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Clemson lands two offensive linemen; USC gets crucial win in front of key recruiting prospects

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Clemson landed offensive linemen Ryan Linthicum of Damascus, Md., and Marcus Tate of Jacksonville, Fla., for its 2021 recruiting class. File/Travis Bell/Sideline Carolina

Clemson landed a pair of big offensive linemen for its 2021 recruiting class last week with commitments from Ryan Linthicum of Damascus, Md., and Marcus Tate of Jacksonville, Fla.

Linthicum (6-4, 275) is a high school teammate of Bryan Bresee, a defensive end who committed to Clemson for 2020. Linthicum had narrowed his recruiting to Clemson, Virginia Tech and Michigan. He was back at Clemson for the Charlotte game, so it didn’t take him long to finalize a decision after seeing the school and program up close again.

“I wanted to visit and make sure they are a good fit for me,” Linthicum said. “We talked to coach (Todd) Bates, talked to coach (Robbie) Caldwell and then talked to coach (Dabo) Swinney a little bit before the game. That was awesome. Coach Swinney is just a great guy and it was good to talk to them.”

Linthicum liked that the Tigers used 111 players in that game. The early playing opportunity when he arrives is important to him.

“That means a lot. It just says so much about all of them, honestly, and how they love their players,” Linthicum said. “And if you work your tail off, you will get some PT (playing time).”

Tate (6-4, 326) visited Clemson last summer during camp and it was from that visit that he knew the Tigers eventually would be his choice.

“My decision started sometime in early June, late May, when I visited the first time,” Tate said. “At that time it became my top school because they talked about family, life after football and they hardly talked any football with me. So, that was big for me. That put that at number one after I left that visit."

Tate is a highly recruited offensive tackle whose offer list includes Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, LSU, Ohio State, Tennessee, Oregon and Texas A&M.

Saturday night at Williams-Brice proved to be a perfect setting for USC to host two official visits. One was running back Henry Parrish of Miami, the other linebacker Len’Neth Whitehead of Athens, Ga.

Parrish has been a Pitt commitment since June but has continued to get a strong press from the Gamecocks and hometown Miami. He’s also had Florida State, Utah, Penn State and FAU on his short list.

Whitehead also visited USC earlier in the season and was in for a camp in June. He also plays running back and has talked with his recruiters about playing that position as well. He has also taken an official visit to Tennessee. Whitehead also lists Georgia, Georgia Tech, Texas, Texas A&M and Wisconsin on his short list.

Quarterback Colten Gauthier (Class of 2021) of Dacula, Ga., also attended USC's game on Saturday. It was his first game at Williams-Brice Stadium. He also visited USC in the spring and summer.

Last week Gauthier was offered by Missouri. Some of his other offers are Boston College, Colorado, Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Georgia Tech and Miami. He’s also getting interest from Clemson, which he visited earlier in the season.

Other confirmed visitors to USC on Saturday include Myrtle Beach wide receiver Darius Hough, defensive end Kaseem Vauls of Irmo, linebacker Aces Scott of Hillcrest, athlete Makhi Bailey of Huntersville, N.C., wide receiver/cornerback Ron Benjamin of Central, wide receiver Miquel Mason of Ridge View, defensive lineman Antonio Gaines of Ridge View and quarterback Grayson Loftis of Blue Ridge.

Clemson offered wide receiver Arian Smith of Lakewood, Fla., and the Tigers are among his favorites along with Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida and Georgia. Smith also is a track standout and a major part of his decision will be based on the school’s track program. He has set an official visit to Oklahoma for Oct. 19. He’s the teammate of Clemson running back commitment Demarkcus Bowman.

USC target defensive end Desmond Evans of Sanford, N.C., went to North Carolina on Saturday for the Clemson game. Evans said he had considered visiting USC but his mother wasn’t able to make that trip and he’ll try to get to USC later in the season or in December. The only official visit he has set at this point is to Virginia Tech on Oct. 19.

Jaheim Bell of Valdosta, Ga., is favoring USC at this point,  according to his high school coach. Bell, a former Florida commitment, made his official visit to USC in June and returned for an unofficial visit for the Alabama game.

Those visits and the recruiting efforts of coaches Bobby Bentley and Will Muschamp have made the Gamecocks the team to beat for Bell, who can play tight end or wide receiver.

“I think he’s been leaning hard to South Carolina for a long time,” Valdosta coach Alan Rodemaker said. “Bobby Bentley has done a great job recruiting him and Muschamp has been down here a couple of times. Bentley has been an excellent recruiter. He’s been all over him since day one.”

Bell also taken an official visit to Oklahoma and has said he will take an official visit to Virginia Tech in November.  He’s also had Tennessee high on his list.

USC made the top 10 with linebacker Greg Penn (2021) of Baltimore and Dematha Catholic. He was in for the Alabama game. The others on his short list are Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, LSU. Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio State, Penn State and Texas A&M.

Defensive end Demeioun Robinson (2021) of Gaithersburg, Md., holds an impressive offer list and last week he added USC to that group. The Gamecocks join Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Michigan, LSU, Ohio State, Penn State, Syracuse, Tennessee and Texas A&M.

Byrnes High School running back Rahjai Harris committed to East Carolina. He rushed for 300 yards in a game Friday night.


Clemson’s long courtship of the state’s top 2020 prospect, 6-9 PJ Hall of Dorman, is winding down. Hall took two official visits with the Tigers, several unofficial visits, has had multiple school and gym visits from the Tigers, and Tuesday night he had his in-home visit with head coach Brad Brownell and staff members.

This was the last real chance for the Tigers to convince Hall to stay in state.

“We just kind of hung out and built a better relationship than what we already have,” Hall said. “He (Brownell) brought some packets over to show me what he’s been trying to tell me this whole time. 

Hall said at this point he has no plans for a return visit to Clemson though it’s always possible he could go back for an unofficial visit for a practice or a football game. Brownell was the only head coach in this week. Hall also has taken an official visit to Florida. Coming up will be officials to Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Georgia Tech.  

Coaches from USC and the College of Charleston were in last week at Ridge View to see 2020 6-8 Ja'Von Benson. He is down to the Gamecocks and Cougars. There is no indication from him when he’ll make his decision.

Gamecock coach Frank Martin also was in last week to see point guard Tyler Rice. Rice visited Elon over the weekend.

USC target 6-5 Earl Timberlake of Dematha Catholic was scheduled for an official visit to Seton Hall over the weekend. He also has been to USC, Providence, Miami and Pitt. He also plans to visit North Carolina.


Baseball America ranked USC’s 2019 recruiting class No. 3 nationally and Clemson’s 14th. Vanderbilt is ranked No. 1 and Florida No. 2.

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