist for the SC Mr. Football award and was named an MVP of the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas all-star game.
Speaking to TV station WLTX after that game on Dec. 17, Sellers said he was still committed to Syracuse but had “some stuff to think about with that” before his signing day ceremony.
He’d spent the week practicing and playing with two USC commits, offensive lineman Markee Anderson and defensive lineman Monteque Rhames II, both of whom had been openly recruiting him to join the Gamecocks.
South Carolina’s message was “just to stay home, lead the program, be around people I know and stuff and be close to family,” Sellers told WLTX. He added of his looming decision: “You’ve just gotta think about what’s best for you in that moment.”
South Carolina has not signed a quarterback in its class of 2023, which currently has 22 signees and ranks 16th nationally in the 247Sports composite.
“We wanted to sign a quarterback in this class,” coach Shane Beamer said Wednesday. “There is not a quarterback on this sheet. That is a position we are still pursuing.”
South Carolina has one quarterback committed for the future in Dante Reno, but he’s in the Class of 2024. Reno and USC have discussed reclassifying him to the Class of 2023, but that could hinge on Sellers’ Friday decision.
The Gamecocks have several quarterbacks on the roster for the bowl game, but there will be some questions at the position in the offseason. The biggest one: Will starter Spencer Rattler be back for another season or pursue an NFL career?
The other scholarship quarterbacks on the roster are top backup Luke Doty, who’s played in 18 games and started six in three seasons, and fellow reserves Colten Gauthier, Tanner Bailey and Braden Davis.
This story was originally published December 23, 2022 6:45 AM.