Gamecocks battling Michigan State, Florida for defensive lineman Jones

Three schools and their fan bases will have to wait an extra three days to find out the decision from defensive line Naquan Jones of Evanston, IL. And even then, the recruiting of Jones won’t be over because he plans to take official visits in the fall.

Still, South Carolina, Michigan State and Florida would love to be the program working from the position of holding the commitment rather than trying to turn him. Jones had planned to announce on June 5 but he’s now looking at June 8 to make his decision known. Jones said at this point he can’t say that any of the three schools is out front. USC defensive line coach Deke Adams was at the school last week.

“With the new defensive they are pretty in, he’s saying their giving the defensive line for freedom basically to let them play and not just open up a slot for the linebackers,” Jones said of his conversations with Adams. “Let them play and do what they have to do to make plays. And he talked about how they are very interested in me.”

Michigan State also has visited Jones, and Florida recently offered but has yet to get in to see him.

Defensive lineman Nyles Pinckney of Whale Branch has some quality out of state offers like Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Miami, Duke, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Florida State.  He’s not shutting out any of those right now but as the recruiting calendar turns to summer, Pinckney’s primary focus is on Clemson and USC.

Both continue to work him hard and he’s in regular contact. Pinckney spoke with Clemson defensive line coach Dan Brooks last week. “We’ve just been talking and catching up and talking about my recruiting and how they need me and could use me on their defensive line,” Pinckney said.

USC’s Adams has also been in touch and continues to try and sell Pinckney on the virtues of joining that program. “He was telling how they’ve got a new playing style on defense that fits me and I can do whatever I want,” Pinckney said. “He talked about how their academics fit me because I want to major in business.  And he talked about how this past year was a rough year but they are looking upwards now.”

Pinckney visited Clemson twice last season for games but did not make it there this spring. He did get to USC for a junior day. And he will get back to both places this summer for visits but he doesn’t plan to participate in any camp workouts unless they want him to.  Pinckney also plans to see some out of state schools but it’s the battle within the border he’s dealing with right now.

“I’m leaning towards kind of in state because I feel like I’ll be close to my family,’ he said.  “I’m really not all the way there but I feel kind of closest to staying in state.”

Wide receiver Larry Collins Jr. of Lower Richland opened a lot of eyes in camps last summer and he’s looking to do the same this summer starting with USC’s Showcase Camp June 13.  The Gamecocks have kept up their recruiting interest in Collins and he’s done likewise with them.

“USC has been telling me a lot,” Collins said.  “They want me to come and look at the facilities.  They’ve been recruiting me pretty hard.”

Despite an early offer from Clemson, Collins said he’s not hearing much from the Tigers at this point. Of the schools that have offered him, he feels USC, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Louisville and Georgia Southern are showing the strongest interest. Some of his other offers are Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee, Virginia and East Carolina.

Offensive lineman John Simpson of Fort Dorchester is ready for the next phase of the recruiting process — summer camps. Simpson, who reported his weight as 296 pounds on his 6-4 frame, began the camps at Alabama on Sunday. He’ll be in Tuscaloosa through Wednesday. and will attend Clemson’s camp June 8-10.  Simpson said he’s also down for USC’s Showcase Camp June 13. Simpson said he also plans to camp at Florida, LSU, Tennessee and Georgia.

Linebacker Kenneth Ruff of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., plans to release his top 10 list this week and two teams that will make the list are USC and Clemson. North Carolina will be a third. Ruff has nearly 30 offers. Ruff has been favoring USC and that remains the case.

Gamecock recruiters Lorenzo Ward and Adams have been by his school this spring. Ruff plans to attend the Gamecocks’ camp on June 13.

Linebacker Kash Daniel of Paintsville, Ky., has cut his list down to a final four of USC, Kentucky, Louisville and Florida. Some of those offering schools not making the cut were Purdue, Charlotte, Marshall and Ohio. Daniel is looking at making a decision in June after visiting his four schools.

One of Georgia’s top 2016 prospects is looking strongly out of state at this point. Defensive back Marlon Character of Atlanta has a top three of USC, Ohio State and Virginia Tech. Character played in just four games last season due to a severe hip pointer. He still managed two interceptions and 20 tackles.

Defensive end Jordan Woods of Orlando doesn’t have favorites among teams at this point but he does have a favorite college head coach, and that news bodes favorably for USC.

“I just believe Steve Spurrier is the best college coach in football,” Woods said. “To me, he can take a mediocre team and make you sweat. He changed the whole program around, made them SEC contenders.  He’s a great coach and I really respect him.”

USC was one of the early offers for Woods and he said his relationship with the Gamecocks remains good. USC recruiter Steve Spurrier Jr. was down to check on Woods this spring as were recruiters from several other offering schools. His offer list also includes Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, South Florida, Central Florida, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, NC State, Duke and North Carolina.

Clemson linebacker target Tre Lamar of Roswell, Ga., and defensive lineman Antwuan Jackson of Ellenwood, Ga., who also has a USC offer, attended Auburn’s Big Cat Weekend. Lamar plans to visit Clemson again soon. He also will visit Alabama, Florida and Florida State. Jackson has visited Auburn 10 times and is close on making a decision. The Tigers and Gamecocks are not among his favorites.