Editor's note: An earlier version of this story included comments from two people who did not speak to the reporter. The comments came from posts on the individuals' social media accounts, but the story did not indicate that is where they came from.
Coastal Carolina’s latest football recruiting class doesn’t yet include any South Carolina players, and some alumni aren’t happy about it.
Although the signing period is just beginning, if the class of 2021 does not add any athletes from the Palmetto State it will be the first time in the program’s history that a group of incoming freshman doesn’t include an instate player.
“Does Coastal not recruit in South Carolina anymore?” Tweeted former Coastal running back and current Denver Bronco De'Angelo Henderson, who hails from Summerville. “How do you forget about home when there’s so much talent there? Zero kids from SC signed with CCU today.”
Henderson is not the only South Carolina player to reach the NFL after playing at Coastal. Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman is from Greenwood. Former NFL players from South Carolina, who played at Coastal include quarterback Tyler Thigpen (Winnsboro), defensive back Quinton Teal (Bennettsville) and wide receiver Matt Hazel (North Augusta).
While it is still early in the signing period, some longtime supporters are frustrated with the lack of in-state recruits.
“I don’t push for kids unless I really feel they can help Coastal,” Tweeted Wayne White, a graduate of Coastal Carolina University and member of the school’s George F. “Buddy” Sasser Athletics Hall of Fame. “I strongly pushed two kids from North Myrtle Beach. One just entered his sophomore season as a two-year starter at East Carolina University and one signed this year with Georgia State. Both wanted to come to Coastal. No offer.”
Locally, some of the most talented players have already signed with other schools, including Rutgers, Western Kentucky University, Clemson, South Carolina and Ole Miss.
Coastal’s interim head coach Jamey Chadwell said the school is still pursuing South Carolina athletes, but the competition for those players is tough.
“We have several guys in the state of South Carolina we’re still on,” Chadwell said. “The biggest challenge for us is there are a lot of other Sun Belt teams and Conference USA teams that come into South Carolina to take some of those players that have been estab- lished more at that level. We’re still building what we’re going to become within this state.”
Despite the absence of South Carolina athletes, Chadwell said Coastal prioritizes in-state players over their out-of-state peers.
“We feel great about the people we did bring in, and we feel there will be at least one, hopefully two, and maybe even three guys from South Carolina once this signing date is done in February,” he said.
These are the recruits Coastal did announce last week:
• Massimo Biscardi, a kicker from Downingtown, Pennsylvania
• Bryce Carpenter, a quarterback from Sarasota, Florida
• Jerrod Clark, a tight end/defensive line- man from Dorchester, Massachussetts
• Wallace Cowins, a defensive end transfer from Georgia Military College
• Jamar Darboe, a linebacker from Kinston, North Carolina
• Jonathan Elder, a tight end from Powder Springs, Georgia
• Teddy Gallagher, linebacker transferring from Glendale Community College in California
• Bryson Godfrey, a running back rom Taylorsville, North Carolina
• Jaivon Heiligh, a wide receiver from Venice, Florida
• D’kendall “DK” James, a wide receiver from Chesapeake, Virginia
• Damari Kelly, an athlete from Waynesboro, Georgia
• Isaiah Likely, a tight end from Malden, Massachusetts
• Torrance Marable, a running back from Decatur, Georgia
• Shaquor Newkirk, a defensive end from Harrells, North Carolina
• Fred Payton, a quarterback from Suwanee, Georgia
• Antonio Robinson, a running back from Decatur, Alabama
• Eriziah “Tank” Walker, a defensive back from Springfield, Massachusetts
• Jai Williams, a wide receiver from Malden, Massachusetts