The state’s top basketball prospect in the 2020 class, 6-9 PJ Hall of Dorman High School in Spartanburg, has released his final five schools. Hall named Clemson, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech as the schools he will take official visits to in the weeks ahead, and he will choose one prior to his season.
South Carolina also was in strong pursuit but did not make the cut. “We were talking about really seeing the Gamecocks, but I just thought in my head I wouldn’t be happy and I didn’t want to waste their time,” Hall said from Los Angeles where his AAU team is playing the Adidas Gauntlet Finale. “I’m just moving on to the other options.” USC coach Frank Martin had to cancel a scheduled in-home visit in May and did not reschedule, though he did meet with Hall and his teammate point guard Myles Tate at school. Hall took an unofficial visit to USC in late June. He also visited for the final regular-season home game against Georgia. Clemson gives Hall the hometown option. Hall took one of his junior official visits to Clemson in early June.
Hall also took a junior official visit to Florida where his sister is a volleyball player. Tennessee coach Rick Barnes also has made Hall a high priority and was the first head coach to visit him at school when it was allowed by NCAA rules. And Hall has had a long-standing relationship with Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young. Hall’s dad played at Wofford and Young, of course, was the coach at Wofford until moving to Blacksburg after last season.
Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner got into the mix later than the others. Clemson will be the first to get one of the five official visits. He is set to visit the Tigers on Sept. 6. Two weeks later he will visit Florida.
Clemson made the final seven with 6-5 Myles Stute of Washington, D.C. The others are Vanderbilt, Marquette, Virginia Tech, Pitt, Florida and Texas A&M.
2021 6-5 Kowacie Reeves of Macon, Georgia, was offered by Clemson.
USC target 6-5 Earl Timberlake of Hyattsville, Md., will name his top seven schools this week. He has taken official visits to USC and Providence.
USC target 6-6 Matt Cross has scheduled an official visit to Florida for Monday according to Corey Evans of Rivals. He will take one to Texas A&M this coming weekend. He has taken official visits to USC, Indiana, Miami and Butler.
Dorman PG Myles Tate was offered by Pittsburgh.
6-5 Bryce McGowens of Wren was offered by Florida.
6-8 Ja’Von Benson of Ridge View was offered by James Madison and Mercer.
6-7 Raekwon Horton of Keenan was offered by the College of Charleston, North Florida and Indiana State.
The USC women offered 6-1 Joyce Edwards, a rising 8th grader at Camden High School.
Cornerback Dominick Hill of Orlando, Fla., committed to USC in late June and he’s holding to that right now though the interest from others continues. Evidence of that, an offer last week from Texas. Hill took an unofficial visit to Texas in late March, so he knew the interest was there and wasn’t totally surprised by the offer.
“My (former) teammate goes there now and he’s been telling me I was going to get it, and I was like cool, OK, cool,” Hill said. “It means a little but I’m still with Carolina. Carolina is where I committed and I’m 100 percent. They are still in the lead. But, things can change. I’m being patient. Anything can happen.” Hill said he remains in contact with the Gamecocks, though the regularity of that has dropped off some compared to how much he was hearing from them during the recruiting process. “I hear from them a little bit, not like I used to,” he said.
Hill has targeted the Florida game in Columbia for his next visit with the Gamecocks. He has taken official visits to USC and Missouri and he said he might take other officials to Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia. He plans to sign in December and graduate early.
Cornerback Jahquez Robinson of Jacksonville, Fla., has been committed to Alabama since February but his recruiting remains live. He plans an eventual visit to USC and attended a Will Muschamp camp in June, where he picked up his offer.
“He’s comparing me to Jaycee Horn and Israel (Mukuamu),” Robinson said of Muschamp. “He had me working with those guys a lot, talking with them. He was just saying there’s nothing wrong being a big fish in a good-size pond, basically meaning it’s OK being a great player and going to a school like South Carolina and making a name for yourself early. He’s trying to change the program around. He’s telling me that I can go in there and be on the field early and make plays, all to get to the next level.”
Robinson plans to take his official visit to Alabama the weekend of the LSU game. He also is looking at Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Ole Miss for official visits. Last season Robinson had 22 tackles and 2 interceptions.
USC made the top six with WR Kentron Poitier of Miami. The others are Tennessee, Syracuse, Florida State, Louisville and Florida.
USC is in the top four with SAF Ja’Qurious Conley of Jacksonville, N.C. Also on the short list are North Carolina, Duke and Virginia Tech.
Wide receiver Deajuan McDougle of Deerfield Beach, Fla., named a top five of USC, Maryland, Ohio State, Oregon and Purdue. He took an official visit to USC in June. He plans to announce a commitment July 30.
Long-time USC target LB Desmond Tisdol of Rochelle, Ga., tweeted a graphic last week indicating his schools of interest now are USC, Auburn, Florida, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Central Florida and South Florida. He plans to take more visits in the fall and is not likely to make a decision until then.
Wide receiver Ruben Jackson of Belle Glade, Fla., said he will visit Clemson this weekend. He also visited in late March.
USC has long had interest in 2021 running back Will Shipley (5-11, 198) of Matthews, N.C. The Gamecocks were one of his first offers and he has visited four times (five if you include competing in a 7-on-7 tournament on campus). He also visited a Gamecocks practice in Charlotte prior to the Belk Bowl. So, the Gamecocks have a prominent position in his recruiting.
And now, so does Clemson. The Tigers offered Shipley last week during a phone call with running backs coach Tony Elliott. “It’s huge in my recruitment,” Shipley said. “National champions. Great atmosphere. Everything they do. The type of players they generate on and off the field. It’s kind of hard to look at it and say, 'I don’t want to take a look at that.' They are going to play a vital role in my recruitment.” Shipley camped at Clemson in June and was one of the impressive offensive performers there. That caught Elliott’s attention and the interest has grown from there. Shipley has also remained in touch with USC running backs coach Thomas Brown. “He likes how physical I am as a back my size,” Shipley said. “He likes how physical I am, how versatile I am. I’m not the type of running back who has to stay between the tackles or go outside, I can kind of do both. That’s the way he likes me.”
Shipley has had a lot of exposure to the Gamecocks and Muschamp, and he’s found a lot to like there as well. “I love the vibe at South Carolina, everything they’re doing,” Shipley said. “The recruiting class they’re bringing in. Coach Muschamp and the family feel that he has surrounding the program. I love the Gamecocks and I love the atmosphere. I’m looking forward to getting back for a game this season.” Shipley has not compiled a short list of favorites, but he said along with Clemson and USC, he’s getting the strongest recruiting interest right now from N.C. State, Duke, North Carolina, Northwestern, Stanford, Notre Dame, Georgia, Ohio State and Michigan. Shipley also has visited Northwestern, Stanford, North Carolina, Duke and NC State.
Last season he rushed for 1,450 yards and 19 touchdowns and had 450 receiving yards with 7 touchdowns.
Clemson is evaluating for an offer 2021 defensive end Brandon Buckner (6-3, 241) of Chandler, Ariz., the son of former Clemson star Brentson Buckner. The younger Buckner has made many trips to Clemson for games, and he also has been in as a recruit, first in April and most recently in June for a camp session. Buckner has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Northern Arizona, Oregon, Oregon State, Maryland and Iowa State. And of course, an offer from Clemson would be extra special. Buckner visited Clemson for the spring game, so he got a taste of the game day atmosphere from a recruit’s view. “The trip was amazing. Just being on campus and seeing everything for a while was awesome,” Buckner said. “The fans, they really came out in the orange and white. Just seeing all of the players running down the hill, that moment is just surreal. I really enjoyed my time down there. As a recruit, it’s a whole different perspective. It’s fun as a recruit. I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a little kid. I want to be where Xavier Thomas is. I want to run down that hill. Seeing all of that in first person, you get to just soak it in. It’s definitely life changing being in that moment and looking at it all like, ‘You’ve been dreaming and hopefully, I get the chance to get there.’ It was a good moment for me.”
Clemson target 2021 center Ryan Linthicum will visit Michigan this weekend.
Clemson offered 2021 defensive end Korey Foreman (6-4, 245) of Corona, Calif., and 2021 DE Cade Denhoff (6-5, 225) of Lakeland, Fla.
2021 QB Drake Maye of Charlotte committed to Alabama. His dad played football and his brother played basketball at UNC. He also had offers from Clemson and USC.
RHP Travis Luensmann of Altoona, Pa., committed to USC.