Dabo Swinney, Will Muschamp

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp and their staffs hope to close fast on the Dec. 19 early signing day. Gwinn Davis/Special to The Post and Courier

Signing week got off on the right foot for Will Muschamp and South Carolina on Monday with offensive lineman Jakia Moore of Nokesville, Va., announcing he will sign Wednesday with the Gamecocks. He chose USC over Penn State. Some of his other offers were Clemson, Maryland, Louisville, Rutgers, Florida, Ohio State, Southern Cal and Pitt.

“We don’t want you, we need you and I can come in and start early,” Moore said was the message he got from Muschamp and offensive line coach Eric Wolford during the recruiting process. “When I talked to them, the first thing they told me is they are going to take care of me and my mom. They didn’t leave my mom out of anything. My mom is coming down there with me.”

Moore is a talented offensive lineman and overall athlete who is also a standout on the Patriot High School basketball team.

“I think he’s going to be a left tackle,” said Moore’s coach Brud Bicknell. “He’s very long and a natural left-hander. He’s kind of a freak athlete for somebody 300 pounds. He has the ability to finish and fight that not all big guys have. He’s very raw at this point. He does understand driving his feet after contact and he loves to pancake people. And he has a great extension and jab on pass protection. He hits a guy and they buckle to their knees.”

Moore gives the Gamecocks four offensive linemen in the 2019 class, which now numbers 20, including three previous signees who will count in the class.

In other recruiting news:

Clemson is waiting on OL Will Putnam of Tampa, Fla. He put off announcing on Friday to take the weekend to further ponder his decision between the Tigers, Florida State and Auburn. All three schools had coaches in to see him last week.

The Gamecocks are also going to the wire with prospects who have remained committed to other schools but have been willing to meet with their coaches and keep the door open. Those include Florida commitment LB Tyron Hopper of Roswell, Ga., Auburn commitment WR Jashawn Sheffield of St. Simon’s Island, Ga., Indiana commitment OL Matthew Bedford of Memphis and Mississippi State commitment OL Dariuis Washington of Pensacola.

Clemson, which missed last week on OL target Clay Webb when he committed to Georgia, has been showing interest in Washington, according to his coach. Rhett Summerford said Washington will not sign early and he does have interest in other schools including Clemson and USC. Florida State also has talked to him. Mississippi State and Miami have been in to see him. Summerford said he has been contacted by Clemson OL coach Robbie Caldwell, who has been in to see Washington and has followed up with calls. Washington has taken official visits to USC, Mississippi State and Miami and was to take an unofficial visit to Florida State this weekend.

The Gamecocks apparently were not able to turn CB Jaydon Hill of Madison, Ala., from his commitment to Florida despite strong effort to do so. He remains publicly committed to the Gators.

USC and Clemson each will have to wait on a major target who will sign this week but not announce until the Army All-American Game on Jan. 5. For the Gamecocks, that’s CB Chris Steele of Bellflower, Calif., and for the Tigers that’s LB Quavaris Crouch. Steele has USC, Florida, Oregon, Oklahoma and Southern Cal as his final five. Crouch is down to Clemson, Michigan and Tennessee. He apparently visited Tennessee over the weekend, according to a video he posted on his Instagram account.

Clemson last week made an 11th hour offer to OL Jimmy Fritzsche (6-7, 245) of Greenville. Fritzsche had been focused on Syracuse, Connecticut and Nebraska, but now the Tigers have given him more to think about.

“It means a lot growing up around the Clemson area and knowing the ins and outs of Clemson and the tradition they share for their football program,” Fritzsche said. “It’s truly amazing.”

Fritzsche took an official visit to Nebraska over the weekend.

The Tigers last week also removed the grayshirt label from their offer to Hanahan OL Cooper Dawson, so they are ready to take him now if he wants to go there.

“This makes it more difficult,” Dawson said. “It’s always been the school of my dreams.”

Dawson also was offered last week by Virginia. He did not take a visit this past weekend, and he plans to announce at his school Wednesday morning. He’s down to Clemson, Syracuse, UCF, UCLA and Virginia.

On the defensive line, Clemson is hoping for good news Wednesday from Tyler Davis of Apopka, Fla. He will sign either with the Tigers or Florida State.

Clemson offered RB DJ Williams of Sebring, Fla., last week while running backs coach Tony Elliott was in for a visit according to his coach Lamar Scott. Williams has been committed to Appalachian State, but he won't be going there. His list has expanded to include Auburn, Miami, Alabama, Georgia, USC and Michigan. He took an official visit to Georgia over the weekend and also took officials to Appalachian State, Auburn, Miami and Alabama.

Another Clemson RB target, Jerrion Ealy of Jackson, Miss., and a Mississippi commitment, took an official visit to Mississippi State two weekends back. Clemson had been trying to get him in for a visit.

USC RB target Eric Gray of Memphis took an official visit to Tennessee over the weekend. He took an official visit with the Gamecocks earlier this month, and Muschamp was in for a follow-up visit last week. Those were his only two official visits since he just recently decommitted from Michigan. He plans to sign Thursday.

USC should be in good shape this week with CB Johnny Dixon of Tampa. He has been strongly favoring the Gamecocks, though he took a recent official visit to Miami. He plans to sign Wednesday.

Gamecocks CB target

USC defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson was in this month to see CB Jammie Robinson of Leesburg, Ga. Robinson's team won a state championship Tuesday, and according to his coach Dean Fabrizio, he will not sign until February. Robinson has taken his official visit to USC and visited Kentucky over the weekend. Tennessee also is recruiting him hard and those three SEC schools stand out with him right now, according to his coach.

USC defensive tackles coach Lance Thompson visited DL Jaquaze Sorrells of Winter Park, Fla., recently. Sorrells is not signing until February. He has visited USC unofficially and he plans to officially visit USC, Penn State and Alabama in January. The USC visit probably will be Jan. 18.

USC target CB Shilo Sanders of Cedar Hill, Texas, did take his official visit to Colorado State over the weekend. He also taken an official visit to USC and plans to see Tennessee in January. He is former NFL star Deion Sanders’ son and is not signing this week.

CB Dequanteous Watts of Atlanta said he hears from USC’s Muschamp and Travaris Robinson every day.

“I feel good about them, they are one of my top schools right now with Ole Miss and UCF,” Watts said.

Clemson visits Uiagalelei 

Watts took an unofficial visit to USC for the UTC game and plans to visit USC in January. He’s also set Jan. 7 for his announcement date, but he said he’ll take visits after that.

USC commitment DL Jahkeem Green (6-4, 305) of Sumter and Highland JC, Kan., does not graduate until May at the earliest and is not sure if he’ll sign this month. He said he still has some classes to complete, but he’s confident he’ll meet the academic requirements to be able to transfer. He said he’s in touch with USC defensive tackles coach Lance Thompson, and they spoke last week. He’s also talked with Muschamp. He said the Gamecocks are sticking with him at this point. Green said Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi State also have offered, but he remains committed to the Gamecocks. He visited unofficially for the UTC game. This season Green had 67 tackles with 7 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. He has three years to play two.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and some assistants last week checked in on 2020 QB DJ Uiagalelei of Bellflower, Calif., while they were out to see their committed WR Joe Ngata of Folsom. Uiagalelei, the top-ranked player in his class by some analysts, has made two visits to Clemson and is expected back next spring before he makes his decision.

Gene Sapakoff is a columnist and College Sports Editor at The Post and Courier.

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