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Jefferson QB selects Spurrier, Gamecocks

More than 100 gathered around the bright lights of five television cameras Thursday in Jefferson's media center.

Waiting ...

Finally, just after 1:30 p.m., quarterback Stephen Garcia, walked through the crowd in a black suit and tie.

He sat in front of the lights and microphones and pulled off his jacket.

"It's getting hot in here," he said.

Then, off came the tie. Then, not unlike a scene from a Superman movie, he pulled open his buttons, and there it was in big white letters on a black T-shirt: CAROLINA.

"I am committing to the University of South Carolina," Garcia said.

After explaining he chose Carolina largely to play for Steve Spurrier, Garcia said he had decided to graduate this December so he could start spring practice with the Gamecocks.

"I want to play as soon as possible and going up in the spring gives me a better chance," Garcia said."

He laughed with Jefferson assistant principal for curriculum Celeste Liccio, who said she and Garcia argued this summer about Garcia taking English 4.

"We argued so much we were hating each other," Liccio said. "But the fact was, if he didn't take English 4 this fall, he wouldn't have had the option of graduating early."

Garcia, who finished his high school career as the Tampa Bay area's all-time leading passer in yardage (8,018) and touchdowns (83), said his goals include helping South Carolina win the SEC championship and, hopefully, a national title.

"Stephen Garcia is a special person with special talents, and we will miss him very, very much," Jefferson coach Mike Fenton said. "One day you may see this young man playing (in the pros). That's what a special talent he is."