June 3, 2009

Gamecock commitment intrigued by Ole Miss offer

Sean Tapley committed to South Carolina early in the recruiting process.

He still considers himself a future Gamecock, but he can't sign a binding national letter-of-intent until February.

It's just as well, as the three-star wide receiver from Jacksonville (Raines), Fla., is making no secret of his plans to check out some other programs before putting on the garnet and black for good.

"I'm open," Tapley said on Monday. "I'm a soft commit."

One of the schools pulling at Tapley in recent days is Ole Miss. The Rebels offered Tapley a scholarship last week during Ron Dickerson Jr.'s visit to the state's east coast, and Tapley liked what he heard.

"I like their offense a whole lot," Tapley said. "I see myself as a deep threat and a big-play-maker. I compare myself to Reggie Wayne in the NFL. (Dickerson) told me I'd fit in good with their offense and that's where I need to be. He said they'll throw the ball and give their receivers a chance."

Tapley, a 6-foot, 170-pounder with 4.42-second speed, said Ole Miss caught his eye last season when the Rebels traveled to Gainesville, Fla., and knocked off Urban Meyer's Gators. Tapley followed Ole Miss the rest of the way, even watching a couple of replays of the annual Grove Bowl spring game.

"I looked at their quarterbacks," Tapley said. "They looked pretty good."

Tapley, who said he hasn't decided if he'll attend any camps this summer, said he decided to commit early because he was advised an early pledge "would get me a lot of attention. I still like the school and everything."

He said he won't make a final decision until he visits some schools. He has offers from Ole Miss, Southern Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Purdue, West Virginia, Illinois and Louisville.

"I haven't really taken the time to worry about recruiting right now," Tapley said.

Tapley caught 20 passes for 350 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore and then increased those totals to 29 catches for 550 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior. He recently finished the track season with a third-place finish in the state 400-meter dash (49.0 seconds). He will enter his senior season ranked No. 1 in Florida in that event, and Tapley wants to run track at the college level as well.

Tapley, who has a 3.3 core grade-point average, plans to take the SAT on Saturday. His Raines teammate, defensive tackle Louis Nix is a Rivals250 member who also possesses an Ole Miss offer.

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