Clemson sets sights on defensive backs

Markquese Bell, a 6-2, 200-pound defensive back from Bridgeton, New Jersey, has had an offer from Clemson since February and is planning to give the Tigers another look.

“It’s one of the top schools in the country and they are looking at me,” Bell said. “It made me feel special that a school like that is interested in me.”

Bell can play corner or safety. He’s a receiver and quarterback in high school. The Tigers like him as a safety.

Bell visited Michigan over the weekend and has also been to Florida, N.C. State, Rutgers, Temple and Maryland. He plans to take some official visits before deciding and will wait until signing day for that. Last season he had 60 tackles and two interceptions. He also caught 52 passes for 792 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Clemson also is going after defensive back Jacoby Stevens of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The former LSU commitment visited Georgia and LSU in March, and has said those two are at the top of his list with Clemson third.

“Clemson was a big offer for me especially seeing that they only are recruiting three defensive backs and me being one of them is huge for me to know,” Stevens said. He has visited Georgia twice, Auburn, Tennessee and LSU and might visit Clemson this weekend. Some of his other offers include Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Stanford, Florida, Texas A&M, Notre Dame and Michigan.

Stevens plays safety, corner, nickel, quarterback, running back and receiver plus he returns punts and kicks. Last season he recorded 84 tackles with six interceptions, six passes broken up and two fumble recoveries.

Offensive lineman Eric Douglas of Charlotte officially committed to South Carolina over the weekend. Douglas has over 20 offers and he narrowed his list to USC, Florida, Penn State, Maryland and North Carolina. He attended a camp at USC last summer and from that point forward the Gamecocks were always at the top of his list.

“I love everything they have to offer,” Douglas said. “It’s a great fit for me socially and football-wise. Football is in the SEC and this is home, this is where I want to be.”

Defensive end Tyreek Johnson of Lakewood also committed to USC on Saturday. Last season Johnson recorded 89 tackles with 21 tackles for loss and 19 sacks. The Gamecocks now have nine commitments for the 2017 class.

Dutch Fork receiver Austin Connor was at USC’s practice Thursday. He has USC in his top five along with Virginia Tech, Duke, Tennessee and Georgia. Connor said he talked with Muschamp before and after practice.

“He’s still saying he wants to recruit me hard at receiver and if I have to play anything else he’ll certainly put me there,” he said. “I actually would have a good chance of starting if I go there as a freshman. I think that’s kind of big.”

Connor visited Tennessee on Saturday and said he might go to Georgia this weekend. Georgia offered last week.

Defensive back Latheron Rogers-Anderson of Ridge View visited practices at Clemson and USC last week. Old Dominion remains his only offer at this point.

Defensive end Justin Thomas of Spanish Fort, Alabama, attended a recent USC scrimmage. He has also been to Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee and is going to LSU this weekend. Thomas’ father played at Alabama and the Crimson Tide are believed to be the team to beat though he did not name a favorite and won’t make a decision until after his senior season.

Defensive back Hamsah Nasirildeen of Concord, North Carolina, was at USC for a junior day in February and last week he was back with a couple of teammates for a closer look. USC is one of his offers along with Clemson, East Carolina, Maryland, Temple, Charlotte, Georgia Southern, Tennessee and Ole Miss. Nasirildeen also visited Alabama and N.C. State last month and doesn’t have any other visits planned at this point. He does plan to get in touch with Clemson soon to set up a visit there.

Linebacker KJ Britt of Oxford, Alabama, was offered by USC last month while Clemson is showing interest but has not yet offered. He’s planning to attend Clemson’s spring game this weekend and hopes to get to USC at some point as well. Britt released his top 10 on Sunday: Georgia, Auburn, Florida, Michigan, Clemson, Ole Miss, USC, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.

Basketball

Kyran Bowman (6-2) of Havelock, N.C., committed to Boston College last week. USC had shown interest in him.

Jeff Borzello of ESPN reported Presbyterian transfer DeSean Murray will visit Middle Tennessee this weekend and USC, Auburn, College of Charleston, VCU and Richmond are also involved.

USC’s Frank Martin also is working transfer point guard Kory Holden (6-2) of Delaware. Holden said he talks every day with Martin and the message he’s received from him is simple.

“Come in, be the guy basically,” Holden said. Holden said he eventually will take a visit to USC. Some of the others to contact him are Maryland, Arizona, Virginia Tech, LaSalle, Nevada, Louisiana Tech and Miami. Holden is regarded in some circles as the best transfer player available in this spring’s pool.