Clemson's football recruiting class for 2020 now includes a wide receiver who wasn't on anyone's radar a year ago.
Ajou Ajou of Canada is a relative newcomer on the recruiting scene. But his stock will go up after his commitment to the Tigers on Saturday following a two-day visit.
Ajou is a student at Clearwater Academy International in Florida and doesn’t have a long football resume. But he is a tremendous athlete and he showed off all of his skills during a Clemson camp in June. He was back in Clemson over the weekend.
Ajou's high school coach says the 6-3, 210-pound receiver is raw but has great potential.
“I would say his ceiling is really, really high,” Jesse Chinchar said. “He’s a high jump champion in Canada, 6-feet, 6½ inches. He’s got an 83-inch wingspan. He also has a lot of natural ability for the game."
Ajou is not the typical prospect Clemson receivers coach Jeff Scott seeks. He’s not a proven commodity at the position.
“(Scott) had kind of been a little disappointed by the 2020 receivers in the class,” Chinchar said. “He was down here scouting and looking for receivers, and he had mentioned that he was kind of disappointed in the receivers in the class. I said, 'have you heard of this kid Ajou Ajou?'
"They kind of did their homework and coach (Tony) Elliott came out to the school to find out more about him and coach Scott returned the next week to watch him practice.”
Ajou gives the Tigers 19 commitments for the 2020 class and they are eyeing two more wide receivers at this point — EJ Williams of Phenix City, Ala., and Xzavier Henderson of Miami.
Williams was in Clemson on Friday night for the All-In Cookout and then visited Auburn on Saturday. He told Auburn Undercover he now favors Clemson ahead of Auburn and Alabama. He has set Aug. 24 for his decision. Henderson last visited Clemson in June.
Defensive end Jordan Burch of Hammond, tight end Arik Gilbert of Marietta, Ga., and linebacker Justin Flowe of Upland, Calif., were three other uncommitted prospects at Clemson on Friday. Burch went from Clemson to visit Georgia. He has also been to South Carolina, LSU and Alabama during the recruiting process. Gilbert also visited Clemson in January and for games last season. Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama are others considered strong with him.
USC target wide receiver Deajuan McDougle of Deerfield Beach, Fla., planned to visit Maryland over the weekend. He took an official visit to USC in late June. He’s also had Ohio State, Oregon and Purdue on his short list. He is expected to announce a decision this week.
Punter Kai Kroeger of Lake Forest, Ill., made USC one of his camp stops and the Gamecocks stepped up with his first major offer. Kroeger will return to USC on Tuesday for an unofficial visit.
“I know my dad and I really enjoy it there,” Kroeger said. “My mom is coming this time so she can see everything and I know she will love it. We will see how it goes Tuesday.”
Kroeger also visited USC in March for a spring practice. He also camped at Penn State and Texas A&M and has made other unofficial visits to Illinois, Iowa, Syracuse, LSU, Minnesota, Indiana and Penn State. He’s ranked the No. 2 punter in the nation for the class of 2020 by Kohl’s Kicking.
USC and North Carolina will renew their football rivalry next month in Charlotte, and off the field, the recruiting rivalry between the two is red hot. Three of the Gamecocks’ 2020 commitments are from North Carolina. The Tar Heels fought back earlier this month beating out the Gamecocks for defensive end Myles Murphy of Greensboro. And now the two are going head to head for safety Ja’Qurious Conley of Jacksonville.
"UNC and South Carolina are my main two,” said Conley, who recently visited UNC with his father and told InsideCarolina he now favors the Tar Heels.
Conley has set an official visit to USC for the Alabama weekend. That’s the only official visit he has set at this point. He has visited Duke. Conley said he is not graduating early or signing early. Last season he had 79 tackles and three interceptions. On offense, he rushed for 1,459 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Defensive end Desmond Evans of Sanford, N.C., is another prime target for USC. He visited for a couple of games last season and was back for a spring practice in March. He plans to name his top five teams in late August, and said South Carolina will be among them.
“Me and South Carolina have a relationship that’s pretty good right now," Evans said. "I was supposed to go up there for a camp but I didn’t go because I had different plans. Everything else is great. They text me everyday and I text them back, stuff like that.”
He said Virginia Tech, Tennessee and UNC are the other schools showing the most interest. Some of his other offers are Clemson, Michigan, West Virginia, Duke, Florida, Penn State, Alabama, Nebraska, Ohio State, N.C. State, Texas A&M, Kentucky and Mississippi State. According to stats compiled by MaxPreps, Evans has 114 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, 26.5 sacks and 17 hurries over the last two seasons.
USC running back target Tank Bigsby visited Auburn on Saturday for a recruiting picnic. That was his fifth visit to Auburn this summer. Bigsby told AuburnSports.com he doesn’t have a favorite.
USC target linebacker Desmond Tisdol of Rochelle, Ga., worked out again at Florida State on Saturday. He also camped there in June. The Seminoles have not yet offered but he told Noles247 they are supposed to let him know something this week. USC, Auburn and Georgia are three others strong with him at this point.
Cornerback Jahquez Robinson of Jacksonville, Fla., had scheduled an official visit to USC for last week but he said that visit had been pushed back. He was at Florida State on Saturday. He’s an Alabama commitment.
USC target tight end Eric Shaw visited Tennessee on Saturday.
Tight end Diego Lamonica of Miami committed to Vanderbilt. He had an offer from USC and drew interest from Clemson.
Wide receiver Jalin Hyatt of Dutch Fork committed to Tennessee on Saturday. He had previously been committed to Virginia Tech.
Tight end Jesse Sanders of South Aiken visited Georgia State last week and said the Panthers are one of his top schools. He has a preferred walk-on offer from USC.
Hammond QB Jackson Muschamp was offered by Boston College.
Quarterback Colten Gauthier of Dacula, Ga., (class of 2021) got his first close-up look at Clemson on Thursday. Clemson is still looking for a future quarterback after two the Tigers offered committed elsewhere.
Clemson has not offered him to this point, but USC has. The Gamecocks offered in May and Gauthier returned for a camp in June to work out for coach Will Muschamp and quarterbacks coach Dan Werner. He has had the Gamecocks high on his list since then.
”I talk to coach Warner every week from South Carolina,” Gauthier said. “I have a great relationship with him. My feelings for South Carolina have not changed.”
Defensive end Korey Foreman (6-4, 245) of Corona, Calif., also visited Clemson on Thursday. From Clemson he went to Georgia, Alabama and LSU. Foreman also has visited Southern Cal, UCLA and Oregon.
South Carolina is looking at Obinna Anochili-Killen, a 6-9 native of Lagos, Nigeria, who has spent the last four years in Chapmanville, W.Va. The Gamecocks last saw Anochili-Killen at the recent Peach Jam in North Augusta. The two sides are building that recruiting relationship that could lead to an offer in the near future.
“We’re trying to set up an unofficial visit for after the dead period,” Anochili-Killen said. “I can come in there and play because they are losing two big guys. I’ve been talking to coach Chuck Martin. They are looking for a big guy.”
The dead period ends Wednesday and the month of August does allow for on-campus visits. Anochili-Killen has taken official visits to Temple and George Washington. Last season he averaged 14 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks per game. He has offers from Penn State, VCU, Akron, East Tennessee State, Evansville, George Washington and George Mason.
USC is in strong shape with Dorman point guard Myles Tate. Tate is coming off an appearance at the Chris Paul CP3 Elite Guard Camp and he plans to move forward and narrow his list to the schools he will visit before making a decision prior to his season.
Tate’s most recent offer came from Pitt. He also has offers from Clemson, College of Charleston, South Florida, Coastal Carolina, Presbyterian, Wofford, Appalachian State, Virginia Tech and Murray State.
“We are just going to look at their rosters and what they have to offer, and what kind of systems they run and things like that, and how I would fit,” Tate said. “South Carolina is a good fit for me I think. It’s at home so family and things, that won’t be a problem. The school, I just like. I like Coach (Frank) Martin a lot. I feel like I can fit there and play to the best of my abilities. They’ve been showing me a lot of love for a long time. That’s important to me. Loyalty."
USC made the final seven with 6-5 Earl Timberlake of Dematha. The others on his list are North Carolina, Alabama, Miami, Pitt, Seton Hall and Providence. He has taken official visits to USC and Providence.
One of the state’s top prospects in the 2021 class, 6-5 Bryce McGowens, will transfer from Wren to Lincoln Academy in Winston-Salem, N.C. Lincoln Academy is a Nike Elite basketball program with former Furman coach Larry Davis serving as the head coach. McGowens has offers from Clemson, USC, LSU, Nebraska, Providence, Pitt, Florida, Xavier, TCU, Wichita State and others.
CJ Weins, a 6-3, 205-pound right-handed pitcher from Wabash Valley (Ill.) JC, committed to USC for the 2020 class. Last season he was 5-0 with 7 saves and an ERA of 1.32. He struck out 54 in 27⅓ innings.