Former Syracuse linebacker could find new home with South Carolina

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When South Carolina defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Clayton White was coaching at N.C. State, he recruited a linebacker from Parkland High School in Winston-Salem by the name of Lee Kpogba.

Kpogba (pronounced KAHBA) was one of the top prospects in North Carolina and played in the 2018 Shrine Bowl. As a high school senior, he had 89 tackles with 24 tackles for loss and 16 sacks.

White didn’t land Kpogba (6-1, 230) for the Wolfpack’s 2019 signing class. He opted for Syracuse. White is now getting a redo, and this time he’ll likely get Kpogba if he really wants him.

Kpogba left Syracuse after his sophomore season — for academic reasons, he said — and is playing this season at East Mississippi Junior College in Scooba. He and White have reconnected, and the two could end up together in Columbia.

Kpogba played 22 games for the Orange over the 2019 and 2020 seasons and totaled 44 tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack. Forty-three of those tackles came last season, including a career high eight against Notre Dame.

“When he got to South Carolina, he told me he was interested in me and liked the way I played,” Kpogba said. “After he talked it over with the rest of the staff, he offered me. I was excited about the offer. It’s close to home and I can see myself playing there. I went to one game there when I was a junior.”

Kpogba said he would fit in perfectly with the type of linebackers White likes to deploy.

“He likes guys that are physical, move good, will strike you and can run sideline to sideline,” Kpogba said.

Kpogba plans a return trip to USC, a trip that may end with a commitment considering the USC offer is the only major offer he’s considering at this point. He has taken unofficial visits to Mississippi State and Ole Miss this season.

“As soon as we decide on the date, I’ll be in Columbia,” he said. “I don’t have any other visits in mind. I just want to get to a place where I have a chance to make an impact as soon as I get there, a place that wants me and can see me being the guy. I haven’t had the chance to meet the rest of the coaching staff. I’m just waiting until we decide on a date, and I get a chance to meet the coaching staff.”

Kpogba said he played both linebacker spots at Syracuse, and he’s playing Mike linebacker this season. After three games this season, Kpgoba has 22 total tackles with 7.5 tackles for loss and a half-sack.

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