South Carolina has jumped back into the recruiting ring for Denzel Johnson, the star wide receiver/defensive back at A.C. Flora High School.
Johnson remains uncommitted and unsigned while awaiting the result of his last ACT test. He’s expecting the score to be reported in about a week and a half. Prior to National Signing Day, Johnson dropped USC because the Gamecocks told him to go to junior college first. But Johnson said USC recruiter and receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. recently contacted him and said the Gamecocks want him if he gets the grades and the score.
“They are in it because I like South Carolina,” Johnson said. “He (Spurrier Jr.) was like once I get my grades right I can come on a visit and see how I like it and then go from there.”
Johnson said if he becomes qualified he would take his official visit to USC before making a final decision. Johnson nearly committed to Clemson in January after his official visit there but the grades issue put that on hold. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has kept in regular contact and has made it clear to Johnson he’s a take for the Tigers if he qualifies. Johnson also took official visits to Towson, Massachusetts and S.C. State and is still considering those three.
The original plan for Dutch Fork running back Matt Colburn was to play in the ACC for the Louisville Cardinals. Instead, Colburn will play in the ACC, but against the Cardinals. Last week he signed with Wake Forest, which plays Louisville on Oct. 30.
Colburn committed to Louisville last June, but two days before National Signing Day he was told by Louisville coaches that there was no room for him in the 2015 class and they asked him to grayshirt, or wait until January to enroll. Colburn immediately cut ties with Louisville.
Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts has said Louisville coaches no longer will be welcomed at his school. River Bluff coach David Bennett said last week he, too, is imposing a ban on Louisville recruiters at his school in the wake of the Colburn situation.
USC signee defensive end Shamiek Blackshear of Bluffton faces a March 3 court date after his arrest at school Friday on a charge of petit larceny. Blackshear missed most of the last two seasons with injuries including a torn ACL in week two of his senior season.
Defensive lineman Naquan Jones of Evanston, Ill., made an unofficial visit to USC Friday and picked up an offer from Gamecock defensive line coach Deke Adams. Jones said he spent most of his time with Adams and Everette Sands. He did not get a chance to meet new co-defensive coordinators Jon Hoke and Lorenzo Ward because they were tied up in meetings. But he did talk with Steve Spurrier.
“He was really excited about me,” Jones said. “I loved his personality. He seems like a real generous coach.”
Jones also has offers from Pittsburgh, Penn State, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan State, Kentucky, Purdue and Eastern Michigan.
Dillon quarterback Avery McCall (6-2, 203) is regarded as the state’s top quarterback prospect for 2016. He will go into his senior season with a chance to become the first four-time state champion quarterback. Last season he passed for nearly 3,000 yards with 36 touchdowns and two interceptions. Yet, McCall has been passed over by USC and Clemson.
McCall also has offers from East Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, LSU, Ohio State, Duke and Old Dominion. He is planning to attend future junior days at East Carolina and North Carolina. McCall said he doesn’t have a timetable on a decision. He currently is playing basketball for the Wildcats. A former baseball player as a shortstop and pitcher, McCall said he’s also considering returning to that sport this spring.
One of the state’s most versatile prospects in the 2016 class is Brandon Tillmon (6-1, 205) of River Bluff. Last season Tillmon was used at quarterback, running back, defensive end, outside and inside linebacker, cornerback and free safety.
Tillmon attended USC’s junior day in January but Bennett said Clemson is the one showing the strongest interest right now of the two major in-state programs. Last season Tillmon rushed for 1,269 yards and 16 touchdowns and threw for 1,478 yards and eight touchdowns. He would like to play football and baseball in college.
Newberry High quarterback Yafari Werts (6-0, 184) has not landed any major offers to date but he is on the boards of some big programs like Clemson and Georgia Tech. He attended Clemson’s junior day last month and will visit Georgia Tech later this month. He does have an offer from Newberry College plus he’s getting interest from Appalachian State and Charlotte. Clemson likes Werts as an athlete and after visiting for junior day he feels like the Tigers see him more as a defensive player.
Defensive back Nigel Warrior (6-2, 188) of Atlanta will be heavily recruited in the 2016 campaign. He has 24 offers right now that include USC, Clemson, Georgia, Louisville, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Alabama, Ohio State, Nebraska, Minnesota, Penn State and Michigan State. He doesn’t have any favorites early in the process.
Warrior has not been to any junior days yet and hasn’t scheduled any. His only game day trip last season was to Tennessee. And right now he doesn’t have any visits planned for the spring. Warrior can play safety and corner. Last season he had 76 tackles and 5 interceptions returning one for a touchdown.
Linebacker Tre Lamar (6-4, 240) of Roswell, Ga., is now up to 24 offers but his top five schools remain the same — Clemson, USC, Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi State in no order. Lamar was one of the top juniors to attend Clemson’s junior day late last month. Lamar had 127 tackles and four sacks last season.
Defensive back Nick McCloud of South Pointe made an unofficial visit to USC Friday. He has not yet been offered by the Gamecocks but is drawing interest from there. He has an offer from Appalachian State. Wide receiver Bryan Edwards of Conway was offered last week by California. Clemson target OL Jack DeFoor of Calhoun, Ga., picked up an offer from Louisville. Clemson last week offered DE Prince Sammons of Cincinnati.