Defensive end Darrius Caldwell of Pearl River JC in Mississippi talked Friday with USC recruiter Deke Adams and was told there is no decision yet from a university standpoint about being able to admit him.
"Things are still at a standstill until the semester grades come out," Caldwell said. "I think I did alright. I think it should come through.
"Not much has changed. They still want to get me in, but they want to see how the academic things turn out, see how I finish the semester and this May."
Caldwell said he is on track to graduate in May, and he's hopeful of then moving on to Columbia from his Atlanta home.
"South Carolina is where I want to be," he said. "I always wanted to play for a big-time coach. I always wanted to play for an established coach. And their defense is tough. They play great defense, and I think I can go in and help."
Caldwell signed with Illinois out of high school and spent two seasons there before transferring to Pearl River for this season. He would have two years to play two.
Caldwell continues to pick up offers, with Memphis and Cincinnati the latest to offer. He also has offers from Southern Miss, Louisiana-Lafayette, UAB, South Alabama and West Alabama.
In other recruiting news:
Shrine Bowl DL Poona Ford of Hilton Head has been committed to Louisville since late summer, but he got a visit recently from USC recruiter Lorenzo Ward and told media at Shrine Bowl practice last week he might take a visit with the Gamecocks in January.
"We've talked a little bit and I don't know how much of that was him just saying that or him actually doing that," Hilton Head coach BJ Payne said. "I know it's crossed his mind. But me, just knowing the kid and the communication that I've had with the kid, I think he's a lot more locked in to Louisville than he appears to let on. If you're asking me if he's wavering or anything like that, not at all. I think he's a kid that's true to his word and I think the only thing that would really change anything is if Charlie Strong took the job in Texas, and then I think he might open things back up again."
Ford will take an official visit to Louisville in January, and Payne is not convinced he'll take one to USC. Payne said USC recruiter Everette Sands also was in to visit Ford and along with Ward expressed serious interest for Ford. Louisville, USC and Tennessee were Ford's top three before he committed to the Cardinals.
USC hit on one of its big recruiting needs last week with a commitment from highly regarded DE Dante Sawyer (6-3, 250) of Suwanee, Ga. However, Sawyer said he "probably" will take other visits, naming Georgia, Missouri and Auburn as other stops besides a Jan. 17 visit to USC. With the Gamecocks losing starting defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Chaz Sutton, recruiter Deke Adams sold Sawyer on the chance for early playing time, saying that "played a big factor." Sawyer visited USC for the Mississippi State game and it was then when he got the feeling about becoming a Gamecocks.
"Being at South Carolina was just a great feeling," Sawyer said. "That's where God wants me to be, and I follow what God says. When I went there I saw how it was to be there." Sawyer helped lead his team to a state championship game and finished the season with 60 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and three sacks in 12 games. "He's really an athletic defensive lineman," said Sawyer's coach Bob Sphire. "He can make game-changing plays. He has great skill level to go with his size and has a sense for where the ball is. He makes big plays in big situations." Sawyer becomes the 16th commitment for USC's 2014 class and the third listed as a defensive end.
Ohio State got the better of Clemson and three other major programs in the recruiting competition for LB Raekwon McMillan of Hinesville, Ga. McMillan announced his commitment to the Buckeyes last week over Clemson, Auburn, Georgia and Alabama. "I've been recruited by some of the best coaches in the nation, but it was just something special about Ohio State University,' McMillan said. "Every time we sat down and talked, we just had a special bond. It was just a special bond about Ohio State."
DL Abu Lamin of Fort Scott JC in Kansas made his commitment to USC official last week when he signed with the Gamecocks on the first day of the signing period for junior college mid-year transfers. Lamin had committed to the Gamecocks last July but ended up taking official visits to Nebraska, Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee as well as USC. Lamin had 34 tackles with 7.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks this season. Lamin is expected to give the Gamecocks some immediate help at defensive tackle with the departure of Kelcy Quarles for the NFL. Lamin is a native of Fayetteville, N.C., and will have three years to play at USC.
Clemson WR signee Kyrin Priester (6-2, 185) of Snellville, Ga., apparently has cleared his final academic hurdle to be able to enroll next month. Priester signed with Clemson last February but did not qualify and enrolled at Fork Union Prep, Va. He tweeted Friday night that he had been cleared by the NCAA, so the Tigers can expect to have him in house for spring practice. In his senior season at Brookwood High School, Priester caught 56 passes for 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns. Priester joins Demarre Kitt and Artavis Scott as Clemson wide receiver signees enrolling in January.
It looks like two SEC East rivals will battle it out for DB Wesley Green of Lithonia, Ga. "Things are heating up between South Carolina and Georgia," Green's coach, Cortez Allen, said last week. "It's down to USC and Georgia, that's my feeling. He'll take his trip to Ole Miss, I think, but I haven't heard much from Ole Miss in a couple of weeks and they have not been in. We haven't talked about them. And I haven't heard much from LSU or Tennessee either."
USC and Georgia recruiters were in this month on the same day about 10 minutes apart. The head coaches will be in next month. Allen said he gets no feeling from Green of a leader. "I think it will come down to his officials and how things take place on campus," the coach said. "He wants an opportunity to play right away, and both schools have expressed that's a major possibility." Allen said Green plans to major in business so the academic environment will be important. And a third key factor will be Green's relationships with players at both schools who are from the Atlanta area.
Allen said one thing that won't be a factor is him. "Contrary to some reports that are out there, coach Allen is not pushing Wesley one way or another," said Allen, who knows the fact he's a Georgia grad has been raised on Gamecock websites. "I don't advise kids on where to go to school, I just mentor them. It's all going to come down to where he fits best."
Green will visit the two schools on consecutive weekends in January with USC currently set for the 17th.
North Carolina Shrine Bowl DL Arthur Williams (6-5, 285) of Fayetteville plans to visit Miami, USC and Florida State the last three weekends in January and then make a final decision on Signing Day. Williams currently is committed to the Seminoles but wants to take a look at the Gamecocks and Hurricanes. "South Carolina seems like a real cool place. I could see myself going to school there."
Williams camped at USC last summer and also has been to Florida State and Miami. He's also visited Auburn, North Carolina, N.C. State and East Carolina. Williams committed to Florida State on Oct. 22 and he's not backing off that for now. "It's very strong," he said of his commitment, "but I'm keeping my options open and giving everybody a fair chance to recruit me." USC recruiters Joe Robinson and Deke Adams met with Williams earlier this month. He said they did not make him an official offer but he feels one is close. Williams has had an in-home visit with Florida State while Miami met with him at his school. This season Williams had 104 tackles and six sacks.
RB Derrell Scott of Havelock, N.C., returned home early from the Shrine Bowl after X-rays revealed a broken hand. Scott was injured in the fourth quarter of the state championship game victory over Concord, but not before rushing for 209 yards and three touchdowns.
including a state championship game record 96-yard scoring run. Scott rushed for more than 2,000 yards and 25 touchdowns this season. USC, Tennessee and N.C. State have been considered the top schools with Scott, but his coach said Clemson and Florida State are also in the running.
"Clemson has been talking to him and they came by the school to visit him," coach Jim Bob Bryant said. "He'll probably visit there." Scott has taken official visits to USC, Tennessee and N.C. State, according to his coach, who added he has no idea on a favorite or when Scott will make his decision.
Shrine Bowl WR Trevion Thompson of Durham, N.C., said he will take official visits to Clemson, Ohio State, West Virginia, North Carolina and N.C. State.
OL Derrick Kelly Jr. (6-5, 295) of Havana, Fla., decommitted from Kentucky last month and since then has seen the interest from other schools skyrocket. And that includes USC. Gamecock recruiter Kirk Botkin visited Kelly this month. Kelly also has talked with Gamecock line coach Shawn Elliott. He has made an official visit to Florida and plans to visit USC, LSU and Alabama.. Kelly Jr. also has offers from Kentucky, LSU, Florida State, Florida, Tennessee and South Florida. Alabama has not yet offered. Kelley played tackle in high school.
Goose Creek WR Jordan Barnes has an offer from Tusculum and is hearing from Presbyterian, The Citadel and Charleston Southern. He had 48 catches for 673 yards and eight touchdowns this season.
Gators QB Dantez Bennamon, also mulling basketball offers, has been offered in football by Presbyterian. He passed for 1443 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 840 yards and seven touchdowns this season.
Goose Creek RB Evan McField has offers from S.C. State, North Greenville and Limestone. This season he rushed for 1125 yards and 12 touchdowns.
And Gators DB Omar McRae has an offer from Charleston Southern. This season he had 89 tackles and five interceptions. He had 11 picks as a junior.
Northwestern DB Corey Seargant is close to a commitment to East Carolina. He also has offers from Nebraska and Kansas State along with Appalachian State and Charlotte. The Shrine Bowler had 143 tackles and three interceptions this season.
Hartsville DL DeQuan Reddick is looking at S.C. State, Fort Scott JC, Mo., and Georgia Military JC.
OL Ryan Bates of Warminster, Pa., plans to make his college decision in the spring of 2014 and right now, of the schools offering him, he likes USC and Penn State the most. "They both have good football programs, good legacies and phenomenal coaching staffs," Bates said. USC is recruiting Bates as a guard and he's in regular contact with recruiter G.A. Mangus. Mangus did not make it to Bates' school this month, but he did see recruiters from Virginia, Miami, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Duke and Syracuse. Bates plans to visit some schools this off-season but is not sure where, though USC is possible.
"They are attractive," he said of the Gamecocks. Bates holds offers from USC, Penn State, Rutgers, Virginia, Temple, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Maryland, Duke, Illinois, Pittsburgh and Miami.
OL Steven Gonzalez of Union City, N.J., continues to call USC his favorite but added, "They're my favorite of those who have offered. It could change if I get another offer, but South Carolina is still going to be way up there." Miami is starting to show more attention, visiting him twice at his school this month. His next visit will be to Ohio State. His offers are from USC, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Louisville, Connecticut, Virginia, Boston College, Syracuse and Massachusetts.
N.C. State and Appalachian State are the first two schools to offer junior WR Markeyvious Adams of Greenwood. Adams is receiving interest from Clemson, USC, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Florida State, Louisville and Missouri among others. Clemson may be showing the most interest of these schools. "They came by the school a couple of weeks ago and told me they really liked me," Adams said. "They told me that the wide receiver coach really likes me and after the bowl game, I could get an offer." Adams visited Clemson in October and is showing a lot of interest in the Tigers. Another school Adams is interested in is USC. He visited Columbia for a home game against Kentucky. As for N.C. State, Adams witnessed the Wolfpack's rivalry game versus North Carolina and enjoyed the trip.
DB Kaleb Chalmers of Greenwood saw recruiters from Clemson, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and North Carolina at his school during the recent contact period. USC did not come through and Chalmers said the Gamecocks have not officially offered him. Clemson has and continues to show Chalmers real interest. "I like Clemson. It's a great school and it's close to home." Chalmers plans to go to Clemson, USC and Georgia for junior days. He does not yet have favorites. Last season Chalmers had 80 tackles with four interceptions and 12 passes broken up.
DL Albert Huggins of Orangeburg-Wilkinson last week received an offer from Vanderbilt. The Commodores are the 13th program to offer Huggins and the seventh from the SEC. He also has offers from Clemson, USC, Florida State, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Louisville, Georgia, N.C. State, North Carolina, Auburn and S.C. State. Huggins said he didn't see many coaches come thru his school during the contact period and he's not lined up any junior day visits at this point. He does not claim favorites.
DB Mark Fields Jr. of Cornelius, N.C., visited Clemson and USC this season. They were the only two schools he visited for games. His latest offer is from Georgia, and though he does not have any favorites, Fields named USC, Clemson and Georgia as schools he is very interested in. Fields finished the season with 43 tackles, three interceptions and one sack. He does not have a leader.
DB Minkah Fitzpatrick of Jersey City, N.J., has attended a camp at USC and plans to return this spring. Fitzpatrick has more than 20 offers including USC. He remains in contact with some of the coaches and is showing interest in the Gamecocks. "They have a need at my position and it's a great school for defensive backs."
His only visit this football season was to Ohio State where he saw the Buckeyes host Penn State. This winter he plans to visit Maryland, North Carolina, Florida State and Miami. His other offers include Alabama, Ohio State, Penn State, Connecticut, Rutgers, Boston College, Stanford, Virginia, Maryland, Virginia Tech and Syracuse. As a junior, Fitzpatrick totaled 62 tackles, 18 pass deflections, four interceptions and three forced fumbles. He does not have any favorites.
Class of 2015 DB Desmond Cain of Delray Beach, Fla., received a visit from USC assistant Grady Brown recently as the Gamecocks continue to be Cain's top school. USC and Clemson are Cain's offers, but he's receiving interest from other schools including Michigan State and Penn State. Cain has already visited Penn State. As a junior, Cain had six interceptions returning one for a score. He had over 300 receiving yards, more than 1,000 all-purpose yards and three total touchdowns.
Clemson is working hard to impress WR Juval Mollette of Randleman, N.C. Tigers recruiter Robbie Caldwell stopped by twice to check on Mollette in the past couple of weeks. "He was telling me how much they love me and how much they want me at their school," Mollette said, adding that Clemson is one of the stronger teams with him though he's not claiming favorites. He went to one Clemson game this season. Recruiters from North Carolina, N.C. State and Tennessee also have been in. Ohio State is the most recent offer for Mollette, giving him 11. The others are Clemson, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Wake Forest, East Carolina, Duke, North Carolina and Tennessee. Mollette has not set any junior day plans and he won't make a decision until after his senior season. This season, Mollette said he had more than 700 yards receiving.