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July 8, 2014
South Carolina's coaching staff continued a fruitful stretch of recruiting success in the summer with the addition of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas three-star Damon Arnette.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder carried offers during the recruiting process from Florida, FSU, Kentucky, Louisville, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and others. He was recruited to Columbia by defensive backs coach Grady Brown.
"He played a big role," Arnette said of the assistant. "He was a major factor in my decision. He is more of a mentor to me than a coach. We have a really strong relationship. I trust him and what he's telling me."
USC had long been in the south Florida defender's lead group, but his first visit to the Midlands did not take place until June, where he worked out during the morning session of USC's one-day camp. Arnette returned to campus a few days later, taking an unofficial visit that lasted from Thursday until Sunday.
While the south Florida product pumped the brakes on his initial decision date and considered visiting Kentucky again and Ohio State, he reversed course on that and decided to pull the trigger on Tuesday.
"Because of some changes at school about me and my position move," he gave as the reason for the decision. "Now I'm playing a bandit, what Tyrann Mathieu played. South Carolina, they didn't care that I was playing that. They still committed to me playing corner. I spoke with my coach and everything and decided to make it final tonight."
Several factors played in to Arnette ultimately choosing USC.
"The campus is nice. I expected them to have a fantastic campus. I was paying attention to the little things. The people there are amazing. They have palm trees there and it reminds me of being at home. It's SEC football."
Arnette carries a three-star marker from Rivals.com and is ranked as the 34th-best prospect at his position in the country as well as the 55th-best prospect in the state of Florida.