COLUMBIA -- Erik Kimrey’s been on the other side of high-level recruiting for almost two decades, but now he’s getting used to seeing things from the other side.
As the head coach of Hammond School, he had plenty of players get recruited -- including a handful on South Carolina’s current roster — but now as the team’s tight ends coach, he’s on the other side recruiting players to come to South Carolina.
“I’ve really enjoyed recruiting. At the end of the day it’s getting to know young men for who they are and understanding what motivates them, what inspires them and develop what I hope is an authentic relationship with them,” Kimrey said. “I don’t even like to call it recruiting. I like to call it building relationships with people.”
There are four players from Hammond currently on the Gamecock roster: Jordan Burch, Alex Huntley, Fabian Goodman and Bradley Dunn.
Kimrey, who played at South Carolina, had a role in recruitment of all four and now he’s recruiting players to come to play for a school he loves.
Almost all of Kimrey’s family went to South Carolina, and pitching the Gamecocks to prospective players is almost second nature to him.
“The one thing where I feel like I have an advantage is I feel like I don’t sell anything. I’m at a school I love and in a town I’ve lived in my whole life. My grandma went to South Carolina, two of my brothers and my mom and dad and my wife,” Kimrey said.
“When I talk about it, they hear the authenticity in my voice and how much I truly love this place because I believe in it and believe we have great days ahead. Hopefully that’s a good tool to use in recruiting.”
A a player, Kimrey was part of one of the most memorable plays in program history with the fade against Mississippi State in 2000.
A lifelong Gamecock fan, Kimrey got into coaching soon after and won 12 state titles in a 17-year stretch before joining Shane Beamer’s inaugural staff at South Carolina.
“It was always a dream, I’d put it at about 10 years, but it’s something I knew had to happen organically and naturally with the right person,” he said. “I didn’t think there was a high percentage chance it would ever happen but I want to pursue it. If something ever came from it my wife and I felt like it’d be God’s plan, honestly.”
Kimrey played a role in landing tight end transfer EJ Jenkins and has hit the recruiting trail hard since being here as he lives out his dream of coaching at South Carolina.
“To be able to be here and represent the university and the city of Columbia and so many players is just so meaningful to me,” he said. “I’m very grateful to Shane Beamer for taking a chance on a guy like me and bringing him on staff.”