South Carolina football: Elite QB Gunner Stockton commits to Gamecocks
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Elite QB Gunner Stockton commits to South Carolina football

South Carolina kicked off its 2022 recruiting class with a bang Thursday evening when elite quarterback Gunner Stockton announced his pledge to the Gamecocks.

The Tiger (Ga.) Rabun County four-star prospect is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 2 quarterback and No. 28 overall prospect in the 2022 class.

Stockton announced his pledge on Twitter Thursday night, choosing South Carolina over fellow finalist Georgia.

Complete Coverage of Stockton's commitment: Gunner Stockton commits to South Carolina | Coach Jaybo Shaw on Stockton | Inside the commitment - How did Gamecocks land Stockton? | VIDEO: Chris Clark and Wes Mitchell break down the Stockton pledge | Some top prospects who have taken notice | Rivals Analyst Chad Simmons on Stockton as a player

Before naming Georgia and South Carolina as his top two, Stockton spent time making calls to numerous schools, like North Carolina and Ohio State among others to let those coaches know he cut his list.

Stockton has numerous ties to the South Carolina program starting with offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, who served as his recruiter of record.

"At the age of six or seven, coach (George) Bobo (Offensive coordinator Mike's father) showed me how to throw a football," Stockton told Rivals three weeks ago. "He then talked my dad into making me into a QB instead of a LB. Now that I have built a relationship with coach Mike, I see the same qualities in him that I love about his dad. He is a family man that is competitive, loyal, and Christ like. You can’t ask for more than that."

Stockton's head coach is also Jaybo Shaw, whose brother is former South Carolina quarterback and current director of student-athlete development Connor Shaw.

"As for Connor, he was my role model from an early age, and he still is," he said. "I hope and pray that I grow up to be the husband and father that he is. I watched him play almost every high school and college game. I dreamed of wearing 14 just like him and my dad."

But ultimately, and what could have potentially put South Carolina over the top, was Stockton's belief in head coach Will Muschamp.

"I believe championships can be won in South Carolina. The facilities are in place, the support is there, and it’s ready to take off. It’s well documented the relationship that I have with the (Jaybo) Shaw and Bobo family, but when I went to watch South Carolina practice, I found myself watching coach Muschamp more than anybody else. His energy was unreal, and you could see the players respond to him. Then, I met with him in his office and he was extremely easy to talk to. He believes in South Carolina and he wants to bring the fans a championship. I loved everything about who and what he stands for."

In his first two seasons, Stockton has already passed for over 6,300 yards and 77 touchdowns.

Stockton is South Carolina's first commitment of the 2022 class.