Clemson, USC closing in on defensive targets

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables is hoping to convince Tre Lamar, a linebacker from Roswell, Ga., to choose the Tigers over Auburn, Alabama, Florida and Florida State. AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail/Mark Crammer

Tre Lamar, a linebacker from Roswell, Ga., is holding with the same top five he’s had for some time. Lamar says Clemson, Auburn, Alabama, Florida and Florida State are the schools he is most interested in. His last visit was to Auburn for the Big Cat Weekend, and his next visit will be to Clemson on July 17 for the All-In Cookout.

Lamar, who has also visited the other colleges on his list, said he’s not sure if he’ll take any additional trips after Clemson. Having seen all of his favorites, Lamar is thinking he might not drag out his decision into his senior season. He previously had planned to take official visits before a decision, but that may not be necessary.

Of his top five schools, Lamar said Clemson, Alabama and Auburn are recruiting him the hardest. “I’ve been talking with those coaches all the time,” he said. “Definitely those three.”

Defensive back Marlon Character of Atlanta hasn’t had the chance for many campus visits this month due to seven-on-seven league games and practices. He wants to visit South Carolina as soon as he can and that will probably be after the dead period ends the second week in July. He’s in regular contact with Gamecocks recruiter Lorenzo Ward.

Character, however, did visit Auburn recently, and the Tigers have moved up into a position of prominence with him.

“South Carolina stands out as one of my favorites,” Character said, “but I’ve taken one visit to Auburn and they stand out to me. But I wouldn’t say I like them as much as South Carolina right now, but I like both schools a whole lot.”

Virginia Tech also remains a factor, and he’s in daily contact with his recruiter from there, too. He wants to get to Blacksburg, Va., but probably will wait on an official visit to do that.

In other recruiting news:

Defensive end Ron Johnson Jr. of Camden, N.J., a major USC target, committed Thursday to Michigan while on an unofficial visit with the Wolverines. Johnson attended USC’s Showcase camp earlier this month and spoke highly of the Gamecocks at that time, saying they were at the top of his list along with Michigan. Johnson had planned to name a top five in July and carry the recruiting process on into the fall.

Johnson’s teammate, wide receiver Brad Hawkins Jr., reduced his list from a top 15 to a top 10, and USC survived the cut. Hawkins attended USC’s Showcase camp earlier this month and following that he had USC and Michigan as his top two. Also in his top 10 are Arizona State, Auburn, North Carolina, Oregon, Syracuse, Rutgers, Temple and Virginia Tech.

Clemson offensive line target Parker Boudreaux of Orlando, Fla., announced he will reveal his college choice on Thursday. He has Clemson, Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Georgia Southern left on his list from more than a reported 70 offers. Notre Dame was his most recent visit. Boudreaux visited Clemson in March with his family and has been very strong on Dabo Swinney and Robbie Caldwell. But by setting his announcement for Thursday, he will be committing somewhere prior to Clemson’s All-In Cookout, always a crucial recruiting weekend for the Tigers.

Linebacker Kash Daniel of Paintsville, Ky., will reveal to the public his college choice on Saturday. But, the school he has chosen already knows it’s the winner. That would be either USC, Kentucky or Louisville. Daniel has never publicly named a favorite, which has led to plenty of speculation. After he attended USC’s camp this month and talked glowingly of the Gamecocks, recruiting sites were predicting USC. But most recently, the talk has been more about Kentucky.

Offensive lineman John Simpson of Fort Dorchester has not visited USC this month, and with a two-week dead period starting Monday, he’s going to have to wait a little while before getting back to Columbia. Simpson camped at Clemson and Alabama earlier this month for three days each but was not able to make it to USC’s camp.

He might return to Clemson for the All-In Cookout in July. He also wants to visit LSU and Tennessee this summer. Following the Clemson camp, Simpson had the Tigers at the top of his list with Alabama second and USC third.

Offensive lineman Will Putnam of Harrisburg, N.C., remains fixed on two schools at this point, USC and Virginia Tech. And it looks like no decision will come from him for at least a few more weeks. Putnam attended USC’s Showcase camp earlier this month and visited Virginia Tech, as well. And he will visit USC on July 13 or sometime that week.

Defensive back Nigel Knott of Madison, Miss., recently announced a top 10 of Alabama, Oregon, Tennessee, Florida State, Texas A&M, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisville, Southern Cal and Mississippi State. After reading that list, USC recruiter Deke Adams contacted Knott to find out why the Gamecocks weren’t on the list. Knott told him it was because he didn’t have an offer. To which Adams informed him he’s had an offer from them for some time.

“I don’t know where they would be on the list just yet. I talked to Coach Adams and he wants to get me down for a visit possibly sometime next month.”

Defensive back Chris Smith of South Pointe is on commitment watch for USC and that will continue into July. That’s when Smith expects to visit the Gamecocks for the first time this summer. He was not able to make it to the Showcase camp earlier this month due to a death in is family.

Smith has been to North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest for camps and he said all are considering him for offers. His other offers include Old Dominion, Mercer, Furman, Coastal Carolina, Miami of Ohio, Charlotte, S.C. State and others.

Offensive lineman Landon Dickerson of Hudson, N.C., now has a top four of USC, Tennessee, Auburn and Virginia Tech as his favorites, in no order. Dickerson attended USC’ recent Showcase camp and got another good look at the Gamecocks and the program.


TE Naseir Upshur of Philadelphia narrowed his list to a final eight of USC, Michigan, Alabama, Florida State, Arizona State, Temple, Southern Cal and Maryland. He visited Michigan last week.

OL Drew Wilson of Bamberg-Ehrhardt committed Saturday to Georgia Southern. He also considered East Carolina, North Carolina, Kansas State and N.C. State.

WR Diondre Overton of Greensboro, N.C., released a top five Friday afternoon. In no order, the five are Clemson, Nebraska, Tennessee, N.C. State and North Carolina.

Clemson target DE Xavier Kelly of Wichita will have a top 8 on Monday.

OL Marcus Tatum of Daytona Beach, Fla., on Friday released a top 8 of USC, Auburn, Arkansas, Alabama, Miami, Florida, Tennessee and N.C. State.

DL Antwuan Jackson of Ellenwood, Ga., will announce a top 4 on July 4. He has USC and Clemson offers. 

DE Khalid Kareem of Farmington Hills, Mich., committed to Alabama last week. He also had a USC offer.

2017 QB Kellen Mond of San Antonio committed to Baylor. He also had a Clemson offer.

USC did not make the cut with TE Thaddeus Moss of Charlotte. His eight schools are West Virginia, Oregon, UCLA, Georgia, Miami, Arizona State, N.C. State and Alabama.

2017 LB Jaden Hunter of Atlanta and 2017 DE Malik Herring of Forsyth, Ga., visited Clemson on Saturday.

Clemson offered 2017 DB Trajan Bandy of Miami on Wednesday.