Top state prospect narrows list
Lexington High School wide receiver Shaq Roland (6-2, 180), who is considered by most observers to be the No. 1 prospect in the state for next season, has decided on a final four list.
Lexington coach Scott Earley said last week the only schools Roland is still considering are, in order of preference, South Caroina, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Clemson was among Roland's many offers but did not make the final cut.
"Before football season starts, he will commit in the summer," Earley said. "He's going to enjoy his senior year."
Roland was at South Carolina on Saturday for a photo shoot and some of the junior day activities. Earley said the Gamecocks are a firm leader.
"He likes that it's real close to home, real close to his momma and the people of Lexington," he said. "That's big for him for them to be able to see him play."
Roland will go to Alabama for a camp this summer and will make an AAU basketball team trip to Florida. And he and his coach will make a visit to Georgia. Last season, he caught 58 passes for 1,033 yards and 10 touchdowns, rushed for 684 yards and 10 touchdowns, had three interceptions returning two for scores, and he passed for six scores. In all, he accounted for 39 touchdowns last season.
In other recruiting news: Bamberg-Ehrhardt DL Martin Aiken was offered last week by Alabama.
Aiken also picked up offers last week from Louisville and Miami of Ohio. Auburn also has offered and is very interested and he will visit there on March 26. South Carolina and Clemson also among his offers. Others include Georgia Tech, Illinois, Tennessee, N.C. State, East Carolina, Virginia Tech, Duke, North Carolina and Texas Tech. Aiken was at South Carolina's junior day Saturday.
Clemson has owned the recruiting rights to Daniel High School, or so it seems, in recent years, and the Tigers have their eye on the latest big time prospect to come out of Randy Robinson's program. The Tigers became the first to offer DL Shaq Lawson (6-3, 245) earlier this week. But unlike some of those before him at Daniel, Lawson did not immediately jump to commit.
Robinson expects East Carolina to be the next offer for Lawson. He has visited Clemson several times and he's been to a game at N.C. State. South Carolina and Georgia Tech also have shown some interest. Last season, Lawson had 100 tackles with 13 sacks and 23 tackles for loss. Though he hasn't committed to Clemson, Robinson said the Tigers are the big favorites for Lawson.
One of Georgia's top prospects, RB Imani Cross, (6-0, 215) of Gainesville, attended South Carolina's junior day Saturday. Cross is the brother of Georgia Tech defensive end Izaan Cross, who was heavily recruited by the Gamecocks. The younger Cross had the Gamecocks at the top of his list. He has offers from Virginia, Georgia Tech, Central Florida, Maryland, Tennessee, and UCLA.
RB Justin Taylor (5-11, 210) of Millen, Ga., is coached by former South Carolina RB Stanley Pritchett. Pritchett says he would like to see more interest from USC and Clemson for his player.
DL Darius Williams (6-2, 280) is another of Pritchett's players who he says is interested in South Carolina and Clemson. Williams has visited Georgia Tech and Florida. Williams led his team in sacks with 11 last season and had 45 tackles.
South Carolina signed LB Cedrick Cooper of Lithonia, Ga., earlier this month and the Gamecocks will be going to back to the Atlanta suburb in pursuit of highly regarded OL Joe Harris (6-4, 320). In fact, right now the Gamecocks and Alabama are emerging as two of the front runners.
Harris has offers from Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Mississippi and Arkansas. Harris actually grew up in the Clemson area before moving to Georgia, but he does not have strong interest in the Tigers right now, according to Morrison. Harris has been to Alabama for a junior day and will be at USC for the spring game according to Morrison.
DB Jordan Diggs (6-2, 194) of Fort Myers, Fla., is the son of former South Carolina linebacker Shed Diggs, and he holds an offer from the Gamecocks.
He has offers from Ohio State, Maryland, Boston College and Central Florida. Diggs said he's hearing from Notre Dame, Alabama, Louisville, Florida, Miami, Connecticut, Florida State and South Florida.
Diggs plays both safety positions and last season he had 62 tackles and three interceptions. He also plays wide receiver and will line up at quarterback in the Wildcat.
OL Vadal Alexander (6-6, 310) of Buford, Ga., has offers from Clemson, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, North Carolina, N.C. State, Ohio State, and Oregon among others.
OL Nick Davidson (6-6, 270) of Charlotte has offers from Clemson, South Carolina, Stanford, N.C. State, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Notre Dame among others according to his coach Adam Hastings. Davidson has visited Stanford and Virginia Tech and is planning trips to Clemson, South Carolina and N.C. State.
DL Jordan Watkins (6-5, 265) of College Park, Ga., has 19 offers in all including one from South Carolina. Among his others are Georgia Tech, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke, Wake Forest, Purdue, Penn State, Stanford, Notre Dame, and Connecticut. Watkins has been to a game at South Carolina and plans to come in for a spring practice. Watkins had 65 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery as a junior. He does not have a favorite.
ATH Taylor Barton (6-2, 205) of Orlando, Fla., is hearing from South Carolina, Clemson, Florida, Duke, and Wake Forest among others but has not been offered. Barton has been to junior days at Duke, Wake Forest, and Florida.
Two of the state's top OL prospects, Patrick Destefano of Dorman and Oliver Jones of Ninety Six attended South Carolina's junior day Saturday. Destefano remains open with his recruiting while he juggles numerous offers. Jones is favoring Clemson slightly over the Gamecocks.
Some of the other top in-state prospects at USC's junior day were: ATH Cordrea Tankersley of Silver Bluff, WR Kwinton Smith of Dillon, Allendale-Fairfax DB Ronald Geohagan, DE Gimel President of Wando, WR Chris Brown of Hanahan, committed RB Kendrick Salley of Williston-Elko, OL Javarius Leamon of Woodruff.
Shooting guard Devin Coleman (6-3, 195), of the Philadelphia suburb of Wynnewood, will make an official visit to Clemson this weekend and it's possible he'll commit to Brad Brownell. His parents will join him on the visit.
"Clemson has been recruiting me since early January and there is a high level of interest," Coleman said. "They tell me I could fit in well in their system. And their offense is like what we run in high school. I want to make my decision soon and Clemson is my favorite right now."
Coleman also holds offers from LaSalle, St. Joseph's, Penn, Temple and Rice. Penn State and Rhode Island also are showing interest. Coleman is averaging 16 points, eight rebounds and three assists per game this season.