USC gets one major commitment, loses another; Clemson closing in on linebacker
Special to The Post and Courier
While South Carolina hit one out of the park at Arkansas Saturday, the Gamecocks only batted.500 with two of their top recruiting targets over the weekend. The Gamecocks landed offensive lineman Donell Stanley of Latta but missed on wide receiver Braxton Berrios of Raleigh.
Stanley, a Shrine Bowl selection, picked the Gamecocks over Clemson after eliminating Alabama and North Carolina.
“It’s closer to home, a quality SEC school, one of the top ones in the conference, and I just like what the coaches bring to the table, especially coach (Shawn) Elliott,” Stanley said after his announcement.
Berrios, also a Shrine Bowl pick, chose Miami over USC, Tennessee, Oregon and Kentucky. Berrios made several visits to USC but he was a long time Hurricanes fan.
Defensive lineman Dexter Wideman of Saluda was one of the 40 players selected for the South Carolina Shrine Bowl team. Wideman has been publicly committed to Florida State since the summer but he never closed the door on USC and his coach says the commitment to the Seminoles is very soft at best right now.
“He’s still got Florida State in his mind too,” Doug Painter said. “He doesn’t know right now, to be honest with you. He’s torn because South Carolina is closer to home and he’s been to a lot of games there. He likes the coaches but he likes the coaches at Florida State too.”
Wideman will take an official visit to Florida State for the Miami game. He also plans to take an official visit to USC.
Defensive end Andrew Williams of McDonough, Ga., has a final six of Clemson, USC, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Ole Miss and Auburn. There is no order to his list and he won’t take official visits until after his season.
Tennessee will be the school left out of official visits because he recently visited there. Williams has not made it to Clemson or USC for a game this season but said he may try to get to USC’s next home game.
Williams said he’s hearing from Clemson about every other day.
“They are having a great season and great potential on their defense,” Williams said. He’s also hearing regularly from USC and he’s aware of the Gamecocks’ need at his position.
“I can see an opportunity with Jadeveon (Clowney) and the other guy (Chaz Sutton) leaving,” Williams said. “The other two (defensive ends) are probably like 200 pounds soaking wet (Williams weighs 250). I think I can go up there and make an impact if I did choose them.”
Williams said he won’t make his decision until after his visits and he may wait to announce at the Army All American Game.
Linebacker Raekwom McMillan of Hinesville, Ga., will be at Clemson this weekend for his official visit. He was at Clemson earlier in the season for the Georgia game and he’s looking at the official visit as an important step in his decision making process.
“I’ve liked Clemson for a long time,” McMillan said. “This (the visit) will dictate whether they are going to lock me in. I know everything about Clemson. I just want to see if the can pull out this big game, and I’m going to have a good time.”
McMillan has done his scouting of Clemson’s linebackers and the work of defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who just happens to coach the linebackers.
“I like the way he attacks with linebackers and blitzes off the edge,” he said.
McMillan has taken an official visit to Georgia. He goes to Ohio State Oct. 25, Alabama Nov. 8 and Florida Nov. 30.
Defensive end Dante Sawyer of Suwanee, Ga., visited Auburn recently and he told AuburnSports.com he does not have a favorite. Asked specifically about reports USC was the clear leader, Sawyer replied, “Not true. That’s final.”
Sawyer added that he’s no longer considering Alabama and has a short list of USC, Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee and Missouri. He plans to take some official visits before making his decision and confirmed only Auburn for one of those visits at this time.
Wide receiver Artavis Scott of Tarpon Springs, Fla., committed to Clemson in July and is not wavering from his decision.
“I am committed (to Clemson) 100 percent,” Scott said. Scott visited Clemson for the home opener versus Georgia and was there this past weekend as well.
Defensive lineman Quaven Ferguson of Easley has offers from Furman and Duke, and Georgia Tech is showing interest. He has been to games at Duke and Georgia Tech this season. He does not have a favorite and has no plans to commit anytime soon.
Tight end KC Crosby of Bamberg-Ehrhardt committed to USC in June and remains strong with the Gamecocks.
“I’m pretty solid,” Crosby said. “I’m not going anywhere else and will sign my Letter of Intent (with USC).”
Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and several other schools continue to send Crosby mail but he says he is not speaking with any other program other than USC.
Defensive end Cory Thomas of McCadory, Ala., is now favoring Tennessee after visiting there. He lists the other schools on his list in order as Mississippi State, Florida, Florida State and Clemson. He plans to take all of his official visits before making his decision.
Clemson is one of the five offers for junior QB Lorenzo Nunez of Kennesaw, Ga. His other offers are from Ohio State, Tennessee, Kentucky and Charlotte. He’s also getting interest from Florida, Florida State and Miami.
Nunez said he talks to Clemson weekly and they want him to come in for a game. He’s expecting quarterback coach Chad Morris to come to one of his games in the next month. Nunez feels good about Morris’ interest in him. “I know he’s told me I’m among the top 10-15 quarterbacks on their roster right now,” Nunez said. Nunez was at Clemson for the Georgia game and was at Georgia for the LSU game. He’s going to Ohio State October 26th for the Penn State game. There is no favorite at this point.
Chason Virgil (6-2 170) of Mesquite, Tex., plans to be at Clemson this weekend. This will be his second trip to Clemson. He visited in early August with his sister, brother and brother-in-law. This time his mother will be part of the traveling party. Clemson quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Chad Morris is recruiting Virgil and the two talk frequently.
“He says he likes me as a quarterback and he really wants me out there,” Virgil said. “He feels like when my time comes, I can be the big guy, I can be better than Tajh Boyd.” Virgil also has offers from Arizona State, UCLA, Nebraska, Missouri, Mississippi State, Texas and Toledo. The only game he’s been to this season was Arizona State vs. Notre Dame in Arlington.
Last season Virgil passed for 2300 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 400 yards and 23 scores. Right now he does not have a favorite and he wants to make his decision before spring ball. Also joining Virgil on the visit will be his teammate, WR Akilian Butler. Virgil said Clemson has also offered Butler and is his only offer so far.
Catcher Jared Martin of Chattahoochee Valley JC in Phenix City, AL committed to USC for the 2014 class. The Atlanta native batted .354 with 3 home runs and 45 RBIs last season. Defensively Martin committed just 1 error and threw out 9 of 17 runners attempting to steal. Martin gives the Gamecocks 14 pledges in the 2014 class.
Grant Bodison (6-2 170), a highly regarded shortstop from Mauldin, committed to USC becoming the Gamecocks’ first commitment for the 2016 class. Some of the other schools on his list were Clemson, Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, Florida State, NC State, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. PerfectGame ranks Bodison as the 52nd best player in the country in his class and calls him “an extremely high ceiling player.”