The Washington Post

Jalen Christian of Damascus visits South Carolina for spring game

Jalen Christian took this interception back for a touchdown as Damascus beat rival Seneca Valley in October. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Last January, Jalen Christian, then a freshman, became a Division I football recruit when South Carolina assistant Steve Spurrier, Jr., stopped by Damascus to talk with Coach Eric Wallich.

This weekend, Christian had the chance to explore Spurrier Jr.’s turf, visiting the Columbia, S.C., campus for the spring game. The 5-foot-9, 165-pound wide receiver/cornerback had plenty of time to get acquainted with the school, arriving on Friday morning with his mother, Vonetta, and flying home on Sunday night.

“It really doesn’t feel real until you can go see it for yourself,” said Christian, who caught six touchdown passes during his sophomore season. “It just makes you more excited to know you got an offer from a big school like that.”

Christian is no hurry to narrow down his list of suitors, which grew to 10 when he added an offer from Pittsburgh last month. He also holds scholarship offers from Virginia, Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Connecticut, North Carolina and N.C. State.

In two seasons at Damascus, Christian has made an impact on offense, defense and in the return game, but South Carolina projects him as a wide receiver where he would work under position coach Spurrier, Jr.

The Gamecocks certainly made the spring game exciting for offensive recruits, a group that also included DeMatha’s Chris Jones, with the two intrasquad teams combining for 74 points and almost 700 yards of total offense.

Christian, a sprinter on his high school track team, found an easy model for how his skills could translate into that offense in 5-foot-9, 168-pound junior speedster Damiere Byrd.

“They’ve got a nice group of receivers right now — they’re small but explosive,” Christian said. “By the time I get there, they’ll all be gone. They’re looking for a new group of guys to replace them.”

Saturday’s inflated offensive totals, of course, included this 54-yard catch by rising junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney that bent the traditional rules just a little bit. (“Everyone got a good laugh out of that,” Christian said.)

Christian has also paid unofficial visits so far to Ohio State and West Virginia. His mother is a Virginia Tech grad, and they went to Blacksburg for the spring game last year only to have it cancelled by thunderstorms.

He said he has no immediate plans for more trips but hopes to check out Virginia once All-Met teammate Zach Bradshaw arrives on campus in the fall.

Have a high school sports question? Start a new thread in our forums and I’ll do my best to weigh in. (Click on ‘New Topic‘ to start your thread.)



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