Gamecocks, Hokies await decision from OL Leota

Offensive lineman Pete Leota of Asheville, North Carolina, was in Columbia this weekend to watch Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks play Kentucky. Leota said he is impressed with offensive line coach Shawn Elliott (standing behind Spurrier). AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton

Pete Leota, an offensive lineman from Asheville, North Carolina, made an unofficial visit to South Carolina on Saturday and said he will take the next few days to decide between the Gamecocks and Virginia Tech. He plans to announce his decision Thursday.

Leota also made an unofficial visit to Virginia Tech for the Hokies’ game against Ohio State two weeks ago. The purpose of the two visits was to give him one more meeting with the coaches and one more game-day experience at both locations.

“My visit went great. South Carolina fans are crazy,” said Leota, who attended the USC-Kentucky game. As for what stood out the most to him, Leota said, “Well, the coaches like Shawn Elliott.”

Leota had been favoring USC since attending the camp in late July and still felt that way after visiting Blacksburg, but he wants to go into this week with an open mind.

“Now I’m going to compare the two schools and make my decision Thursday,” he said. The key factors for him are “school, football, academics, coaches, players and playing style.”

Richland Northeast linebacker TJ Brunson planned to commit to USC in March, but the Gamecocks told him before they could accept a pledge they wanted to see him in action this season because he was coming off hip surgery. Apparently, the Gamecocks have seen enough to be convinced Brunson is fully healthy and worthy of an offer.

Brunson said he has been informed by Gamecocks linebackers coach Kirk Botkin that he is now a take.

“Coach Botkin says that he really wants to coach me and I would be outstanding in their scheme,” said Brunson. Asked if Botkin told him the Gamecocks are ready to accept a commitment from him, Brunson responded, “Yes sir.”

The problem for the Gamecocks is Brunson currently is committed to Louisville. Asked if he’s ready to flip to USC, Brunson said, “Not at all. I’m going to enjoy the process and take my unofficials and officials and see as many places as possible.”

Brunson said USC, Louisville and Georgia Southern are three places he wants to visit this fall. He’s looking at an official visit to Louisville in November. He made an unofficial visit to Notre Dame earlier this month.

In other recruiting news:

Fort Dorchester offensive lineman John Simpson was at USC’s game Saturday night, and the only other game-day visit he has in mind right now is when Notre Dame plays at Clemson. USC and Clemson are two of seven schools Simpson is still considering. The others are Tennessee, LSU, Georgia, Florida and Alabama, and he feels Tennessee has been recruiting him the hardest based on the number of conversations he’s had with the Vols.

Simpson said he plans to take all five official visits and will make a decision before he plays in the Army All-American Game. He’s undecided on the official visits but said the two he doesn’t visit officially will still be under consideration. Simpson said he doesn’t have a favorite at this point.

USC target WR Kelvin Harmon of Palmyra, New Jersey, made his official visit to N.C. State over the weekend. He is scheduled to visit USC on Sept. 26. He’s also considering Rutgers, North Carolina, West Virginia and Temple.

Running back Stephen Davis Jr. of Dutch Fork recently decommitted from Auburn and planned to be at USC on Saturday night. His father, the former Auburn and NFL star running back, said his son is down to USC, Clemson, Georgia, Florida and Auburn. He plans to take his five official visits before making a final decision.

Quarterback Jake Fromm of Warner Robins, Georgia, took in USC’s game Saturday night. He also visited USC in the spring. He’s also looking hard at Mississippi and Alabama.

Defensive back Tony Butler of Lakewood, Ohio, will take two official visits this month, then make his decision Oct. 5 at a ceremony at his school. Butler visited Rutgers over the weekend and will visit Arizona State on Sept. 26, and that will be it for official visits. He visited Clemson and West Virginia unofficially in July and doesn’t feel the need for official visits with them, though he’s giving them equal consideration.

“I feel very confident with how my visits went, so I don’t think I need to visit again,” Butler said. “Those two schools I’m really high on. I feel very good about all four schools, honestly, so it will be where I feel the most comfortable and where I see myself finishing my education off for four years.”

Defensive back Trayvon Mullen of Pompano Beach, Florida, will set one of his official visits to Clemson this fall. “They’re saying basically I’ve got a shot to come right in and play right away, be a stand up corner as long as I come in and do what I have to do as far as on and off the field, be a student to the game, I can just come in and play,” Mullen said.

He said other official visits he’s considering are Florida State and LSU. He’s not calling Clemson, LSU and Florida State his top three but said those are the ones he’s hearing from the most. Some other schools he’s still considering include Ohio State, Auburn, Florida and TCU. He plans to wait until National Signing Day in February before making a decision.

Clemson is among defensive lineman Shavar Manuel’s top five. Manuel, who plays for IMG Academy, also likes Florida, LSU, Florida State and Auburn, and there is no order.

Linebacker Vosean Joseph of Miami has had USC and Florida down for official visits this season. He now has decided on West Virginia, South Florida and Louisville for his other three visits. He is a Florida commitment.

USC target Jachai Polite of Daytona Beach picked up offers from Georgia Tech and Auburn.

DE Javon Kinlaw of Goose Creek picked up an offer from The Citadel.

DB KJ Chamberlain of Emerald plans to announce his college decision Thursday. He’s down to Coastal Carolina, Western Carolina, Colorado State, Appalachian State and Georgia State.

Former USC signee DE Devante Covington is now at Fayetteville State.

USC has its eyes on 6-10 Dewan Huell of Miami, and last week head coach Frank Martin and assistant Lamont Evans went to South Florida to visit him. Huell has his list down to the Gamecocks, Miami and Florida State. He has set official visits with each — Miami on Oct. 2, Florida State on Oct. 9 and USC on Oct. 16.

The Gamecocks are checking in on 6-10 Sedee Keita of Philadelphia. He once attended a school in Greenville but is now at Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut. Assistant coach Josh Scraba said the Gamecocks have been in touch about coming up to watch Keita work out. Providence, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Temple and Kansas State have visited him recently. He has taken unofficial visits to Providence and Temple and may take an official visits to Providence. Clemson has also been an offer for him but has not been in touch recently.

De’Riante Jenkins (6-6) of Hargrave Prep, Virginia, was visited last week by Clemson, LSU, Tennessee, VCU, Georgia Tech and Rutgers. He said USC had an in-home visit with his mother in Santee and is coming to see him this week. Jenkins has taken official visits to VCU and Tennessee.

Coaches from USC and UNC met with Hammond’s Seventh Woods on Wednesday, per his coach. He took his official visit to Georgetown over the weekend. He also has visits set with UNC and USC.

Clemson, Yale and Tennessee were in to see Spring Valley forward Jordan Bruner last week. Bruner made an official visit to Yale earlier this month and has official visits coming up with Clemson, Georgia and Tennessee.

The USC women are in the final four with 6-1 Jaelyn Brown of Murrieta, California. She’s also considering Cal, Louisville and UCLA.

The Citadel offered 2016 6-6 Ezekiel Balogun of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Devontae Shuler, the former Irmo standout now at Oak Hill Prep, Virginia, was offered by N.C. State.