South Carolina vs. Clemson (copy)

South Carolina and Clemson recruiting is in a dead period but the recruiting news cycle never stops. Travis Bell/Sideline Carolina

The football recruiting period dead period, which commenced last Monday, brought a little peace and quiet to all involved. Coaches finally got a chance to take a vacation and recruits got a break from camps and visits, though some have continued to participate in seven on seven tournaments and recruiting network combines. But there will be some news this week for South Carolina Gamecock fans.

CB Joey Hunter of Tyrone, Ga., has set Tuesday for his commitment announcement. His only official visit was to USC June 22nd. He also has made unofficial visits to Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Colorado. Hunter said Sunday he’s made his decision and will release it via Twitter. The choice came down to USC and Texas A&M. Syracuse, Boston College, Vanderbilt and Pitt also were on his short list.

The Gamecocks are also on commitment watch with LB Desmond Tisdol of Rochelle, Ga., and WR Jaheim Bell of Valdosta, Ga.

The battle for Tisdol is with Auburn. “He told me his plan is to commit in December and sign then,” Wilcox County coach Rob Stowe said Wednesday night. “The longer this thing goes, the better it is for South Carolina. He said he’s still leaning to Auburn but says he’s not certain that’s his school. The longer this goes seems to favor South Carolina. Coach Hutzler wants him to official (visit) during their banquet in December. If he’s not committed to Auburn by then, I’d like South Carolina’s chances.” Stowe said Tisdol has just a few criteria he’s using to measure the schools. “Close proximity for his family, how he fits in with coaches and players, and the chance to win.”

Bell has been a Florida commitment, but he took an official visit to USC in early June and since then there has been growing speculation that he will flip to the Gamecocks. Bell is at The Opening Finals this week in Dallas and could have something to say on the matter there.

WR EJ Williams of Phenix City, Ala., has Alabama No. 1 and Clemson No. 2 at this point according to 247Sports which spoke with Williams at Sunday’s check-in at The Opening Finals in Frisco, Texas. He was back at Clemson during camp last month and had the chance to work out with 2020 quarterback commitment DJ Uiagalelei. “It was a great visit as always,” Williams said. “It was eye-opening to see a young quarterback like him throwing at such a high caliber. Basically they told me that they have a plan for me and if I trust them it will all fall into place.” Williams took official visits in June to LSU and Auburn. He also plans to take a visit to Alabama in late July, and he plans to return to Clemson for the the All-In Cookout as he zeroes in on his decision to be announced August 24th.

DE Jacolbe Cowan of Charlotte remains a national presence on the recruiting scene, and he only enhanced his status with his showing last week at the Rivals Five-Star Challenge in Atlanta. This week he is at The Opening. Before the dead period struck, Cowan got in his first official visit to Ohio State. Cowan also got back to USC for an unofficial visit last month. It was just a one-day stay but it was enough to further build the relationship with the Gamecocks that remains strong. He plans a return visit to USC after the dead period ends but no date has been set. Some of the others he has mentioned on his short list are Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, NC State and LSU. Cowan plans to sign in December and graduate early.

WR Christian “Scoobie” Ford (5-10 170) of Marietta, Ga., is a new name to watch regarding USC’s recruiting efforts after the dead period ends in late July. Ford transferred in January from Georgia Southern, where he redshirted last season, to Iowa Central JC, and after a strong performance in camp earlier this month, he landed an offer from Will Muschamp and receivers coach Bryan McClendon. “I’ve known Coach McClendon for two or three years and he’s been recruiting me, and I know players like Jaycee Horn and Randrecous Davis, I know them very well,” Ford said. “He just told me to come to the camp and if I do good he’s going to offer me on the spot. I did do well, all the drills and my one-on-one. He likes that I’m versatile and can play inside and out, and I’m fast. And I can run any route on the route tree.” In his final two seasons of high school ball, Ford totaled 80 catches for 1119 yards and 8 touchdowns according to stats on MaxPreps. USC is Ford’s only major offer at this point, but he said Missouri, Pitt, Rutgers and Oregon are showing interest. He has not set up any official visits but he said he and McClendon have talked about him taking one to USC. Ford will graduate in December so he will sign early and enroll in January.

LB Justin Flowe of Upland, Calif., told Rivals last week Clemson is on him strong. He plans to visit Clemson and he is set with an official to Alabama September 22nd. Florida, Georgia, Texas and Southern Cal are others of interest.

CB Jahquez Robinson of Jacksonville, Fla., an Alabama commitment, said USC definitely will get an official visit from him. No date has been set. He visited USC the last weekend of camps.

Hammond star DE Jordan Burch, one of the top players in the country, visited Alabama the last weekend before the dead period. He’s also been to USC and Georgia this summer.

USC target DE Myles Murphy of Greensboro, N.C., set his announcement for July 8th. He also has UNC, Alabama, LSU and Florida on his short list.

USC target DE Reggie Grimes of Brentwood, Tenn., has set November 2nd for his announcement. He’s down to USC, Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

DE Desmond Evans of Sanford, N.C., plans to return to USC for the social gathering in late July. He will take all of his officials during the season and won’t release those five until his football season. There is no favorite at this point.

Clemson target WR Ajou Ajou of Clearwater, Fla., took an official visit to Nebraska prior to the dead period.

Hammond DB Fabian Goodman (5-10 160) received a preferred walk-on offer from USC.

2021 CB/RB Kamarro Edmonds (5-11 190) of Havelock, N.C., has made multiple visits to USC, including a camp stop last month, and he feels very comfortable with the program. According to MaxPreps, last season Edmonds rushed for 500 yards and 5 touchdowns averaging nearly 10 yards per carry. He also had 33 tackles with 1 interceptions and 6 pass deflections.

2021 LB Smael Mondon (6-3 210) of Dallas, Ga., is considered one of the top linebacker prospects nationally for the 2021 class. He visited Clemson recently and landed an offer. “I didn’t know it was coming. It was like a complete surprise,” Mondon said. “They came to one of my spring practices and then we’ve (he and Venables) been staying in contact. He was talking about my instincts and being able to blitz and run.” Mondon already owns 27 offers, and he still has two more seasons of high school football to play thru. And while the Clemson offer is big, and sits right up there with Alabama, Georgia and others, he’s not ready to identify any favorites. “I like them, but at the moment I really like every school that’s offered me,” Mondon said. “It’s all even.” However, he did agree Clemson, Alabama and Georgia are resonating strongly with him at this point.

2021 DE Naquan Brown (6-3 200) of Virginia Beach landed an offer from USC the last weekend of camps. “I like the way everything’s set down there, the atmosphere and the facilities. The coaches down there are inspirational and coaches I would enjoy to be coached by. They said they like the way I can fire off the ball and my speed and ability to get to the QB.” Brown visited Virginia Tech a few weeks ago and wants to visit LSU, Michigan, Penn State, TCU and Ohio State.

USC offensive line coach Eric Wolford identified 2021 OL Tanner Bivins (6-2 285) of Norcross, Ga., as a prospect he likes and offered him May 30th making the Gamecocks his first offer. That, of course, immediately pushed the Gamecocks into the forefront of his recruiting. Last month Bivins made several camp stops, the last one coming last weekend at USC. That experience further brought the two sides closer together. USC remains his only major college offer at this point, but Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Syracuse, Iowa State and Georgia are all expressing interest. He has visited Chapel Hill three times. Last month Bivins also camped at Duke, Northwestern, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Vanderbilt. Bivins, who also plays on the defensive line and is a wrestler, plans on return visits to USC, Georgia and North Carolina this fall.

2021 QB Shedeur Sanders, a USC target and brother of Gamecock DB Shilo Sanders, was offered by Tennessee.

Clemson offered 2021 OL Jared Wilson (6-4 325) of Clemmons, N.C.

Clemson made the top 12 with 2021 WR Agiye Hall of Plant City, Fla., along with Ohio State, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Texas, Oregon, LSU, Arizona State, Ole Miss and Southern Cal.

Carolina Forest QB Mason Garcia plans to announce his commitment July 5th. His offers include Missouri, Cincinnati, Appalachian State, Charlotte and Bowling Green.

Basketball news

USC basketball coach Frank Martin completed the Dorman double on Thursday by hosting 6-9 PJ Hall and his parents for an unofficial visit. The prior week Hall’s teammate, PG Myles Tate, was in for an unofficial visit. Both players have offers from Martin and he’s made their top priorities for his 2020 class. “It was a very good visit,” Hall said. “We were shown around the campus a little more and had a fun photo shoot as well. And we got to spend quality time with the staff as well.” That time included some direct talk with Martin who got another chance to present Hall with his argument for why his program would be his best fit. “It was the same message of playing in front of your home state, in front of people that love you. He also talked about how much he will develop my game even from what it is right now.” Hall has had a lot of exposure to the Gamecocks via visits to Columbia and the coaches tracking his every move on the AAU circuit. The Gamecocks have a place at the table with him as he goes thru the decision-making process, and the visit helped them hold on to that spot. “They didn’t move it up or down, but I did have a great time,” Hall said. “USC stands well with me.” Hall has been working with a top group of USC, Clemson, Florida, Virginia Tech and Tennessee. He has taken official visits to Clemson and Florida.

Tate was offered last week by Butler and Ole Miss.

Clemson offered 6-7 PF Noah Collier of Norristown, Pa., and 6-2 Caleb Murphy of Loganville, Ga.

USC target 6-6 Earl Timberlake of Hyattsville, Md., was offered by Cal according to PrepCircuit, and by North Carolina according to Stockrisers.

6-9 Patrick Iriel of AC Flora was offered by Cincinnati according to Phenom Hoops.

2021 wing Bryce McGowens of Wren added offers last week from USC, Georgia Tech and Providence. McGowens picked up his offer from the Gamecocks a day after spending several hours with Martin and staff on campus for an unofficial visit. McGowens also has visited Clemson, Xavier, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. His other offers include those four along with LSU, Wichita State, TCU, Nebraska, Pitt and St. John’s. Last season, according to MaxPreps stats, McGowens averaged 26 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists per game. His brother is a sophomore guard at Pitt.

Florida and Georgia Tech offered 2021 7-0 John Butler of Christ Church.

Clemson and USC offered 2022 6-7 SF Julian Philips of Blythewood.

Coastal signed added 6-8 Essam Mostafa of Egypt, NY to its 2019 class.

Baseball news

2022 RHP Brock Porter (6-0 150) of Milford, Mich., committed to Clemson.

2022 INF Keegan Knutson of Janesville, Wis., committed to USC.

USC signee OF James Nix, a 35th round pick of the Astros, decided to sign with Houston according to John Whittle of the TheBigSpur.

Gene Sapakoff is a columnist and College Sports Editor at The Post and Courier.

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