Quarterback Raheim Jeter has yet to play his first varsity game, yet major colleges already have taken notice of his potential and several have made scholarship offers.
Count South Carolina among them.
Jeter, a 6-2, 200-pound rising freshman at Greer High School, recently attended football camp at USC and received an offer from Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp and quarterbacks coach Dan Werner.
“The offer means a lot to me,” Jeter said. “I grew up a Gamecock fan so to receive an offer from them is overwhelming but also humbling and motivational.”
Jeter also holds offers from Georgia, Auburn, Missouri and Memphis. He’s also taken visits to Georgia, Memphis, Florida and Missouri.
“Camp was great,” Jeter said of his USC visit. “It was a pleasure to be able to work with Coach Werner with just me and one other quarterback. I learned a lot of valuable information from him that could take my game to the next level. Before camp Coach (Bobby) Bentley and Coach (Marcus) Lattimore gave me a tour of the new facility and it was beautiful.”
Clemson on Monday received a commitment from tight end Sage Ennis (6-4, 225) of Tallahassee, Fla. He is the Tigers' first tight end for the 2020 class and the 18th commitment overall. He announced his decision after completing a week-long trip to schools with some of his teammates.
“I’ve known for a while where I wanted to go,” Ennis said. “I really wanted to get this trip out of the way and right after the trip go ahead and get it done so everybody can know. I knew before we went on the trip that it’s where I really wanted to go. I talked with Coach (Dabo) Swinney about it and we both agreed to wait and do it after the trip.”
The trip gave Ennis more time to think about his decision, and more examples of major programs to compare against Clemson. He picked up an offer from Penn State on the trip.
“I thought about Clemson the whole time. It felt like home,” Ennis said. “I knew going on this trip I would really be able to open up my eyes because I would be able to see a whole bunch of different schools and it would really solidify whether Clemson was the place or not and it did. Clemson just feels like home and no other school has really made me feel like that.”
Ennis also had offers from Florida State, USC, Maryland, West Virginia, Miami, N.C. State, Louisville, Cincinnati, UCF, Rutgers and others.
“It’s nothing personal against Florida State or the coaches,” Ennis said. “I know I will catch a lot of stuff about why I didn’t go here in my own backyard, but at the end of the day I have to do what’s best for me and what’s best for my future and that’s where I feel like Clemson helps me more.”
South Carolina had another busy recruiting weekend with multiple football prospects making official visits, but there were no immediate commitments. However, USC appeared to strengthen its standing with four uncommitted prospects on campus. And in the case of safety Janari Dean of Batesville, Miss., the Gamecocks are now one of his two finalists, the other being Mississippi State. Dean said a decision is coming next month.
Dean, who said his visit to USC went very well, talked about playing safety and running back for the Gamecocks.
“I like the coaching staff, they are good people,” Dean said. “They told me I’d be a versatile player on defense. They like my film, obviously. Coach Muschamp told me it would be a great fit here for me.”
Dean said he probably won’t take an official visit to Mississippi State since he’s been there often and knows enough about the Bulldogs. In fact, he knows enough about both schools so that he can start to work on his decision.
“I’m going to sit down now that I have time and start to think about stuff and enjoy life,” Dean said. “I’ve been gone a lot and haven’t been able to be a kid. I want to enjoy myself.”
Tight end Eric Shaw of Notasulga, Ala., was back at USC over the weekend with his family for his official visit. He also visited for the spring game.
Shaw has the Gamecocks in his top seven, and he said this visit certainly solidified their place among his favorites.
“Everything was great, I can’t lie,” Shaw said. “The facilities, the coaches, the players. I loved everything about hit.”
Running back Kevin Harris served as his player-host. Shaw also is a prospect as a linebacker but the Gamecocks are focused on him as a tight end, and his discussions with Muschamp focused on him helping the Gamecocks in that role.
“We talked a lot and he said I’m a great fit for what they run,” Shaw said. “I love it. They use their tight end like another wide receiver. They put him in a lot of different spots.”
Shaw said he might be back next weekend for a camp workout so he can catch passes from committed quarterback Luke Doty.
“They were already pretty high, but the way they use their tight ends, it’s perfect,” he said. He also has Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, LSU, Tennessee and Texas A&M on his short list.
Defensive end Tonka Hemingway of Conway grew up 15 miles from the beach and in a city that sits on the Waccamaw River. Yet, until Saturday he had never been on a boat. With Muschamp as his pilot, Hemingway got his first boat ride when he and the other recruits in for the weekend visited Muschamp’s Lake Murray house. It was part of a weekend full of highlights for Hemingway.
“It went good. I really enjoyed Coach Muschamp and the crew,” Hemingway said. “Just the atmosphere and how the coaches are without being on the field. They are the same in private as they are on the field. I like how they talk to the players (on the field) and explain everything in detail.”
Hemingway said the thought of committing has not yet crossed his mind, but he said the Gamecocks “are in a good place” with him. “I know how they feel about me.” Freshman defensive end Zacch Pickens was his player host. Hemingway said he will be taking other visits with Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest the likely stops. He wants to make his commitment announcement the week of his high school team’s first game, Aug. 23 at North Myrtle Beach.
Former Miami commitment defensive end Elijah Roberts also made his first official visit to USC. Roberts is one of the top prospects coming out of South Florida for the 2020 class. He recently decommitted from Miami though attended a camp there the weekend before visiting Columbia.
“The facilities and the coaches showing love” are what stood out to Roberts during his visit to Columbia. “They sit well with me.”
The weekend was filled with football, academics and relaxation for Roberts and his parents. They toured the football facilities and campus, watched the goings on at camp, and spent part of Saturday on Lake Murray.
“The visit was great,” said Shanda Roberts, Elijah’s mother. “I don’t know what I was expecting but the campus is beautiful. What stood out to me the most is the 95 percent graduation rate and the GPA averages of the students. We were able to speak to current players about their experience and how they felt as freshmen coming in.
"The support kids are given is also a big factor. The transition to college can be a bit overwhelming, so having that support is great."
There’s still a lot of ground to cover for Roberts in his recruiting, but his mother feels the Gamecocks will be part of the discussions about his future. “They’re in a great spot,” she said.
Mrs. Roberts said Miami, Florida State, Florida and Georgia are the other schools under consideration.
Defensive end Jordan Burch of Hammond made a stop at USC on Friday to watch the school’s 7-on-7 team compete in a tournament. Clemson grad transfer running back Tavien Feaster was at USC on Friday to watch his former high school team, Spartanburg, compete in the 7-on-7 tournament. He talked with some Gamecock coaches while there.
Defensive end Desmond Evans of Sanford, N.C., has been a frequent visitor to USC. He was in for two games last season and a junior day in March. He was at a North Carolina camp Sunday. Evans said he also plans to visit Tennessee, Clemson, Texas A&M and Ohio State. He said he hasn’t heard that much from Clemson but he wants to take a visit nonetheless. Evans said he doesn’t have a favorite and he’s looking at the end of his season before making a decision.
One of Clemson’s top receiver targets for the 2020 class is Xzavier Henderson (6-4, 185) of Miami. He’s visited in the past and was back for a two-day stay last week. He spent time with receivers coach Jeff Scott and head coach Dabo Swinney.
“It was a fun experience being my third time being there,” Henderson said. “I had fun. I learned some new things from Jeff Scott. I had fun with the players. I actually have a track meet this weekend so I only did the drills and routes Wednesday morning. I feel like I did good.”
Henderson has a strong offer list and has not yet developed a group of favorites. He plans to do that within two weeks. Clemson no doubt will be on the list and he said he and the Clemson coaches have a good understanding about his situation.
“They already know my feelings towards them from previous times that we talked,” he said. “They just told me to take my time and go visit other schools. They gave me the stats that they have compared to other schools and gave me something to think about. It’s a big decision to make down the line. I really like Clemson and they’ll be in my top schools.”
Henderson left Clemson for Georgia and a camp there on Thursday. He also plans to camp at LSU, Alabama and Florida. He will not sign until February and does not have a timeline on a decision.
Linebacker Len’Neth Whitehead of Athens, Ga., was among the prospects at USC on Thursday. Whitehead has offers from the Gamecocks, Georgia, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M and Wisconsin.
“It was awesome,” Whitehead said. “I had a good time. The campus was beautiful. The facilities were awesome. The talk with the coaches went well and I feel they made it clear they wanted me and I was a priority.”
One of the best players on USC’s board is defensive end Jacolbe Cowan (6-5, 265) of Charlotte. A nationally recruited prospect, Cowan has the Gamecocks on his short list. He has a long history with the program dating back to his freshman season. Since then he’s visited nearly a half-dozen times for games, camps and seven-on-seven tournaments. He was back Friday for an unofficial visit.
Cowan took an official to Ohio State over the weekend. Cowan said he’s undecided about his other official visits. He has also taken unofficial visits to Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina. The others on his short list are Clemson, Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma, Penn State, N.C. State and LSU. He will sign in December and graduate early.
Linebacker Devyn Curtis of Brentwood, Tenn., is highly thought of among middle linebacker prospects in the 2020 class. He visited USC last season for the Georgia game and recruiter Bobby Bentley has stayed on him. That work has gotten the Gamecocks through the cutdown to six teams, which include Virginia, Vanderbilt, Nebraska, Mississippi State and Kentucky.
Curtis said recruiters like his ability move in space and cover ground. He said he had about 120 tackles with 15½ sacks last season. Curtis was back at USC this weekend for a seven-on-seven competition. Curtis has set an official visit to Vanderbilt for June 21 and he feels like USC will get one of his officials as well. Some of his other unofficial visits have been Vanderbilt, Purdue, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Kentucky.
Fort Dorchester linebacker Darryle Ware made an appearance at a USC camp earlier this month hoping to plant the seed in Muschamp’s mind that he’s worthy of an offer. Ware also visited USC in February for a junior day and was back for the spring game. He was happy with his camp performance and was watched closely by Muschamp and linebackers coach Coleman Hutzler.
“They like the way I play” Ware said. “Coach Muschamp said he was impressed with how quick I was on the ball and my ability to play aggressive.”
Ware has received offers from Coastal Carolina, Georgia Tech, Charleston Southern and Colorado State. He’s also attended camps at Duke, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Kentucky. He’s hoping to return to Columbia this fall.
USC camps conclude this weekend with one of the Gamecocks’ top 2021 quarterback targets returning for another chance to show what he can do. Colten Gauthier of Dacula, Ga., last visited in May, and the coaches want to see him again in a camp setting.
”Been real good,” Gauthier said of the contact from the Gamecocks. “They are looking forward to getting me back to campus ASAP. He (QB coach Dan Werner) is just really looking forward to being able to put me through drills. And I’m looking forward to Coach Muschamp watching me throw live and being able to coach me through the camp.”
Gauthier has picked up several major offers and is checking out a lot of schools this summer. He said USC remains one of his favorites. He also has been to Georgia Tech, Miami, UCF, Virginia Tech and Duke. He plans to visit West Virginia and would like to see Vanderbilt, Colorado, Kentucky and Louisville.
Quarterback Jake Rubley, class of 2021, spent last week in the Palmetto State. On Monday the pro-style QB from Littleton, Colo., was at USC to visit with Muschamp and Werner. Then he headed to Clemson where he worked out at the Tigers’ camps on Tuesday and Wednesday.
He has had a Gamecock offer for a while and he is under evaluation by the Tigers, who offered two other quarterbacks in his class last week. The visit to USC was the latest in a series of visits he’s made with the Gamecocks.
Clemson became the 21st school to offer 2021 cornerback Nyland Green (6-3 170) of Covington, Ga., who worked out in camp in front of the Tiger coaches and was offered following his performance.
The Tigers join Syracuse, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Purdue, Kentucky, Michigan State, Indiana, Louisville and UCF as some of the major names on Green’s offer list.
“The school was amazing,” Green said. “Everything is all family based. The main thing (cornerbacks) coach Reed hooked me on was being a smart young man and becoming close with God, because at Clemson that’s what they do. They are all family and will help you through anything. He gave me a look around the school and it was beautiful. We went into his office and he gladly opened his arms and offered me.”
Green also visited Georgia last week and plans stops at Auburn, Alabama and Tennessee.
Jamille Reynolds (6-9) of St. Petersburg, Fla., has USC in his final five along with UCF, Florida, Miami and Arkansas.
Clemson offered 6-7 Lance Ware of Camden, N.J., according to PrepCircuit.com.
Point guard Joe Anderson of Maryville, Tenn., committed to Furman.