South Carolina focuses on beefing up offensive line on the recruiting trail

  • Posted: Monday, September 30, 2013 8:38 p.m.

Offensive lineman Donell Stanley of Latta had planned to take last week to set up his official visits. Instead, Stanley decided not to take any official visits.

He said he’s ready to make his decision and is close to doing so. Stanley has narrowed his choices to South Carolina, Alabama and North Carolina. He has visited each unofficially and has gathered enough information from those visits to make his decision, which is expected within the next two weeks.

Stanley has not publicly stated a favorite throughout his recruiting, but it’s become apparent that USC has made the strongest push for him. Gamecocks offensive line coach Shawn Elliott was at Stanley’s game last week.

USC is looking to add immediate depth to the offensive line and has offered two junior college tackles.

The Gamecocks went back in on a player they recruited for the 2011 class but did not land — Jordan Prestwood (6-6, 310), a native of Tampa, Fla., who attends Arizona Western JC. He was a tight end coming out of high school but has grown into a much sought-after offensive tackle. He signed with Florida State in 2011 but later transferred to Notre Dame. He left South Bend, Ind., and eventually landed in Yuma. Florida State, Auburn, Mississippi, California and San Diego State have also offered.

Chad Mavety (6-5, 320) of Nassau JC, N.Y., also picked up an offer from USC last week. Like Prestwood, Mavety is a highly recruited JUCO target. Ohio State, Florida State and Alabama are among other schools who have offered him.

In other recruiting news:

Wide receiver Braxton Berrios of Raleigh has set an announcement date for Oct. 12 at noon. He has taken official visits to USC, Miami and Oregon, and is scheduled to visit Tennessee on Oct. 5.

Defensive lineman Cory Thomas of McCalla, Ala., has Clemson, Mississippi State, Florida, Florida State and Tennessee as his top five. He plans to take official visits to each of those schools. Thomas also plans to attend the Clemson-Florida State game, but said that this would not be his official visit to the Upstate. Clemson assistant Marion Hobby has kept in contact with Thomas and paid a recent visit to McCalla for a game. Thomas has been to Auburn and Tennessee for games. He’s not claiming a favorite.

Former Lexington High RB Kevin Miller (5-8, 160) was one of the state’s leading rushers in 2011 as he helped lead the Wildcats to the Class AAAA playoffs. He rushed for 1,700 yards and 25 touchdowns that season. He has since taken his talents to nearby Gray Military Academy in Columbia, where three games into this season he’s averaging 150 rushing yards per game. Schools are starting to notice Miller again, and his coach said Clemson is one taking a look.

“Clemson is pretty serious,” coach Rod Lorick said. “Kevin is one of those dashing, darting tailbacks who kind of reminds you of C.J. Spiller. He’s got that kind of speed.”

Talking to coach Robbie Caldwell and coach Jeff Scott up there, there is some interest there. Kevin really likes the school, and I believe he really wants to go to the Upstate. He really fits that high tempo, quick spread offense of Clemson. I think it would be a good fit.” Lorick added that Miller has dedicated himself into become a major college prospect. “He’s gotten bigger, faster, stronger and he has all the intangibles that any Division I university looks for. Kevin Miller is going to be a great pickup for whoever decides to go after this young man. Clemson has spoken a lot about Kevin.” There have been no offers yet for Miller, but Lorick expects that to change as Miller begins to take some visits. “Come November, he’s going to have a lot of offers.”

Florida has been one of the three favorites of DE Michael Barnett of Woodland, and he was at The Swamp for the Tennessee game earlier in the season. That game was the third college game Barnett has ever attended. The first was the Georgia-Clemson game earlier this season. Barnett was also at USC for the Vanderbilt game. Right now Barnett is holding with his top three of Virginia Tech, Florida and Florida State in that order, and he said Clemson is creeping up but has not cracked his top three. He also talked with Florida State and plans to get there for a game. He also plans to return to Clemson for a game.

DB Tyreik Lyles of Byrnes committed to Wofford last week.

Basketball


USC basketball coach Frank Martin was back in Jacksonville recently to check on 6-7 Dante Buford, according to Arlington Country Day coach Rex Morgan. And he’s expecting USC back to see Buford on Oct. 3. Morgan said Martin has made it clear to him and Buford what he thinks of the player. “He’s their No. 1 guy at that position, so he said it’s imperative they get him,” Morgan said. “He said it’s important to him.” Morgan said Buford, a native of Simpsonville, still isn’t tipping his hand. “He’s enjoying being recruited a little bit,” the coach said. “I think he likes everybody. Does he want to stay close to home and play in state or go outside?” Buford is set with three official visits for sure. He will go to Oklahoma on Oct. 4 and Miami on Oct. 11. And he is set to visit USC on Nov. 1. He is also scheduled to visit Oklahoma State and Southern Cal, but Morgan is not sure he will take those two trips. Morgan said Martin also remains interested in 6-9 Ledamian Keys, though Keys is partial to DePaul right now.

Donte Grantham (6-8) of Hargrave Prep, Va., should have his decision this week, his coach said Thursday, and that decision is down to Clemson and Michigan. Grantham, the West Virginia player of the year last season, made an unofficial visit to Clemson this past Saturday and was also in for the Georgia football game. He took an official visit to Clemson last spring. He made official visits to Michigan and Cincinnati as well. Clemson recruiter Steve Smith visited Grantham on Tuesday, and Tigers head coach Brad Brownell has made several stops by the school. “They’ve done a great job recruiting him,” said Hargrave coach AW Hamilton. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he chooses either one. Clemson has been recruiting him the longest. I’m impressed with those guys.” As of Thursday, Grantham was still working on the decision. “He’s still going back and forth,” his coach said. Hamilton said Grantham is an excellent outside shooter who is very skilled and handles the basketball well.

Baseball


Shortstop Madison Stokes (6-3, 195) of AC Flora last week committed to USC for the 2014 class. Stokes had been committed to The Citadel. Clemson and North Carolina were two other schools he considered before choosing the Gamecocks. Stokes helped lead Flora to the Class AAA state championship last season. Stokes joins his Falcon teammate 2B Everett Eynon as Gamecocks commitments and gives USC 13 pledges for the 2014 class.

Outfielder KJ Bryant of Wade Hampton, who committed to USC last year for the 2014 class, has flipped to Clemson. Bryant batted over .400 each of the past two seasons and is considered the top outfielder prospect in the state for his class. He’s the Tigers eighth commitment for the 2014 class.

Bryant is one of four 2014 USC commitments no longer committed to the Gamecocks. OF DJ Burt of Fuquay-Varina, N.C., is now committed to N.C. State. SS Seth Lancaster of Hanahan is now a Coastal Carolina commitment, and LHP Nate Matheson of Virginia is now committed to Old Dominion.

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