It's the Super Bowl of recruiting in South Carolina. And it will be played out this week in all its glory between USC and Clemson for the nation's top prospect, South Pointe defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Sources said last week Alabama has faded with Clowney, and his coach at South Pointe, Bobby Carroll, supported that information.
Carroll again said he feels Clowney is the Gamecocks' to lose.
"That's what my gut feeling is," he said. "He's not saying a whole lot. I think he pretty much knows where he wants to go, though."
Carroll also said Clowney has not told him of plans to make any more visits, official or unofficial. That includes a rumored unofficial visit to Clemson for Saturday's basketball game with North Carolina.
Clowney played in basketball games Friday and Saturday, attending his high school football banquet in between. A film crew from New York returned to Rock Hill Friday to resume the documentary it is doing on Clowney. A source said over the weekend it's becoming apparent Clowney is ready for the saga to end.
"He said he's tired," the source said. "He said he's kind of ready for it to be over with."
The source said Clowney remains tight-lipped about what he's thinking, but he said Clowney may know where he's going.
"He wants it to be a shock," the source said. "He doesn't want anybody to know what he's going to do. Part of it is he's still up in the air. But deep down inside he knows."
The source said Clowney doesn't want a repeat of what offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio went through on National Signing Day. Kouandjio announced a commitment to Auburn on ESPNU but had second thoughts and signed with Alabama over the weekend.
USC cornerback Stephon Gilmore attended Clowney's game Saturday night and spoke with him briefly after the game. A producer at ESPNU has told Clowney he wants him back on their recruiting show this Thursday afternoon. That appearance has not been finalized. Clowney is expected to make his announcement at 10:15 a.m. next Monday, but the location has not been announced.
In other recruiting news:
The letter of intent from WR Damiere Byrd of New Jersey arrived at South Carolina on Friday afternoon, making the speedster the 27th signee for the Gamecocks' class. Byrd was in Japan for a track meet, and it took a few extra days for the letter of intent to be signed by he and his parents and faxed in to the USC football office. Byrd is one of the fastest players in the country. He has run a 10.42 in the 100 meters and a 21.90 in the 200 meters. Last football season, he accounted for more than 1,500 offensive yards.
Now, it's on to the class of 2012, and Clemson has its first commitment. Junior OL Jay Guillermo (6-3, 287) of Maryville, Tenn., announced a commitment to the Tigers on Sunday. Guillermo grew up a strong Clemson fan, and when the Tigers offered him last week, that sealed his decision.
"Once I got that offer, that's the one I really wanted," Guillermo said.
Guillermo made four unofficial visits to Clemson. He also visited Alabama and drew interest from Tennessee. Guillermo is a center and helped his team win a state championship last season.
Guillermo said he will look into possibly graduating early so he can enroll at Clemson next January.
OL Patrick Destefano (6-6, 280) of Dorman has offers from Clemson, USC, Stanford, Tennessee, North Carolina, N.C. State, Penn State, Maryland, Duke and Wake Forest, among others. His coach, David Gutshall, says he is also hearing from Notre Dame.
Destefano was at Clemson's junior day and has the Tigers in his lead group early on along with Duke, Stanford, Penn State, Notre Dame and Tennessee.
DL Gimel President (6-4, 250) of Wando has six verbal offers and is looking for more. USC, Clemson, North Carolina, N.C. State, Maryland and Tennessee have already offered, according to his coach, Jimmy Noonan.
"He's a strong kid," said Noonan. "He has a big frame with all of the tools."
As a junior, President had 60 tackles along with six sacks. He doesn't have a favorite.
DB Elijah Shumate (6-1, 205) of Ramsey, N.J., has offers from USC, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Georgia, Maryland, Arizona, Colorado, Southern Cal, Pitt, Rutgers, LSU and Oregon.
Shumate has been invited to junior days at South Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn State, Boston College, North Carolina and Wisconsin. As a junior, Shumate had 65 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks. He says his top five schools are USC, Georgia, North Carolina, Rutgers and LSU.
Junior DL Earl Moore (6-2, 280) of Tampa, Fla., has offers from USC, Florida State, Georgia, South Florida, Southern Cal and Texas Tech. He is hearing from Florida, Auburn and Tennessee. The junior defensive lineman has USC, FSU and Georgia as his top three, in no order. As a junior, Moore had 68 tackles and six sacks.
RB Keith Marshall (5-10, 190) of Raleigh has offers from USC, Clemson, North Carolina, N.C. State, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, South Florida, Duke, Georgia, Georgia Tech, California, Notre Dame, Maryland, Minnesota, Southern Cal and Virginia Tech. He is receiving contact from over 50 schools. Marshall rushed for over 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. He does not have a leader.
LB T.J. Burrell (6-1, 195) of Goose Creek has received offers from South Carolina and Clemson, and is hearing from Alabama and Georgia Tech. The junior linebacker compiled 105 tackles, two sacks and three interceptions in just 10 games this past season. Burrell says schools are looking at him to play a hybrid position.
Burrell has Clemson and USC at the top of his list.