Conway defensive lineman Tonka Hemingway and tight end Eric Shaw, who is from Notasulga, Ala., verbally committed to South Carolina on Thursday.
Hemingway (6-3, 260) had more than 20 major college offers and cut his list to USC, Duke and North Carolina this summer. Hemingway's commitment gives Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp his sixth in-state high school recruit in the 2020 class.
New USC defensive line coach John Scott quickly went to work on Hemingway after joining the Gamecocks staff in December. Hemingway visited USC for a spring practice in March and got the chance to see Scott work his players.
“I liked how they practice and how it was up-tempo and how they compete every play,” Hemingway said. “They got after it every play. I liked how Coach Scott talked with the guys and helped out. And he said he liked how I can play inside and out.”
As a junior, Hemingway finished with 109 tackles, including 78 solo stops and nine sacks. Hemingway took an official visit to USC in June and he got the chance to see the other side of the coaches and liked what he saw.
South Carolina's A.J. Turner is one of the Gamecocks' most valuable players because of his ability and willingness to play running back, defensive back and kick returner.
“Just the atmosphere, and how the coaches are without being on the field,” Hemingway said. “They are the same in private as they are on the field. I like how they talk to the players (on the field) and explain everything in detail. They feel like I can do many things and help the team out in many ways.”
Hemingway is a very athletic defensive linemen who can play over center and against guards, and can slide out and play defensive end. He also plays basketball and baseball for the Tigers. Hemingway is the 18th newcomer that counts for the Gamecocks’ 2020 class and the third defensive tackle.
His brother, wide receiver Junior Hemingway, played at Michigan and in the NFL.
USC won a hard-fought SEC recruiting battle for the commitment from Shaw. Shaw (6-4, 220) had narrowed his choices to the Gamecocks, Tennessee and Auburn. Through the process, Shaw also landed offers from Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Florida, Ole Miss, Virginia, Texas A&M, West Virginia and others. Shaw also plays linebacker but the Gamecocks recruited him strictly as a tight end.
Tavien Feaster knew what transferring to an in-state rival would mean. He also knew it was his best shot at reaching his ultimate goal.
“Everything was great, I can’t lie,” Shaw said after an official visit in June. “The facilities, the coaches, the players. I loved everything about it.”
Shaw said he talked a lot with Muschamp and tight ends coach Bobby Bentley during the recruiting process. He said Muschamp made it clear he was a priority for them in the 2020 class and would fill a need at tight end.
“He said I’m a great fit for what they run,” Shaw said. “I love it. They use their tight end like another wide receiver. They put him in a lot of different spots. The way they use their tight ends, it’s perfect.”
Last season Shaw totaled 60 tackles with 1 sack and 7 tackles for loss. On offense, he totaled 470 yards rushing and receiving and scored 5 touchdowns.