Clemson, USC optimistic over DE targets

Clemson and USC appear to have positioned themselves for commitments from defensive ends in the next 15 days. The Tigers are looking at picking up LaSamuel Davis (6-4, 216) of Bamberg-Ehrhardt, and the Gamecocks are optimistic about regaining former commitment Arden Key (6-6, 205) of Atlanta.

Davis will hold a commitment announcement ceremony at his church on Saturday at 11 a.m. Davis has made three visits to Clemson this year and moved Clemson to the front after he and his parents visited for a junior day in February. He also visited Clemson in March and for the spring game in April. Florida also made a strong run at Davis, but Clemson continued to make the biggest push.

Davis also has offers from N.C. State, North Carolina, Oregon, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Southern Cal, UCLA, Virginia Tech, Tennessee and East Carolina. He missed much of his sophomore season with a deep thigh bruise but bounced back last season with 112 tackles, 38 tackles for loss and 7 sacks.

Key will announce the second commitment of his high school football career on June 10. Key has stated a top five, in order, of Oregon, Miami, LSU, Mississippi and USC. However, few internet recruiting pundits believe him. Most are suggesting he will recommit to USC.

Key first committed to the Gamecocks on June 16, 2013. At the time of his commitment, Key was a teammate of DB Wesley Green, who committed five days after Key. They both decommitted on Sept. 22.  Green eventually recommitted and signed with the Gamecocks.  Though Key left Martin Luther King High School in Lithonia for Hapeville Charter in Atlanta, he and Green remain very close friends. Key has said he will visit USC on June 13, perhaps an indication he will recommit to the Gamecocks. Last season, Key had over 100 tackles with 8 sacks.

In other recruiting news:

OL Zack Bailey of Summerville will visit Southern Cal on June 25 as part of a camp he will be attending. Southern Cal and Miami are his two most recent offers. Bailey said he will also take visits this summer to Georgia, Auburn, Florida and perhaps a couple of others. Clemson and USC remain in regular contact. Bailey said the schools he currently is most interested in are Clemson, USC, Georgia, Florida, Auburn and Southern Cal.  He doesn't have a favorite and he would like to make his decision before his senior season if he can.

Clemson pulled a Florida State legacy prospect away from the Seminoles last week when TE Garrett Williams of Orlando announced a commitment to the Tigers.  He also had Florida State, Stanford and Auburn on his final short list. Williams is the son of former Florida State fullback Dayne Williams. He is Clemson's 15th commitment for the 2015 class.

WR Freddie Phillips of Pelion committed last week to N.C. State. He chose the Wolfpack over Wake Forest and North Carolina. "I stayed up there overnight not too long ago and it just felt right," Phillips said. "The camaraderie between the players made it one big family. I know that's where I want to be." His affinity for the coaching staff also played into his decision. "I really like coach (Dave) Doeren and the entire coaching staff," he said. "I think they've got it moving in the right direction and I can't wait to go there."

LB John Sutton (6-0, 227) of Swansea is considered one of the state's top prospects for the 2015 class, yet he's drawing little interest from USC or Clemson, according to his coach Chad Leaphart.  He camped at Clemson last year and went to three of its games, yet neither the Tigers nor the Gamecocks have been by to check on him this spring. "A lot of people fell off after his knee injury last season," Leaphart said.  Florida State, Ohio State and Georgia were some other interested parties before the injury. Sutton is healthy now and one of the schools that has stuck with him stands to land him. That would be North Carolina. Sutton counts offers from the Tar Heels, N.C. State, Virginia Tech, Duke, Louisville, Tennessee and Auburn, according to his coach. Sutton played in only two games last season before a knee injury ended his season. As a sophomore, he had 75 tackles with 21 tackles for loss and 6 forced fumbles.

Another Swansea prospect for 2015 is WR Craig Johnson (6-2, 200).  He had 34 for 600 yards and 9 touchdowns last season. He also plays linebacker and had 65 tackles last season. Johnson has offers from Marshall, Charlotte and Presbyterian.

DE Rasool Clemons of South Aiken has a top three of LSU, Florida State and Tennessee, with Clemson next on his list.

OL Austin Clark of Lexington, Va., set June 12 for his announcement date. USC is one of his final seven, and he plans to visit the Gamecocks one final time on Saturday.  He also visited the Gamecocks in the spring for a practice. Clark said he's also looking at visiting Virginia Tech and Tennessee before he decides. Clark said he's getting a strong push from USC at this point.

USC has one tight end committed for the 2015 class in Kyle Markway, and the Gamecocks are one of the favorites of another tight end in Connor Redmond.  They are also in the hunt for one of the nation's most highly acclaimed tight ends in Chris Clark (6-6, 252) of Ridgewood, N.J.  Clark attends school in Avon, Conn., and on Tuesday USC recruiter GA Mangus was by the school to visit with him. Clark wants to visit USC in June before he makes his announcement July 10 at The Opening. Last season, Clark had 38 catches for 417 yards and 6 touchdowns. Clark was once committed to North Carolina, but he decommitted earlier this year.

DB Tarvarus McFadden of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has Clemson in his final nine, along with Florida State, LSU, Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, Central Florida and Southern Cal.

DE Marquavius Lewis of Hutchinson JC, Kan., and Greenwood visited Auburn on Friday. He recently visited USC and had the Gamecocks at the top of his list but he's more open after the Auburn visit.

DE Darian Roseboro of Lincolnton, NC put out his top ten list earlier this month.   USC was not included but that hasn't stopped the Gamecocks from trying to make it a top 11.    The Gamecocks got on Roseboro late and that has him willing to take a look at what USC has to offer. "I want to get down there and get a good feel for it in person," Roseboro said. "They just want me to experience all they have to offer." Clemson did make his list. He has visited the Tigers twice and said his relationship with recruiter Marion Hobby is a good one. "He's one of the main reasons I like Clemson," Roseboro said. "It's a nice campus and kind of away from everything. I like that. It's also close to home." Other visits he plans to take over the summer are to Michigan and Tennessee. Roseboro would like to narrow his list to five by the end of the summer. The other schools in his top ten are NC State, Michigan, Tennessee, Ohio State, Florida, LSU, North Carolina, Alabama and Duke. He does not have favorite in his top ten right now.

Clemson is among the top four for DB Maurice Smitherman (5-9 180) of Adamsville, AL. Smitherman has Clemson, Mississippi State, Florida State and Georgia on his list. "I don't really have a favorite but Clemson and Mississippi State have a slight lead (over Georgia and Florida State," he said. Smitherman plans to attend camps at his top two schools over the summer.. Smitherman attended Clemson's final home game last season. a pretty campus." He remains unsure of when his decision will be made and has plans to take at least two official visits. As a junior he totaled 42 tackles, nine for loss, five pass deflections, three interceptions and four touchdowns.

USC offensive line target Jalen Merrick of New Smyrna Beach, FL has picked up recent offers from LSU, Arkansas, Louisville, Ole Miss and Central Florida.

Clemson last week offered WR Therrell Gosier of Pompano Beach, FL.

USC DB target Carlton Davis of Miami picked up an offer from Mississippi State last week.

ATH Rico Merriweather Jr. (6-2 190) of Augusta is hearing regularly from USC and plans to attend a camp there this summer.  He's not been offered by the Gamecocks but he senses some real interest. Merriweather's only offer is from Michigan State but he's getting interest from several other programs.  He also plans to attend camps at Clemson, Georgia and Georgia Tech over the summer.

DL Dexter Wideman of Saluda was one of USC's top signees in February and the Gamecocks are hopeful he will be with them in the fall.  Wideman admitted back them he had some work to do to be able to academically qualify for freshman eligibility.  He still has work to do but he is making progress. "He has made progress but it's going to go all the way to July," Saluda coach Stewart Young said.  Wideman continues to work on his overall GPA and he still has a couple of opportunities to take the SAT/ACT. And the other key development for Wideman, according to his coach, is he's improved to the point where if he does not qualify, prep school could become an option, not just junior college.

USC signee TE Kalan Ritchie announced last week that he will enroll at Georgia Military JC this fall and plans to join the Gamecocks in January of 2016. Ritchie said he plans to stick with his USC commitment while at the JC.

Basketball News:

Clemson's basketball staff entertained 2015 PG Ty Hudson of Mableton, GA last Monday.  He and his mother spent about four hours meeting with head coach Brad Brownell and his assistants and came away thoroughly impressed. Hudson also liked the things he heard from Brownell about how he would fit in with his program. "They told me their starting point guard graduates next year so I can get some playing time right away.  That's what everybody wants to hear.  They give their guards a lot of freedom.  They let them go out on the court and make their decisions.  I like that." Hudson has the Tigers out front right now but adds he hasn't had the chance to visit anywhere else yet.  "Not by a wide margin.  I haven't been to a lot of schools." Tennessee just recently offer Hudson as did Virginia Tech.  He also holds offers from UAB, Houston, Western Kentucky, Kansas State, Mercer and Kennesaw State.  He plans to visit Virginia Tech in June and also wants to visit Auburn.   And he plans to revisit Clemson for a football game. Hudson said he would like to make a decision later this summer or early in the school year.

Former Tennessee forward AJ Davis has interest from Clemson, Central Florida, DePaul and Florida State.

Georgia, Clemson, Georgia State are expected to be in the mix for 6-8 Maryland transfer Charles Mitchell who is a native of Atlanta and is leaving Maryland to be close to his family.

Houston transfer 6-7 Danuel House visited Texas A&M last week. House has also visited USC and UCLA andis expected to visit LSU. He said the Gamecocks do remain in the running for him. He does not have a date for a decision at this point.

USC could also get a visit from Georgia Tech transfer 6-8 Robert Carter Jr. He visited St. Johns last week and will visit Maryland June 2nd. He's also considering possible visits to USC, and Kansas. Carter averaged 11 points and 8 rebounds per game last season.

6-6 Tevin Mack of Dreher Monday picked up an offer from East Carolina giving him a total of eleven.  His other offers are Georgia, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami of Ohio, South Florida, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth, Mississippi State, Wake Forest and Auburn. USC and Clemson continue to show strong interest in Mack.  He's been in touch USC coach Frank Martin and Clemson assistant Earl Grant in recent days.  Mack visited USC a couple of weeks back and plans to visit Clemson in June.  He also plans to get to Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Wake Forest and Mississippi State this summer. Mack does not have any favorites.

2014 Western Nebraska JC, NE 6-10 C DouDou Gueye signed with SC State