South Carolina quarterbacks coach GA Mangus, who handles all of the quarterback recruiting for the Gamecocks, has a pretty good track record of landing his top targets.
In fact, he’s been pretty much perfect over his years in Columbia. But that record will be tested Friday when Drew Barker of Hebron, Ky., makes his announcement. Barker is choosing between USC, Kentucky and Tennessee, though he said Sunday at an Elite 11 Regional Camp in Chicago that Notre Dame is close to offering and would become a late factor with an offer.
Mangus was one of the first to offer Barker, and he’s the only quarterback Mangus has been recruiting for the 2014 class. Barker has always had the Gamecocks high on his list.
But first-year Kentucky coach Mark Stoops has made Barker an absolute priority, something that was not the case when Joker Phillips was coach. According to a story in Saturday’s Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, the Wildcats coaching staff sent Barker over 100 handwritten cards and letters on two different days, one last month and one this month. And the Wildcats coaches are selling him on the idea of staying home and becoming the local hero much like Tim Couch, Jared Lorenzen and Andre Woodson.
Mangus had a very good visit with Barker in late April and he plans to make one more visit this week. At 3:30 p.m. Friday, Barker will become either be the toast of the Bluegrass State or just the latest major talent from the Commonwealth to decide to play where football rules.
In other recruiting news:
USC offered rising junior WR Dexter Neal (6-3, 195) of Stone Mountain, Ga., on Friday, and Neal says he plans on committing to the Gamecocks at some point. After getting his offer, Neal took to his Twitter page and wrote about his plans: “I’m sure that I’m commiting to USC but ahh my junior year will be the time.” Neal also has offers from North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and Cincinnati.
TE Kalan Ritchie of Goose Creek committed to USC last week. Ritchie picked the Gamecocks over Clemson and N.C. State. He also held offers from Virginia Tech and Connecticut. Ritchie is USC’s third commitment for the 2014 class.
The sole offer for DL KJ Ford of Bluffton is N.C. State, but he continues to hear from Clemson, USC, Florida State, Louisville, Central Florida and Western Carolina. Clemson was by last week and is returning this week for practice. USC also plans to check out his practice this week.
OL Nolan Kelleher of Wando picked up an offer from Wake Forest last week, bringing his total to 15. His other offers include North Carolina, N.C. State, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, East Carolina, Connecticut, Duke, West Virginia, South Florida and Central Florida. He is hearing from Clemson, Stanford, Arkansas and Alabama among others.
Should Clemson offer, he would return for a visit and strongly consider the Tigers. USC has told Kelleher they have filled up at his position. Kelleher does not have any favorites.
DL Harold Landry of Fayetteville, N.C., committed to Boston College several weeks ago. His other offers include USC, Clemson, N.C. State, Duke, Miami, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, East Carolina, Appalachian State and The Citadel. He visited Clemson and USC prior to his commitment. Landry says he is strong is his commitment but has not ruled out the possibility of visiting others schools including return trips to Clemson and USC.
TE RJ Tyler of Wagener-Sally has an offer from Appalachian State and is hearing from Clemson, The Citadel, Furman, Georgia Southern and NC State among others. Clemson, Furman and The Citadel have visited him this spring. Tyler will attend camps at USC, USC, The Citadel, Furman and NC State. He does not have any favorites.
LB Raekwon McMillan of Hinesville, Ga., plans to narrow his list to a top five this summer and announce a decision at the Under Armour Game in January. Coaches from Clemson, Alabama and Ohio State have been by to see him this spring. Clemson recruiter Brent Venables has the Tigers very much in the mix. “He’s one of the coach I talk to all the time. He’s telling me that if I came there would be a great chance to play a lot at mike linebacker. He’s really aggressive and likes to send his linebackers on blitzes and get to the quarterback.” McMillan’s only visit this spring was to Georgia for the spring game. He will visit more places this summer and then come out with a top five. “Clemson is in pretty good shape,” he said. McMillan said he talks the most with Clemson, Ohio State and Alabama.
DB DJ Smith of Marietta, Ga., has offers from Clemson, USC, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio State, Michigan, North Carolina, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Kentucky, Florida, Michigan State and Indiana among others. He plans to visit the Tigers and Gamecocks over the summer. USC assistant coach Grady Brown visited with Smith last week. Both schools are strong with Smith. Other schools to visit Smith have been Ohio State and Georgia Tech.. He does not have any favorites.
DB John Battle of Hallandale, FL has offers from USC, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Kentucky, Louisville, Vanderbilt, South Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Florida State, Marshall, Rutgers and Northwestern among others. Battle has not yet visited USC but plans to this summer. Battle cited the defense and the success of USC defensive backs in the NFL that interests him in the Gamecocks. He has already visited Florida State and South Florida and enjoyed both trips. Other than USC, Battle would like to visit Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisville and several schools in the state of North Carolina this summer. He plans to narrow his list to six prior to his senior season.
DE Jesse Aniebonam of Olney, Md., has not narrowed his list to a top group but when he does, Clemson and USC stand a very good chance of being on that list. Aniebonam said last week he remains very interested in both, and both are “on top of my list” though he’s not naming any favorites right now. Neither school has been by this spring but he’s expecting Clemson’s Brent Venables to visit soon. He has been in touch with Venables and USC recruiter GA Mangus. Tennessee, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame and Stanford have been thru. Aniebonam visited Maryland and Virginia Tech this spring and will visit USC and Clemson this summer. He’s also looking at possible visits to Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame. He plans to make a decision before the season.
DB Dominique Brown of Ocala, FL has offers from USC, Florida International and Middle Tennessee. He is hearing from Florida, Florida State, LSU, Auburn, Duke and North Carolina among others. Brown named USC, LSU and Florida State as his favorites. He has not spoken with anyone from the USC coaching staff recently but continues to receive mail from the Gamecocks. His most recent contact has come from Missouri. This summer he plans to attend camps at FSU, Florida and North Caroling among others. He did not name a leader.
DL Zeek Rodney of South Pointe added offers from Boston College, Louisiana-Lafayette, Marshall and Appalachian State to his offers from SC State and Charlotte. Rodney is expecting several schools to come by during spring practice including Kansas State and UCLA. He wants to attend several camps over the summer but has only a Clemson camp scheduled right now.
6-7 Donte Grantham of Martinsburg, WVA made an official visit to Clemson Thursday thru Saturday. His mother joined him on the visit. He’s also considering Miami, West Virginia, Maryland, Penn State and Xavier. Grantham is also considering going to prep school.
6-10 Sidy Mohamed Djitte of Senegal made an official visit to Memphis last week. He has visited Clemson and Cincinnati. Djitte attends school in Fayetteville, NC. He plans to sit down with his host family this weekend go over the pros and cons of each school and then come to a decision.
PG Jaylen Shaw of Hartsville was officially announced Friday by USC coach Frank Martin as the 8th member of this recruiting class. “We’re excited about Jaylen Shaw,” Martin said in a release. “The young man is an ultimate competitor. He’s proven that he’s a winner by getting back-to-back state championships. We are excited about the athleticism and skill that he brings to our team.” Shaw averaged 24 points and 8 assists per game last season. He was named the MVP of the Carolinas All Star Classic after scoring 24 points and dishing out 8 assists.
5-10 Will Adams of Johnson City, TN signed with Presbyterian. He’s the fourth signee for the Blue Hose.
6-10 Kyle Buffkin of Fork Union Prep, VA signed with Coastal Carolina.