Does Clemson have a legitimate reason to be concerned about holding on to wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud of Tampa, one of the highest regarded players in their 2015 class?
It depends on who you want to believe. Josh Newburg of 247Sports reported last week that McCloud will not sign with Clemson.
"Based on recent conversations, I feel McCloud will sign with either UF (Florida) or UCLA," Newburg wrote.
McCloud committed to Clemson last month.
Newburg said McCloud's interest in Florida is riding on the Gators' performance this season. He also reported that if McCloud does flip to Florida, there's a good chance Deon Cain (another Clemson commitment) will go with him.
McCloud's father told Tigernet.com that Newburg's report is hogwash.
"He is planning on enrolling at Clemson in January and he has already submitted his application and all of his paperwork," McCloud said. "He is good to go on everything with Clemson."
Of course, Clemson fans remember the Robert Nkemdiche saga in 2013 (Mississippi) so they know better than to trust anything other than the signed, sealed and delivered letter of intent.
In other recruiting news:
South Carolina 2014 signee Dexter Wideman, a defensive lineman from Saluda, apparently has changed his mind about attending Fork Union Prep this semester. Wideman posted on Facebook over the weekend that he is enrolled at Camden Military.
He wrote: "In January one of my dreams will come true. Playing for South Carolina GameCocks, God please be with me."
Wideman, defensive lineman Dante Sawyer and defensive back Darin Smalls are the three non-enrolling carryovers from the 2014 class for USC. Sawyer is at East Mississippi JC. Smalls will remain home in Summerville, and if he gets a qualifying test score, will enroll in January.
Sawyer hopes to get into USC next summer. That gives USC 15 initial counters for the 2014 class (including former walk-on Carlton Heard) in which their limit was 22. That means seven of their 2015 commitments can count back on the 2014 class if they enroll early. Subtract those from the 30 commitments they have for 2015 and that leaves them with 23 initial counters for the class which can max out at 25.
The Gamecocks have 16 scholarship seniors and go back to 85 for 2015, so right now they project to be well over the 85 limit after signing day. Of course, they'll lose some juniors to the NFL after this season and that will open up more scholarships for the class. And some walk-ons may not have their scholarships renewed.
Junior linebacker JaCorey Morris (6-2, 215) of Grove Hill, Ala. visited USC in June after being contacted by Gamecocks linebackers coach Kirk Botkin. On Tuesday, he decided he'd seen enough and committed to the Gamecocks. He's USC's second commitment for the 2016 class. Botkin learned about Morris from a friend who lives not far from Clarke County High School. Morris' coach, Keith Kelley, said Morris also had offers from Clemson, Southern Miss, UAB, West Florida and some other Division-2 schools. Auburn and Mississippi State also were recruiting him.
Longtime Florida Atlantic commit, DB Rashard Causey of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., still has USC among his top three. Causey camped at USC but said the communication with USC coaches has been limited. He does plan to take an official visit. "I'm pumped up about South Carolina this season," Causey said. "I really think they're going to win the SEC this year. I can't wait to see them play (in person)." He named USC, Florida Atlantic and Miami as his top three schools in no order. Causey plans to take official visits to each with Wisconsin and Michigan possible destinations for his final two. Asked if USC had a chance to flip his commitment, he responded, "Very much so."
DB Jaquan Johnson of Miami committed to Miami Tuesday night. He visited USC earlier this month.
WR Tyron Johnson of New Orleans last week reported his top 10 schools as Clemson, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, LSU, Georgia, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Florida and Tennessee. He did not list them in order, but in a subsequent interview, he called Clemson his favorite.
USC commitment DE Quandeski Whitlow was offered by Mississippi State last week.
The success of previous wide receivers has WR Tavares Chase (6-2, 175) of Bradenton, Fla., interested in Clemson. The Tigers have offered, and Chase indicated that the Tigers are appealing to him. "They told me I could be a playmaker there," he said. "They want to get the ball in my hands and let me work. Clemson produces top wide receivers and I'm looking for that. I want to get noticed." USC also has offered and has given him the same impression, though his interest level in the Gamecocks is not as strong right now. Chase wants to see both Palmetto State schools and is thinking of checking them out after the season. His other offers include Florida State, Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Miami, Kentucky, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Chase caught 26 passes for 406 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore, and on defense had 43 total tackles and four interceptions.
Junior ATH Korey Charles (5-11, 164) of Tallahassee, Fla., visited Clemson earlier in the summer and is intrigued by the Tigers. Clemson is one of several schools to offer Charles and see him filling the role of a former Florida native that wore the orange. "Coach (Jeff) Scott and I have talked some about where they see me," Charles said. "He told me they see me at wide receiver . sort of in that playmaker role like (Sammy) Watkins." Charles, who spent most of his time on defense as a sophomore, does not mind switching sides of the ball. "It doesn't really matter to me that much," he said. "If that's where they want me to play, I'm fine with that. "I really liked Clemson a lot. I liked their campus and the vibe. I could see myself playing there." His other offers include Florida State, Wisconsin, North Carolina, LSU, Miami, Ohio State, Mississippi, Penn State, Mississippi State and Louisville. USC has shown interest and invited Charles to a camp. Charles had 89 total tackles, one for loss, one interception and a forced fumble last season. He had over 100 yards rushing on just three attempts and matched the feat in receiving yards with just three receptions. He does not have any favorites.
DL Christian Colon (6-4, 292) of Charlotte has early offers from Wake Forest, North Carolina and N.C. State, and is showing some interest in USC. Colon expects several more offers early in the season. "A lot of schools just want to see my first three games this year before they offer (me)," he said. "I've dropped some weight and gotten stronger, I think they will like what they see." He named West Virginia, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Ohio State as some of the programs watching his progress. Clemson and USC have also shown interest in Colon. "I like Clemson a lot but they don't have my major," he said. "I want to study Kinesiology, so I don't think I would go there. "I went to South Carolina's spring game and loved the atmosphere. I liked the facilities and I thought the campus was beautiful. They're SEC football, so that's big time. If they offered me, they would probably move up my list." Colon named Wake Forest and North Carolina his early leaders.
Clemson has extended an early offer to QB Zerrick Cooper (6-3, 195) of Jonesboro, Ga. Cooper is building a strong relationship with the Tigers coaching staff and is very interested in the program. "I've already visited twice and I like it a lot," he said. "I love the atmosphere and what they have to offer." The Tigers join Miami, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio State, Tennessee, N.C. State, Virginia Tech, Nebraska and West Virginia as his offers. His other visits have been to Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee. He plans to attend the Georgia-Clemson game to kick off the season. Last season, Cooper was 81 of 153 with over 1,200 yards passing, 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
USC is in an early battle with Georgia and Virginia Tech for DB Marlon Character Jr. (6-0 175) of Atlanta. "Yeah, I definitely want to visit there," he said. "I honestly don't know much about South Carolina other than they're awesome (at football)." His other offers are Georgia, Virginia Tech, Kentucky and Mississippi, but three stand out with him early in the process. "I'm definitely looking at Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia Tech," Character said. As a sophomore, he totaled 30 tackles, 3 interceptions and two touchdowns. Character did not name a favorite.
OL Sean Pollard of Spruce Pines, N.C., had planned to announce a commitment last week then he announced that he is going to wait until next year to make a commitment. He has offers from Clemson and USC.
Spring Valley PG PJ Dozier has updated the scheduled for his official visits: Michigan 9/26; Louisville 10/3; Georgetown 10/17; UNC 10/24; USC 10/31.
USC target 6-8 Chris Silva has set his official visit to Seton Hall for this Wednesday. He will visit USC on Sept. 12. "They've been very active," Silva's coach at Roselle Catholic, N.J., Dave Boff said of the Gamecocks' recruiting efforts. "Matt Figger and coach Martin have done a great job recruiting him and we hear from them quite often." Silva averaged 13 points and 9 rebounds per game last season. Silva also will take official visits to Villanova, Rhode Island and Kansas State.
Tevin Mack (6-5) of Dreher has added Wake Forest to his final list, joining Clemson, USC, VCU and Georgia. Mack has scheduled three of his official visits with Georgia on Sept. 20, VCU on the 27th and Clemson on Oct. 4.
Clemson coach Brad Brownell is going hard after 6-8 Luke Maye of Cornelius, N.C., and Maye is responding in kind with strong interest in the Tigers. Maye, the son of former North Carolina quarterback Mark Maye, has the Tigers high up on his list. "Coach Brownell has been great," Maye said recently. "I like the way he coaches. I just like the atmosphere in Clemson. It's becoming more of a basketball school I feel like. Coach Brownell is moving the program in the right direction." Maye attended Clemson's home basketball game with Virginia last season and also visited for a football game. And Brownell took in a lot of Maye's games this summer. That did not go unnoticed by Maye. "He wants me to have success and he wants me to succeed and that's what I want in a coach, someone who believes in me," Maye said. Maye said he also likes Davidson and Charlotte and "hasn't figured out much past that." Of course, North Carolina always looms large in the background, and should the Tar Heels decide to make a push, they would likely become a factor. Maye does not have a favorite and has not decided on his official visits. He does plan to sign early.
6-6 PG CJ Williamson of Orlando, Fla., has set his Clemson official visit for Sept. 22. He will visit Virginia Tech on Sept. 12 and Texas Tech on Oct. 18. Those are his three finalists.
6-10 Matthew Pegram of Wando committed to Wofford.