Clemson continued its hot in-state football recruiting this summer with a commitment Sunday from Bamberg-Ehrhardt defensive end Martin Aiken.
Aiken is the sixth in-state commitment for the Tigers and 12th overall for their 2012 class. The 6-3, 250-pound Aiken chose the Tigers over South Carolina and Georgia Tech. He camped at Clemson earlier this month and also made trips to USC and Georgia Tech. He narrowed his list to those final three from a long list of offers that also included Tennessee, Illinois, East Carolina, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech, Auburn, North Carolina, Louisville, Alabama, Michigan, Arkansas and Southern Cal.
"Every time I went there, I felt that it was the place for me," Aiken said. "Clemson really touched me."
He had said he was looking for an atmosphere similar to what he enjoyed in Bamberg, and he was also looking for a certain attitude among the players.
"I want to be where there will be some blue-collar workers, guys not afraid to get dirty," Aiken said.
Aiken will follow in the path of former Red Raiders stars Rickey Sapp and Da'Quan Bowers, who went on to All American careers at Clemson.
Both consulted with Aiken earlier this month regarding his decision.
Aiken is firm with his commitment, saying, "I'm not going to take any more visits because I know where I want to be. I'm going to miss (the recruiting process), because it's a once-in-a-lifetime chance, but at the same time I'm glad it's over."
He is the 12th commitment for Clemson's 2012 class.
In other recruiting news:
Last week, Clemson reached into Arkansas for a commitment, gaining a pledge from that state's top prospect in RB Zac Brooks (6-1, 180) of Jonesboro. He picked the Tigers over Arkansas, Auburn and Notre Dame. Brooks camped at Clemson earlier this month, and that sold him on the Tigers.
USC picked up a commitment last week from DE Darius English (6-6, 215) of Powder Springs, Ga. He picked the Gamecocks over Arkansas. Plus, he had offers from Kentucky, Illinois, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Auburn.
QB Brendan Nosovitch of Allentown, Pa., attended Maryland's camp last week but his focus right now is on USC, according to his father.
"There's no doubt South Carolina has always been very high on his list and that remains the case," Gene Nosovitch said. "He's getting closer and closer to a decision. ... But he wants to get comfortable with his decision and he wants to have more discussions with coach (G.A.) Mangus." Nosovitch has previously said Mangus told him he is the No. 1 quarterback prospect on the USC board. He was at a USC camp this month where he worked out in front of Mangus and head coach Steve Spurrier.
TE Kelvin Rainey of Yulee, Fla., also may be closing in on making his commitment, and USC remains the clear favorite at this point.
"The USC lead is pretty big, but anything can happen," Rainey said. "I've thought about committing on my birthday, July 5."
DL Eddie Goldman (6-4, 305) of Washington, D.C., has visited the Palmetto State before and he and his coach were scheduled to be at USC on Monday. Goldman visited Clemson in the spring. The Tigers and Gamecocks are two of the 15 finalists for Goldman, considered by some the top defensive line prospect in the country. The others on his list are Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Maryland, Miami, UNC, N.C. State, Oklahoma, Virginia and California. He has also visited Cal, Maryland, Alabama, Miami, UNC, FSU, Florida and West Virginia. He does not claim any favorites among his final 15 and he doesn't plan to make a decision until Signing Day.
Hanahan WR Chris Brown was at USC's recent camp and he left Columbia with an offer from the Gamecocks. Brown visited Clemson and Georgia in the spring. The USC camp was the first for Brown this summer, and he doesn't have any future camps or visits planned. That's because he is involved in high-profile track events, since he is the No. 1-rated high school triple jumper in the country. He's not claiming any real favorites but he said right now USC, Virginia Tech, Cincinnati and UNC stand out the most with him.
OL Martin Zandi (6-9, 275) of Chapin made waves at Clemson and USC camps this month, and last week both stepped up with offers. Zandi was relieved to get the offers but said he's not going to rush a decision.
"I've got three schools I'm looking at in USC, Clemson and East Carolina," he said. "I want to get to know the coaching staffs at the schools."
Zandi is a newcomer to the offensive line. He spent the past two seasons as a defensive end. He will play left tackle for Justin Gentry this season.
Lexington WR Shaq Roland visited Georgia over the weekend after checking out Florida earlier in the week. Those are his final two visits this summer before he makes his decision, according to coach Scott Earley. Earley said Roland continues to favor USC with Alabama, Georgia and Florida the next three schools in order. Earley said Roland has made numerous visits to USC and was on campus last week for a basketball tournament. Earley said Roland will announce his commitment in August before the start of his season.
USC's interest in WR Cordarrelle Patterson of Hutchinson JC, Kan., seems to have dropped off. Patterson, a product of Northwestern High, said recently he hasn't heard from Gamecocks recruiter Steve Spurrier Jr. in a while.
"They are not showing much interest, so I don't have much interest," said Patterson, who at one point had planned to visit USC this summer.
DE Jhaustin Thomas (6-6, 233) of Decatur, Ga., has narrowed his list to USC, Clemson, Florida and Alabama. He has offers from each as well as Georgia, Auburn, Penn State, Virginia and Ole Miss, among others. He has visited Florida and will visit Clemson, USC and Alabama next month. He plans to make his decision before his season. Thomas says all four of his top schools are even.
Clemson target OL of Brentwood, Tenn., committed last week to Stanford.
USC is one of the major programs showing interest in promising 6-11 Waverly Austin of Palm Beach (Fla.) State JC, where he is coached by former Furman coach Butch Estes. Austin is from Fredericksburg, Va., and he told a newspaper that among the schools he's hearing from right now are USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, DePaul, UAB, Wichita State, Washington State, Arizona State, Providence, Cincinnati, Miami, Maryland and South Florida. Austin signed with South Florida out of high school but did not qualify.
USC received a commitment for the 2012 class from RHP Tyler Jackson (6-4, 180) of Wren. Last season, he was named all-region and all-state. Clemson and the College of Charleston were also recruiting him.
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