South Carolina has long been in pursuit of wide receiver Braxton Berrios of Raleigh, and over the weekend, the Gamecocks hosted him for his official visit.
That was not his first visit to Columbia. Berrios attended a couple of games last season and picked up his offer from USC on the weekend of the Tennessee game.
“It’s a great opportunity to play for a great program,” Berrios said then.
He also attended USC’s spring game in April and got a clearer picture of how the Gamecocks viewed him.
“They told me they would use me like Ace Sanders and in the return game,” he said in April. “Coach (Steve) Spurrier Jr. likes me for the slot.”
Berrios also visited USC for a camp in July. He’s now taken three official visits. The others were to Oregon and Miami, and he is scheduled to see Tennessee officially Oct. 5. Right now, he has his decision down to those four schools.
Defensive back DJ Smith of Marietta, Ga., is one of the nation’s top uncommitted seniors. From dozens of offers, he has narrowed his list to USC, Clemson, Georgia and Tennessee. He was in Athens, Ga., for the USC-Georgia game. Smith visited Clemson in the spring and he dropped in at USC this summer. Smith has not set his official visits, but he said most likely they will be with his final four. And he said he does not have a favorite. Smith won’t announce a decision until signing day.
In other recruiting news:
DE Lorenzo Featherston of Greensboro, N.C., was at the Georgia-Clemson game and plans to be at the Clemson-N.C. State game Thursday night. He’s not claiming favorites at this time from among Clemson, USC, Tennessee, North Carolina, N.C. State, Oregon and Auburn. He has no timeline for a decision.
Senior DL Cory Thomas of McCalla, Ala., tweeted out his top five as Clemson, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Florida and Florida State.
WR Tyshun Samuel (6-0, 186) of Chapman is off to a hot start this season with 11 total touchdowns on the board in three games. The speedy Samuel (4.3 40-yard dash) has offers from Vanderbilt, North Carolina, N.C. State, Maryland, Charlotte, Old Dominion, Appalachian State and East Carolina. He’s not drawing any interest right now from USC or Clemson. He has Vanderbilt and North Carolina as his top two. Samuel said he’s not sure when he’ll make his decision but plans to take his official visits. There is no leader between the Commodores and Tar Heels.
Clemson is in solid shape with one of Georgia’s top quarterbacks for the 2015 class in Lorenzo Nunez (6-2, 190) of Kennesaw. The Tigers have offered along with Ohio State, Tennessee, Kentucky, Boston College and Charlotte. He’s also drawing strong interest from Florida State, Miami and Notre Dame. Nunez talks with Clemson recruiter Chad Morris on once or twice a week. Nunez and his father took in the Tigers’ season opener against Georgia and they plan a return trip to Clemson for later in the season as the Tigers are strongly on their mind. “We’re very interested,” the senior Nunez said. “They are at the top of our list. The top three are Clemson, Ohio State and Tennessee (in no order).” Florida State is showing major interest and would become a strong contender with an offer. Nunez visited Auburn for games last season and will also go to Ohio State, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Florida State and possibly Miami for games this season. Nunez is primarily a passing quarterback with the ability to extend plays with his legs.Last season, he accounted for 1,700 yards and 15 touchdowns.
QB Torrance Gibson of Plantation, Fla., has an offer from Clemson but has not heard from the Tigers lately. His other offers are from Ohio State, Notre Dame, Miami, Florida State, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, South Florida, Boston College and Nebraska. He says that Ohio State, Miami and Mississippi are showing the most interest. Gibson continues to express interest in Clemson and does not have any favorites.
QB Marquane Goodman of West Florence has an offer from Appalachian State and continues to receive attention from Clemson, USC, N.C. State, Florida, Mississippi, Louisville, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Kent State, Tennessee and East Carolina. He attended Clemson’s opener as well as USC’s and is showing interest in the two in-state programs. “I liked the (USC) atmosphere,” he said. “The crowd was just crazy. As far as Clemson … it’s such a family atmosphere. Not just with the football team, it’s the whole town.” Goodman does not have any favorites.
Considered one of the top prospects of North Carolina’s 2015 class, WR Michael Bowman had planned to attend the USC-Vanderbilt game but did not make it in. He was at N.C. State for their season opener, and that’s been the only game he’s gotten to thus far. He does not have any favorites and is in no hurry to make a decision.
DB Kaleb Chalmers of Greenwood was in Columbia on Saturday night and was in Athens, Ga., the previous weekend. And he was at Clemson for the Georgia game. Chalmers has offers from USC and Clemson and continues to hear from Georgia. His other offers are from Duke, North Carolina and Stanford, and he’s getting interest from Tennessee, Wake Forest and Vanderbilt. Other trips he plans to make this season include Duke, UNC, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida State. Chalmers does not have any favorites.
OL Mitch Hyatt of Suwanee, Ga., currently has a top five of Clemson, USC, Georgia, Louisville and Auburn. He was at Clemson for the Georgia game and at Georgia for the USC game. His uncle is former Clemson defensive lineman Dan Benish.
OL Steven Gonzalez of Union City, N.J., had hoped to visit USC this football season, but those plans may be scratched. He continues to hear from the Gamecocks and remains interested. He has offers from USC, Rutgers, Louisville, Boston College, Virginia, Massachusetts and Syracuse, and is getting interest from Miami, Florida State, Alabama, Penn State, Ohio State and Notre Dame among others. Among the schools that have not offered, Gonzalez said the ones showing the most interest are Alabama and Oregon. He planned to visit Rutgers this past weekend and may attend the Penn State-Michigan game. He expects to visit USC after the season.
Junior RB Bryce Love of Wake Forest, N.C., made his way to Athens, Ga., for the USC-Georgia game with his father, Chris Love, who was a track and field athlete at USC. Love’s father said his son watched the game intently. “He wanted to see how USC utilized their running back, slot receivers and tight end,” said Chris Love. “It didn’t help that USC lost though.” Love is good friends with Georgia RB Keith Marshall and spent time with the Bulldogs coaches. “They’re still showing some interest,” said his father. “They haven’t offered yet, but they’re keeping an eye on him.” Love planned to be at East Carolina this past weekend and is set to be at N.C. State Thursday night. And he was at Clemson for the Georgia game. He and his father hope to get to USC for a couple of games. Love has offers from USC, Clemson, Tennessee, North Carolina, Stanford, N.C. State, Duke, Arkansas, East Carolina and Virginia Tech.
Summerville OL Zack Bailey (6-5, 307) is now in his second season playing for John McKissick at Summerville and is emerging as one of the state’s top prospects for 2015. Bailey is playing tackle this season after being a guard last season. His versatility and flexibility are just two of the traits the college coaches covet. His early offers include Clemson, USC, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and The Citadel. He was at Clemson for the Georgia game and had planned to go to Georgia for the USC game but didn’t make it. He plans to be at Clemson for the Florida State game and at USC for the Clemson game. He also wants to get to Georgia Tech for a game. Bailey said early on he has no recruiting favorites.
RB Chris Warren (6-2, 225) of Rockwall, Texas, visited Clemson this summer and was offered by Tigers recruiter Chad Morris, himself a Texas native. “I learned a lot about the school in general and talked with coach Morris quite a bit,” Warren said. “I think I would fit in pretty good.” Warren is a powerful runner with good speed. Last season, he rushed for 1,059 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also has offers from Alabama, Baylor, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, SMU, Texas, Texas Tech, Colorado and Mississippi. Florida and Texas A&M are also showing interest, and he planned to be at College Station this past Saturday. Warren said Clemson will definitely be under consideration as he goes through the process, and the distance is not a factor. He doesn’t plant to make his decision until signing day of his senior season.
WR Freddie Phillips of Pelion attended the Clemson-S.C. State game, and the week before that he was at Georgia Tech for a game. Phillips likes the Tigers and is confident the feeling is mutual. “I think they’re pretty interested,” Phillips said. He is waiting on his first offer and does not have any favorites.
6-7 Dante Buford of Jacksonville, Fla., is USC’s top target for the 2014 class, and the Gamecocks were in to see him last week. Buford is a native of Simpsonville, and his South Carolina roots are working in the Gamecocks’ favor. “I know it’s in their best interest that he’s a South Carolina boy,” coach Rex Morgan of Arlington Country Day School said. “All these places are pretty far away from his mother and friends. I think he’s comfortable with the coaching staff at South Carolina.” Buford is down to USC, Southern Cal, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Miami and is scheduled for official visits to each starting in October. He’s been to USC before, most recently for the North Carolina football game. “He liked the enthusiasm and the atmosphere at the game,” Morgan said. Buford is not Morgan’s only player the Gamecocks like. 6-9 LeDamion Keys just arrived at the school from New Orleans. Morgan said USC and DePaul are interested in Keys, whom the coach calls a “shot blocker with a high motor. He rebounds and jumps extremely well. He’s very athletic and long with a long wingspan.” Basketball fans in the Midlands can get a look at Morgan’s team in December when they play in the Chick-fil-A Classic. Morgan said Oak Hill Academy in Virginia is also coming in for that tournament.