Player of the Year Michel Dukes 101218_004.JPG

First Baptist running back and all-lowcountry co-football player of the year, Michel Dukes, is pictured on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. Lauren Petracca/Staff

Clemson had one official visit over the weekend in running back Michel Dukes of First Baptist, and the Tigers offered him before he departed campus Sunday.

Dukes was one of the state’s top running backs in his career. In his last two seasons, he rushed for over 4,100 yards and 63 touchdowns. Dukes also has taken official visits to East Carolina and Syracuse. Orange coach Dino Babers made his in-home visit last week. Dukes also has basketball offers from ECU and IUPUI.

Dukes is one of two running backs the Tigers are pursuing, the other being Jerrion Ealy of Jackson, Miss.

Ealy took his official visit earlier this month, and the Tigers appear in strong position with him despite the returning talent at running back.

“Nothing is really set in stone until you go through practice and they evaluate you then, but as of right now, I’ll be considered the fifth man on the depth chart, well fourth or fifth,” Ealy said. "They just want you to come in and work hard. I feel like I’ll provide them with a little bit more game out of catching the ball out of the backfield than usual until I establish myself in the run game tremendously. I’d kind of have a role like that early on, be an adequate amount playing time my first few years.”

Ealy led his team in receiving yards last season with 398 along with three touchdowns. He rushed for 1,526 yards and 24 touchdowns. Ealy has now taken official visits to Clemson and Mississippi State, and he’s scheduled for an official visit to Mississippi this weekend. He’s a former commitment for the Rebels. He’s also a major baseball talent and may never play college football, depending on this summer’s draft. Former Vanderbilt baseball star Hunter Bledsoe, who played five years of pro ball with three organizations, is his adviser on the baseball side of things.

In other recruiting news:

South Carolina’s big junior day gathering on Saturday resulted in one new commitment for the 2020 class.

Wide receiver Da’Qon Stewart (6-2, 194) of Huntersville, N.C., said he committed to Will Muschamp while on campus with his parents.

“I’m happy, I’m happy to get it out of the way. This is the play I wanted to be,” Stewart said Saturday afternoon.

“I love everything about it. It’s a family. I’m going to play outside receiver, and they told me it’s got a chance to be one of the best classes they’ve had, my class. We got one of the best quarterbacks coming in next year, and we’ve got the best quarterback in my class coming in for 2020. It’s going to be a good, strong style of offense.”

Stewart got a chance to see the facilities USC has to offer, including the new football operations building that opened earlier this month.

“The facilities they’ve got now are second to none, one of the best in the country.”

USC is the lone Power Five offer for Stewart at this point. He also has a UMass offer and interest from other programs. However, he’s not worried about all that now that he’s committed to the Gamecocks.

“This does it for me,” he said. “I feel like my heart is here. I love everything about this place. So, I feel like I’m just going to shut it (recruiting) down.”

Last season, Stewart had 75 catches for over 900 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. He’s the Gamecocks’ fourth commitment for the 2020 class.

One of the last remaining recruiting targets for USC’s 2019 class is CB Dequanteous Watts of Atlanta. Over the weekend, he made his official visit with his aunt and left with the Gamecocks in a good place with him.

“The players and the coaches showed me how much they loved me and how much they want me to come there and possibly start as a true freshman,” Watts said. “They showed me the depth chart and showed me two of their seniors are leaving at DB, so there’s a possibility I could be playing early.”

Watts will visit Oregon this weekend and is looking at Louisville or Maryland for the last visit. He had planned to announce Jan. 28, but now he won’t and will wait until around Feb. 3 or 4. Muschamp, Watts said, will be in Atlanta Wednesday with Bryan McClendon for an in-home visit. He’s also expecting coaches from Louisville, Maryland, Syracuse and West Virginia to visit next week.

Also taking an official visit to USC over the weekend was DL Jaquaze Sorrells of Winter Park, Fla. Sorrells, a former Florida commitment, is down to the Gamecocks, Penn State and Alabama. This visit was the fourth he’s made to USC during the recruiting process. Muschamp and defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson had their in-home visit with him earlier this month. Coaches from Penn State and Alabama had schools visits last week.

Among prospects who confirmed unofficial visits to Clemson on Twitter on Saturday were 2019 RB Danrell Albright of McDonough, Ga., 2020 PK Cali Canaval of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., 2020 DL Dezmond Tell (6-1, 265) of Hampton, Ga., 2020 DL Jarrell Culbreth (6-0, 250) of Atlanta, 2021 OL Quinton Bradford of Norcross, Ga., and 2022 LB Jeremy West-Pirtle of Palm Coast, Fla.

Among prospects who confirmed unofficial visits to USC on Twitter on Saturday were 2020 OL Ray Curry of Memphis, 2020 LB Jonathan Chaney of Saraland, Ala., 2020 SAF Jaidyn Denis of Charlotte, 2021 DE Javari Wilson of Kings Mountain, N.C., and 2021 LB Dameon Wilson of Kings Mountain, N.C.

Other confirmed visitors to USC through media interviews were 2020 LB Trenton Simpson of Charlotte, 2020 WR Michael Wyman of Greensboro, N.C., 2020 ATH Ja’Qurious Conley of Jacksonville, N.C., 2020 OL Avery Jernigan of Blackshear, Ga., 2020 LB Mohamed Kaba of Clinton, N.C., 2021 TE Cane Berrong of Hartwell, Ga., 2021 OL Eli Sutton of Brentwood, Tenn., 2021 OL Micah Morris of Kingsland, Ga., 2021 WR Kobe Paysour of Kings Mountain, N.C.

DE Kedrick Bingley-Jones of Kannapolis, N.C., who decommitted from Florida last week, planned to visit USC on Saturday.

OL Darius Washington of Pensacola, Fla., remains undecided. According to the Miami 247Sports site, he took an official visit with the Hurricanes over the weekend. He also took official visits to USC and Mississippi State. He said he continues to hear from the Gamecocks. Clemson also has been in touch, and he said things are “up in the air” with the Tigers at this point. He has been committed to Mississippi State and has publicly maintained that despite his other visits.

CB Shilo Sanders of Cedar Hill, Texas, said his scheduled official visit to Tennessee earlier this month was canceled and won’t be rescheduled. He has taken official visits to USC and Colorado State and has no others scheduled at this point. He said the Gamecocks remain in contact. “They are recruiting for sure,” he said. “Everything is pretty much the same. I definitely like South Carolina, for sure. But I like every school.” Florida State and Michigan State were two others Sanders had on his short list. Sanders said he will make his commitment announcement before Feb. 6.

USC target CB Jammie Robinson of Leesburg, Ga., visited Tennessee over the weekend. He told media in Knoxville after the visit that was his last official visit and he'll talk with his mom and brother about his decision. He also has taken officials to USC, Auburn and Kentucky and his decision will come from one of those SEC teams.

USC signee CB Cam Smith still plans to enroll in school early and is just waiting on the go ahead from the NCAA. Smith said the holdup for him was his SAT score, which improved quite a bit from his first test to the second, so he had to get the second score validated and sent in to the NCAA. That has been done, and he expects to hear back from the NCAA this week. He will enroll at that point.

2020 OL Javion Cohen of Phenix City, Ala., was offered by USC. West Virginia and Coastal Carolina also are recent offers. He plans to visit USC this Saturday and Coastal Carolina Sunday.

USC offered 2020 OL Vershon Lee (6-3, 290) of Woodbridge, Va. Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Tennessee are some other offers. He was at USC on Saturday.

USC also offered 2020 LB Desmond Tisdol of Rochelle, Ga., 2020 SAF Jerrold Pough (6-0, 172) of Hollywood, Fla., 2020 RB Thaddius Franklin of Hollywood, Fla., 2021 ATH Phillip O’Brien Jr. of Deerfield Beach, Fla., 2021 LB Gaethan Bernadel (6-1, 210) of Hallandale, Fla., 2021 DE Jack Hollifield (6-3, 225) of Shelby, N.C., 2022 OL Fisher Anderson (6-5, 250) of Franklin, Tenn., and 2022 DE Shemar Stewart (6-4, 215) of Miami.

Clemson offered 2020 WR Xzavier Henderson (6-4, 185) of Miami, 2020 SAF Chris Thompson (6-2, 195) of Duncanville, Texas, and 2021 LB Aaron Willis of Baltimore. Willis currently is committed to Virginia Tech.

Clemson commitment 2020 OL Walker Parks was offered by West Virginia.

Clemson is setting the stage for a big junior day event on Saturday. The Tigers are bringing in several key 2020 targets, including LB Kevin Swint of Carrollton, Ga. And as things stand with him right now, Swint is strongly considering becoming a Tigers commitment on that visit. “I hear from Clemson almost every day,” Swint said. “They say I am the top guy in the class of 2020, and they want me to be that guy that comes in and help fill in the missing linebacker pieces that will be leaving in a couple of years. Right now, they are the top school for me, that’s really about it. They are the top school. I think they have a big lead on everybody else.” Swint also has been looking at USC, Florida and Wisconsin. But Clemson is the big leader for him going into his next visit. Last season Swint had 120 tackles with 6 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and an interception.

2020 CB Fred Davis of Jacksonville, 2020 DB Luke Hill of Washington, D.C., 2020 DE Bryan Bresee of Demascus, Md., 2020 WR Rakim Jarrett of Washington, D.C., and 2020 WR Julian Fleming of Catawissa, Pa., also are among the juniors planning to visit Clemson on Saturday.

Last year, Clemson pulled WR Justyn Ross out of Phenix City, Ala., and the Tigers are going back into that program seeing another talented receiver in EJ Williams (6-3, 183). “Coach I have the strongest relationship with is coach Jeff Scott,” Williams said. “We talk every day about how I would fit in at Clemson. I feel like if I go there, I can make an immediate impact. They told me I would be the “nine” man, what Tee Higgins and (Justyn) Ross play. I’d be the boundary receiver.” Williams attended two Clemson home games this past season and he was in for a visit last weekend. “I always get the same vibe from Clemson,” Williams said. “I always go up there and they show me a good time. They don’t have to put on a face because they see oh, that’s EJ, we’ve got to act this type of way. They are going to act like that even when I’m not there, I know that. They give me that vibe every time I go there. I have a good time every time I go up there.” Like Ross, Williams said he would have no problem leaving the state. He also has visited Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi, Florida State and Florida. He visited Georgia this past weekend and will visit Clemson this weekend. He also plans to visit in the coming weeks Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Florida State and Florida. He will not announce a decision until the December signing day. This past season Williams had 40 catches for 368 yards and 9 touchdowns.

USC 2020 baseball commitment OF Brandon Fields of Orlando on his status with the Gamecocks: “Yes, everything (as of right now) is still solid with SC and I plan to play both baseball and football.” Fields said he’s been in touch with new RB coach Thomas Brown. He’s not sure when he’ll visit again.

USC recruiter Mike Peterson was at Hammond School on Friday night scouting 2020 DE Jordan Burch in his basketball game. Burch and his 2020 teammate DL Alex Huntley visited USC on Saturday. Huntley was recently offered by LSU. Clemson’s Brandon Streeter, Georgia outside linebackers coach Dan Lanning and LSU head coach Ed Orgeron were in the school last week. Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley and assistant Shane Beamer plan to visit this week.

Muschamp last week paid a visit to the high school of 2020 RB target Don Chaney Jr. of Miami. He has offers from Miami, Florida, Georgia and USC among numerous others. He was scheduled to visit USC on Saturday. Chaney’s father played for the Gamecocks.

USC QB coach Dan Werner last week checked in on 2022 QB Ty Simpson of Martin, Tenn.

USC target CB Jammie Robinson of Leesburg, Ga., took an official visit to Tennessee over the weekend. He’s also taken officials to USC, Kentucky and Auburn. His decision is expected to come from one of those four.

Socastee CB Kenney Solomon landed offers from Rutgers and Colorado. He took an official visit to Louisville over the weekend. He’s also been unofficially to Tennessee.

ATH DJ Chisolm of Berkeley committed to Middle Tennessee State.

2020 WR Jalen Coit and 2020 DE Xavier McIver of Cheraw were offered by ECU.

2020 WR Jalin Hyatt of Dutch Fork has added offers from Penn State, Kentucky, Wake Forest and Coastal Carolina. He visited Virginia Tech over the weekend. Notre Dame and Vanderbilt are two others to recently express interest.

Hammond School 2020 QB Jackson Muschamp was offered by Wofford.

Basketball

USC target 6-6 Gerald Drumgoole will take an official visit to Pitt at some point he tells Pittsburgh Sports Now. He has visited USC and Minnesota.

USC offered 2023 6-4 TJ Cochran Jr. of Columbus, GA according to his AAU organization.

We're improving out commenting experience.

We’ve temporarily removed comments from articles while we work on a new and better commenting experience. In the meantime, subscribers are encouraged to join the conversation at our Post and Courier Subscribers group on Facebook.