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South Carolina football recruiting: Tommy Hatton has Gamecocks in top two

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G.A. Mangus has South Carolina well-positioned with yet another highly-touted New Jersey prospect.

Four-star offensive lineman Tommy Hatton of St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.) recently earned an invitation to The Opening in July and has decided that he will make his college choice at that time. Hatton lists South Carolina and Maryland as his front-runners among 14 offers, including seven from members of Big Five conferences.

Hatton unofficially visited Columbia, S.C. on February 18 and received an offer from the Gamecocks two months later. Offensive line coach Shawn Elliott visited Hatton's school on April 29, and the No. 23 guard in the 2015 seems to really like the feedback he's getting from Elliott and the rest of the South Carolina coaching staff.

"I really like them a lot and I think they like me a lot," he said.  "Coach Elliott was at my school today and I hear they are really interested. I didn't get to talk to him today but I do get to talk to those coaches a lot on Facebook."

Hatton will get a second look at the South Carolina campus in June but seems to have quite enjoyed what he was able to take in during his first trip to Columbia.

"I just love South Carolina," he said. "Everything about it is great. It's beautiful down there and they have that stadium. Plus, they've been really good lately and just keep winning. No one has ever told me a bad thing about them."

If he commits to South Carolina, Hatton would join four-star JUCO offensive tackle Paris Palmer and three-star guard Shane Lemieux in the Gamecocks' 2015 offensive line class.