South Carolina is waiting for defensive end Tyreek Johnson to make it official.
Johnson, a 6-4, 245-pound junior at Lakewood High School, has indicated he plans to commit to the Gamecocks and will visit USC on Saturday. Johnson was offered by phone a week ago by head coach Will Muschamp and as a lifelong Gamecocks fan, it was the offer he was waiting to get.
Johnson said he did not commit immediateley because his parents wanted to talk to the coaches, and because he preferred to commit in person.
“It was a pretty exciting moment for me to get an offer from a SEC school,” Johnson said. “I was very excited and it was a very important point in my life. He said I’ve got very good grades and on the field I’m physical and have good feet and am very good off the ball.”
Johnson also has offers from Clemson and Coastal Carolina. Alabama and Duke are also showing interest and want him to visit, but after the USC offer he’s not really seeing the need for that.
“My eyes are looking at South Carolina, that’s my favorite school,” he said.
Last season, Johnson totaled 89 tackles with 21 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. Lakewood coach Brian Jackson said Johnson’s quickness off the snap is impressive. “Probably one of the best first steps I’ve seen,” he said. “The way he separates from offensive linemen, his speed and his eye for the ball and pursuit. He’s a doer and not a talker.”
In other recruiting news:
Defensive end Josiah Coatney (6-5, 285) of Holmes (Miss.) Junior College was offered by USC last week and will take an official visit March 19. He’s also planning to visit Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. Coatney said he has a lot of family in the Columbia area and that’s one of the reasons he likes USC. He plans to announce a commitment April 26. Coatney is a native of Douglasville, Ga., and did not sign with a college out of high school.
Defensive end Mykelle McDaniel rescheduled his USC official visit for March 19, according to Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) High assistant coach Kenyatta Watson. McDaniel also plans to visit Alabama at some point. He has been to Mississippi State. McDaniel has been a big lean to USC.
Defensive back LeAnthony Williams Jr. of Roswell, Ga., last week announced a commitment to Clemson. He picked the Tigers over Georgia, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Florida and is the eighth commitment for Clemson’s 2017 class. Williams attended Clemson’s junior day in late January and from that point he felt like that was the right place for him.
“Clemson was the place I wanted to be,” he said. “It definitely felt like home. Coach Swinney is just always there, and they showed me a lot of attention.”
One of the top performers at the Rivals’ camp in Orlando on Saturday was wide receiver JJ Robinson of Lakeland, Fla. The highly acclaimed receiver has his decision down to Clemson, Oklahoma, Florida and Ohio State. Robinson has not declared a favorite. He said Florida has always been his dream school, but Ohio State has his dream coach in Urban Meyer.
Defensive end Tre Lawson of North Augusta was offered by Southern Cal last week, giving him offers from coast to coast. He also has offers from USC, Tennessee, UNLV, Florida State, Illinois, Misissippi and Kentucky. Lawson visited USC twice in February and was at Florida State over the weekend. He’s also been to Georgia and is going to Clemson this weekend.
“I really like them and they really like me,” Lawson said of the Gamecocks. “They seem like they want me and need me to be a part of their program. The whole staff, including Coach Muschamp, are very eager to talk to me and for me to go down there.”
Last season, Lawson totaled 76 tackles with 18 for loss and 12 sacks.
Defensive end Jordan Williams (6-5, 260) of Virginia Beach, Va., attended Clemson’s junior day in January, his first time on the Clemson campus, and he has the Tigers on his short list of schools. The others are Penn State, Georgia, Florida, Notre Dame, Southern Cal, Maryland and Tennessee from his total of 19 offers. Last season, Williams totaled 55 tackles with 11 sacks.
Northwestern defensive end Logan Rudolph last week added offers from Baylor, Illinois and Iowa State to a group that includes USC, Oklahoma State, North Carolina, Florida State, Tennessee, Penn State, Notre Dame, Michigan and Nebraska. Rudolph visited Florida and Florida State recently and is going to Tennessee this weekend.
One of USC’s new offers last week went to defensive back Naytron Culpepper of Miami. He also has offers from LSU, Kentucky, Illinois, N.C. State, Iowa State, Central Florida, Syracuse, Louisville, Ohio, Buffalo, Bowling Green and Cincinnati. Culpepper said USC is one of his top schools right now. Last season, he had over 20 tackles with three interceptions, four passes broken up and one forced fumble.
Muschamp last week passed out two more offers to quarterbacks on opposite ends of the country. One went to Kadarius Toney (6-0, 180) of Eight Mile, Ala., and the other to Braxton Burmeister (6-0, 211) of La Jolla, Calif. Both are considered dual-threat quarterbacks. Toney also has an offer from South Alabama and is drawing interest from Auburn.
Burmeister currently is committed to Arizona and he said that is still in place, but he has known Muschamp and USC assistants Kurt Roper and Coleman Hutzler since their Florida days, so he’s interested in learning more about their new situation.
USC recently offered defensive lineman Teair Tart-Spencer (6-4, 295), a native of Philadelphia who will be a sophomore at ASA College in Brooklyn this season. Primarily a basketball player for most of his youth, Tart-Spencer has played just three seasons of football, including just six games last season, but his film showed USC defensive line coach Lance Thompson and Muschamp enough to lead to an offer.
“They like my explosiveness off the ball and my size,” Tart-Spencer said. “I’m more of a pass rusher. It (USC) is a good school and I’ve just got to get down there and check it out.”
Tart-Spencer said he had no offers out of high school and now he has offers from USC, Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Temple.
Offensive lineman Eric Douglas of Charlotte had planned to wait until his team of choice played its spring game to make a commitment but the decision will come sooner than that.
“I’m starting to get the feeling about where I want to, the place that I actually love,” Douglas said. “I don’t know yet but I have a feel for where I want to go.” He was at N.C. State Saturday and visited North Carolina and Florida recently. He’s going to Duke in March. He also has USC, Clemson and Cal on his short list.
Defensive end Neil Farrell (6-4, 290) of Mobile, Ala., attended Clemson’s junior day in January and right now considers the Tigers to be one of his favorites.
“The atmosphere was great,” Farrell said. “They want me to come back for spring practices and watch their spring game and see the feeling. The school was great. I actually feel good about them.”
Farrell said he will return to Clemson this spring. He also has offers from USC, Kentucky, Southern Miss, Troy, Middle Tennessee State and Samford. He’s also drawing interest from Alabama and Auburn. Last season Farrell had 87 tackles and 8 sacks.
Running back Adarius Lemons of Clearwater, Fla., has USC in his current top four along with North Carolina, Ohio State and Auburn.
Clemson target wide receiver Tee Higgins of Oak Ridge, Tenn., was offered by Auburn and Oregon last week.