Donovan Westmoreland had a change of heart. South Carolina's football coaches are glad he did.
Westmoreland, a 6-2, 195-pound linebacker from Griffin, Georgia, had committed to Georgia in January. But on May 3, Griffin withdrew his commitment to Georgia and committed to the Gamecocks.
Westmoreland had committed to the Bulldogs on January 22nd, part of what has become the #1 recruiting class nationally. But USC defensive ends coach Mike Peterson, who had offered Westmoreland last September while Will Muschamp was head coach, stayed locked in and was able to turn him.
“Georgia wasn’t keeping in touch with me that much. We were just separating,” Westmoreland said. “South Carolina, the head coach (Shane Beamer), coach (Mike) Peterson, coach (Jimmy) Lindsey, all of those were keeping in touch with me every day, having conversations and checking on me."
Westmoreland made a personal visit to USC for the spring game in late April. After experiencing that, he started to have a strong feeling Columbia was where he wanted to be.
“Fanbase is crazy. It just felt right,” Westmoreland said. “It started getting to me like this is probably where I need to be. This is where I need to be.”
Westmoreland also has offers from Georgia Tech, Illinois, Louisville, Akron, Syracuse, Troy, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Maryland, North Carolina and Central Florida. He’s rated a three-star in the 247Sports Composite and ranked the No. 30 outside linebacker prospect nationally.
Last season he had 84 tackles with 24 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. He’s been invited to the 2022 Florida-Georgia All-Star Game.
USC may have found its quarterback for the future and a defensive back who can help the Gamecocks right away.
Braden Davis, a 6-5, 184-pound quarterback from Middletown, Delaware, committed to USC on April 30. Davis is rated a four-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite and is ranked the No. 5 dual-threat quarterback nationally in the class. He chose USC from a final group that also included Stanford, West Virginia, N.C. State, Duke, Georgia Tech and Cincinnati.
Davis is friends with two other Delaware natives on the Gamecocks' roster, running back Marshawn Lloyd and defensive end Deebo Williams. Their presence on the team was part of the reason he chose USC.
“It’s really a lot of things just lining up,” Davis said. “Having people on the team helped, Marshawn and Deebo. Marshawn is actually a civil engineer (student), so Marshawn is actually proof of being able to get an engineering degree in college and playing at a high level.
"And coach Beamer, his number one goal is going to be a national championship. I believe he’s getting the program in the right direction. Getting the right type players to make things happen and the national championship is definitely the goal and an undefeated regular season.”
Along with the two other Delaware products already in the program, Davis’ teammate, defensive end Tomiwa Durojaiye, visited USC for the spring game and also has an offer from the Gamecocks. His father is Antone Davis, former All-America offensive lineman at Tennessee and the No. 8 pick in the 1991 NFL Draft.
Also last week, USC got a commitment from safety Tyrese Ross, who is transferring from Washington State.
Ross (6-2, 181) chose the Gamecocks over North Carolina and Central Florida. He is regarded as a hard-hitting safety who can play right away for the Gamecocks. He only played in one game in 2020, starting and recording two tackles against Oregon. In 2019, he played in all 13 games and had 33 tackles and one forced fumble.
The Gamecocks have immediate needs in the secondary in both depth and talent. Ross knows there are opportunities for him there, but he doesn’t want anything handed to him.
“I’m a type of guy who wants to earn your trust and your loyalty. I’m not looking for anybody to butter me up,” Ross said. “I just want to be a part of the family. However, I can do that at any position, that’s what I’m willing to do.”
Ross is a native of Jacksonville. He started his high school career there and finished at Westlake High in Atlanta. He will have three years of eligibility with the Gamecocks.
Defensive end Quency Wiggins (6-7, 265) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, says USC is in his top five. The 2022 target said he has seven or eight schools that have earned his attention, including the Gamecocks.
He has kept in touch with USC defensive line coach Jimmy Lindsey since the Gamecocks offered in January.
“We talk about everything, we talk football and life in general,” Wiggins said. “He’s a smart man, he knows what he’s doing as far as coaching. He’s an honest dude and that’s what I really like.”
Wiggins has conducted two virtual visits with USC and plans to take an official visit to Columbia at some point during the football season. He has set official visits with Southern Cal and Auburn.
Wiggins totaled 45 tackles with 11 sacks last season. He is rated a four-star and is ranked the No. 15 strongside defensive end nationally in the 247Sports Composite.
Tight end Oscar Delp (6-5, 220) of Cumming, Georgia, is one of the most sought after players in the country. His status was elevated more in April after his performance at several camps. Both Clemson and USC are recruiting him.
Delp has scheduled official visits in June to Georgia, Florida and USC. He plans to use his final two official visits during his season with Michigan looking good for one of those. He might use the other for Clemson, Oklahoma or Alabama. He is scheduled for an unofficial visit to Clemson in June.
Delp is rated a four-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite and is ranked the No. 2 tight end nationally in the 2022 class. Last season he had 43 catches for 730 yards and nine touchdowns.
In recent years, Clemson football has placed its fair share of defensive linemen into the NFL. Defensive end D.J. Wesolak (6-6, 235) of Boonville, Missouri, has definitely noticed the quality of player the Tigers have produced at his position. That’s one reason he has the Tigers in his top 15 and plans to visit in June.
“The success they’ve had the past couple of years has been phenomenal,” Wesolak said. “You know, one of the best teams to rise right now with coach Dabo (Swinney). They’ve got that great culture there. It’s a small, home feeling, everybody loves each other."
Wesolak narrowed his list to 15 earlier this month. Making the cut were Clemson, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, LSU, Arizona State, Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon, Notre Dame, Southern Cal, Miami, Alabama, Auburn and Texas A&M. He plans to attend Clemson’s “Elite Retreat” on June 11 but is holding off on an official visit with the Tigers for now.
Safety Randy "Deuce" Caldwell of Mauldin has scheduled an unofficial visit with Clemson for June 1, the first day 2022 prospects can get out and visit schools again. Caldwell does not yet have a Clemson offer, but he’s been talking with defensive coordinator Brent Venables and safeties coach Mickey Conn a good bit and feels good about where he stands with them.
“I feel like an offer is coming,” said Caldwell, who has offers from Minnesota, Baylor, North Carolina, West Virginia, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, UCF, East Carolina, Ole Miss, USF, Coastal Carolina and others.
USC is in the top eight with safety Emory Floyd of Powder Springs, Georgia. The others are Notre Dame, Florida State, Georgia, Auburn, Maryland, Florida and North Carolina. He has an official visit set with Auburn for June 4.
Defensive tackle Nick James of IMG Academy named a top six of USC, LSU, Florida, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Oregon. He has an official with the Gamecocks set for June 25.
Carlous Williams (6-5) committed to USC and Frank Martin in August and said he would wait to sign until April 26 as a way to honor his grandfather on his birthday. But Williams didn’t sign last week, though he remains committed to the Gamecocks.
“Everything is still good with them,” Williams said. “This is about me and eligibility, me qualifying. I should be able to get it done, but if I don’t, I’ll probably end up going to a prep school and then go to South Carolina."
Williams is rated a three-star in the 247Sports Composite and is ranked the No. 53 power forward nationally, and the No. 2 prospect in Mississippi.