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Gamecocks offer Spring Valley star as defensive back, but he wants to be quarterback

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File/Travis Bell/Sideline Carolina

Spring Valley High School football standout DeQuandre Smith plays quarterback and safety for the Vikings, and  could play either position in college.

The 247Sports Composite rates him as a three-star dual-threat quarterback and ranks him 24th nationally at that position. South Carolina has offered Smith, but as a safety, not a quarterback. That could be an issue for the Gamecocks moving forward because Smith prefers to play quarterback.

“Yes sir, it kind of does matter to me,” Smith said. "Quarterback. I work really hard at it, so that’s what I want to be.”

Smith said he has discussed his desire to be a quarterback with Gamecock head coach Shane Beamer and secondary coach Torrian Gray.

“They said they were going to talk it out more and probably give me some packages for quarterback as well,” Smith said.

Would that satisfy him? “Not all the way. I wouldn’t say it was a (deal) killer, but it’s definitely a lower chance (for USC).”

The Gamecocks, however, continue to work Smith knowing, perhaps, they can show him Dakereon Joyner as an example of a high school quarterback who has moved to another position (wide receiver), and has the chance to be a star there.

Smith has done several Zoom visits with the Gamecocks, and he did a virtual visit a couple of months ago. He also attended the spring game.

“It was amazing, a great atmosphere,” Smith said. “It’s definitely somewhere I could call home. It was a great atmosphere and I liked it.”

Michigan also offered Smith early but he said he’s not hearing much from the Wolverines at this point. Georgia Southern, FAU and Charlotte also have offered and want him strictly as a quarterback. Of those, Smith said he’s talking the most with Georgia Southern, and really, his decision right now is USC as a safety or Georgia Southern as a quarterback.

Smith said he doesn’t have a decision timeline because he wants to see what other offers come in. Last season Smith passed for 1,258 yards and rushed for 478 yards while accounting for 18 touchdowns.

Emory Floyd of Powder Springs, Ga., plays safety for Hillgrove High but is being recruited as a cornerback. He’s an elite-level sprinter and one of the fastest players in Georgia.

USC secondary coach Torrian Gray, who was pretty fast back in his day, has quickly moved into a position of recruiting prominence with Floyd.

“I just love Torrian Gray,” Floyd said. “He’s got that Florida lingo. He came from Florida and moved to South Carolina, and all my family is from Florida. Me and him, our bond is great. He likes how I bring speed to the table. I’m a real quick guy in the secondary. He said he’s never seen quick speed like mine.”

Floyd has never visited USC in person. He has, however, been on a virtual visit and zoom visits. Those have given him some great insight into the program and the people. “I actually loved the virtual visit,” Floyd said. “It was one of my favorite visits. All the coaches were real good. I loved the speaker, Derrick Moore, he’s really great. The weight training coach seemed surreal. I just loved everything about South Carolina."

Floyd has official visits set with Auburn on June 4 and Maryland on June 11. He’s also thinking about North Carolina and LSU for official visits. Georgia, Alabama and LSU are three others he mentioned as being on his mind. Other offers include Florida State, Minnesota, Tennessee, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Pitt, Indiana, Mississippi State, Florida, UCF, Notre Dame and Virginia.

Strongside defensive end Eli Hall (6-4, 259) of Crest High School in Shelby, N.C., is coming off his team’s spring campaign, and he’s is not close to tipping his hand in recruiting.

“I was going to do a top 10 (of schools), but I’m not," Hall said. “My family was like, just keep it in the family with us. When I commit, you’ll see my top. I’ll probably have three or four.”

USC defensive line coach Jimmy Lindsey is his primary recruiter for the Gamecocks, and Hall notes that Lindsey’s coaching style has caught his eye.

“Me and coach Lindsey talk back-and-forth almost every day,” Hall said. “He is telling me that its the SEC and you’ve got to come play. He’s very hard as a coach. I realized that watching some of the videos they put out, and he was mic’d up. I like him, he’s pretty cool.”

Hall is a four-star recruit, according to the 247 Sports Composite. He plans on committing in October.

Clemson continues to stay strong with five-star prospect Keon Sabb, a 6-3, 195-pound free safety from Williamstown, N.J., and IMG Academy. 

“They (Clemson) are a top school for me,” Sabb said. “I love the school. I feel like it’s a great fit. Just waiting until June to get a chance to visit and figure everything out.”

Sabb said he won’t make his decision until after his season, largely because Clemson won’t allow his official visit until the season. He is on target to graduate early and plans to sign in December.

USC has a commitment from prize quarterback Braden Davis of Middletown, Delaware. He plans to join fellow Delaware natives Marshawn Lloyd and Deebo Williams with the Gamecocks in 2022. The Gamecocks also have offered Davis’ teammate, defensive end Tomiwa Durojaiye (6-5 255). He was in for the spring game and has taken a virtual visit that included practically every member of the staff. Now, the Gamecocks have an additional recruiter on their side in Davis. 

Durojaiye has set official visits to Georgia Tech and Arkansas in June. He plans to return to USC in June but isn’t sure when, and isn’t sure what type of visit it will be. Some of his other offers are Iowa, Maryland, West Virginia, Michigan, Northwestern, Duke and Western Kentucky.

Safety Peyton Williams of Rockwell, Texas, said he’s still in the information gathering phase of his recruitment, but an offer last month from USC has him considering Columbia. Williams is rated as a three-star by 247Sports and is ranked the No. 63 safety nationally in the class.

“My coach knows someone at South Carolina, so he contacted them, and they really liked my film,” Williams said when asked about his connection to Gamecocks. “Everyone on the coaching staff liked my film.”

Offers from Akron, Maryland, Florida State and Colorado came shortly after the one from the Gamecocks in April. 

“I have a couple of options, but right now I haven’t made any decisions,” Williams said. “I still have to do all the research for most of the schools to see my major and what I fit into. I haven’t looked into all that.”

Defensive tackle Curtis Neal (6-1, 290) of Cornelius, N.C., ended his junior season in the North Carolina playoffs in late April. Now he’ll have some time to let the bumps and bruises of the spring season heal before his senior season commences in August. He also can focus some on his football recruiting.

Neal has his eyes on about five schools and has set official visits with three, including USC. Neal said he talked with  Beamer over the weekend and has scheduled an official visit for the season opening game at Williams-Brice Stadium on Sept. 4.

“He’s (Beamer) telling me they are pursuing me hard and want to get me up there before the official visit,” Neal said. “Maybe I can visit in June. It was a good conversation, and he said I could be a good asset for their team.”

Neal also has set official visits with Wisconsin and Ohio State in June. He said Mississippi State and Oregon are two others showing a lot of interest.

Cornerback Jayden Bellamy of Oradell, N.J., named a top six of Clemson, Notre Dame, Penn State, Rutgers, Oklahoma and Ohio State.

Cornerback Daylen Everette of IMG Academy named a top five of Clemson, Georgia, Oregon, North Carolina and Florida State.

Defensive end Enai White of Philadelphia named a final eight of Clemson, Alabama, Florida, Texas A&M, Ohio State, Georgia, Oregon and Miami.


Maya Nnaji (6-4) of Hopkins, Minn., plans to announce her college commitment this week, and USC is among the 13 schools she’s been considering. Her sister plays for Arizona. The others on her list are Stanford, Florida, UCLA, Georgia, Illinois, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan, Oregon and Virginia. She’s a five-star prospect and ranked No. 7 nationally by ESPN. She averaged 20 points per game this past season.

Coastal Carolina signed 6-3 Ruedale Williams, a native of Canada who played at Kansas State last season. Last season he played in 27 games, making four starts, and averaging 18 minutes per game. He averaged almost five points per game, along with 2.7 rebounds, and was fourth on the team with 37 assists.

The Chants also signed 6-6 Vince Cole, a Charleston native who is transferring from St. John’s. Last season Cole started 22 of 27 games and was one of only three players on the roster to play in all 27 games. He averaged 8.7 points per game to go along with 2.6 rebounds per contest.

Furman added graduate transfer 6-1 Conley Garrison to its roster. Garrison was a three-time All-Great Lakes Valley Conference selection and two-time NABC All-Midwest First Team choice at guard during his four seasons at NCAA Division II Drury University. He averaged 17.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game this past season for the Panthers, while leading the GLVC in assist-to-turnover ratio.


Michael Esposito, a left-handed pitcher from Chipola (Fla.) Junior College, committed to USC for the 2021 class. In nine appearances, he’s 1-0 with 2 saves and a 1.26 ERA. He has 30 strikeouts in 14.1 innings. He’s a native of Long Island.