Clemson hired Brent Venables as new defensive coordinator just in time to meet with four major defensive recruits who made official football visits over the weekend. The Tigers hosted linebacker Cassanova McKinzy of Birmingham, Ala.; defensive end Jamichael Winston of Mobile, Ala.; defensive lineman DJ Reader of Greensboro, N.C., and defensive back Ronald Darby of Oxon Hill, Md.
McKinzy has been committed to Auburn but was tight- lipped about his decision Sunday following his visit. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is to visit him Tuesday. Auburn's Gene Chizik will be in on Thursday. He told Scout.com Sunday night he's still holding to his Auburn commitment.
Winston has been an Arkansas commitment and will visit Michigan State this coming weekend before making his final decision.
Reader is down to the Tigers and Maryland. Clemson's Swinney is scheduled for his in-home visit Thursday. Maryland coaches also are expected to visit this week. Reader, who also will play baseball in college, plans to make his announcement on Signing Day.
Darby, who was once a Notre Dame commitment, also is strongly considering Auburn and Florida State. He might not announce until after Signing Day, when he'll be playing in the International Bowl in Austin, Texas.
In other recruiting news:
Perhaps the most intrigue on Sunday came from a prospect who stayed home. USC commitment RB Mike Davis said Sunday afternoon he would to take an official visit to Clemson, following through on a visit he had scheduled weeks ago. His brother, former Clemson star RB James Davis, had in fact been urging his brother to make the visit. But later in the afternoon, James Davis, on his Twitter account, posted that the visit was off at the request of Swinney. James Davis, who was at Clemson over the weekend, went on to write some less than flattering things about Swinney and his opinion about how the cancellation of the visit was handled.
WR Chris Brown of Hanahan had a brief meeting with USC recruiter Steve Spurrier Jr. last week at his school. He has been committed to Notre Dame and Spurrier Jr. wanted to check with him to see if he would be interested in a visit to the Gamecocks. He said Friday night he is solid with the Fighting Irish and will not take any more visits.
USC apparently missed on DB Chris Moody of McDonough, Ga. He committed to Vanderbilt over the weekend while on his official visit. He has been scheduled to visit USC this coming weekend.
USC is also going to miss out on Vandy commitment DE Josh Dawson of Tucker, Ga. Last week, he set up a visit with the Gamecocks for this weekend, but after visiting Vanderbilt over the weekend, he decided not to take any more visits. He will finalize a decision between Vandy and Georgia.
Gaffney WR Quinshad Davis made an official visit to UNC over the weekend. He also has visited Wake Forest and is scheduled to visit Tennessee this weekend. USC also has been on Davis' list, but no USC recruiter visited Davis last week, which could mean USC is cooling its interest. Vols head coach Derek Dooley made an in-home visit with Davis last week.
DE Kenderius Whitehead of Atlanta committed to N.C. State last week, stunning Clemson and Georgia and surprising USC. He was, for most of the recruiting campaign, thought to be a strong lean to Georgia. Then he visited Clemson and it appeared the Tigers were in strong shape. And last week, USC met with him and got him to schedule an official visit. But he apparently ended it all Wednesday night when he notified the Wolfpack and made his pledge.
USC has not thrown in the towel totally on DB Eli Shumate of Ramsey, N.J. He once favored the Gamecocks before changing to Notre Dame. He committed to the Irish this month. Last week, USC recruiter Jeep Hunter met briefly with Shumate at his school, but he has not indicated any shift away from the Irish at this point.
USC offensive line coach Shawn Elliott was at Dillon on Friday focusing on OL Bryce King. The junior picked up offers last week from Tennessee and Virginia Tech, and has an offer from Clemson. King said Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell has taken over recruiting his area for former assistant Kevin Steele, and he talked on the phone with Caldwell last week. Tennessee also was by the school last week. He has no favorite. King's Dillon teammate OL DJ Park committed to USC last week.
Clemson and USC had recruiters at Goose Creek last week and one player on their check on list was LB Gerald Turner. He has offers from both and is also getting interest from Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. "I'm going to go to Clemson and USC for junior days and I might go to Georgia Tech," Turner said. He said he does not have a favorite and has no timetable for a decision.
WR Tramel Terry of Goose Creek visited Clemson two weekends ago and is going back this Saturday for junior day. He's also going to USC and Georgia for junior days. He said he has no favorites right now but noted Clemson gained ground. He said he has not planned a time frame for making a decision.
USC's first quarterback offer for the 2013 class went out last week to Christian Hackenberg of Fork Union, Va. USC joins Tennessee, Rutgers, Virginia, Alabama, Connecticut and Miami as his early offers.
LB Devaris Brunson of Lake City is a three-year starter. Clemson and USC are showing the most interest.
OL Logan Tuley-Tillman of Peoria, Ill., has offers from USC, FSU, Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Wisconsin, among others. He plans to visit USC the summer.
OL Joshua Outlaw of Lithonia, Ga., has offers including USC, Florida and USF, and Clemson is among others he is hearing from.
WR Juwan Dickey of Marietta, Ga., has offers from South Florida and Southern Miss, with interest coming from Clemson and others. He does not have a leader.