One of the top uncommitted players left on South Carolina's board for the 2020 recruiting class was in Columbia on Saturday for the Gamecocks' football game against Alabama, and is scheduled to be in Tuscaloosa this weekend to watch the Crimson Tide.
Reggie Grimes, a 6-5, 240-pound defensive end from Brentwood, Tenn., took his official visit to USC in June and was back in Columbia for the Gamecocks' game on Saturday.
“I’ve been talking mostly with coach (Bobby) Bentley and coach (Will) Muschamp,” Grimes said. “They’re telling me I can play really early, freshman-year type thing. And they got me to develop me for three, three and a half years. And they are going to win a lot of games during that time.”
Grimes will take his official visit this weekend to Alabama. Some website reports have downplayed Alabama’s interest, questioning if Grimes is still a “take” by Nick Saban. Grimes said he believes Alabama is serious and the option is there for him to go to Alabama.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “If I wanted to go. I actually just talked to one of their coaches ... If I wanted to go there, I can.”
Grimes also has an official visit set with Tennessee for Oct. 5 and he plans to take an official visit to Vanderbilt. He’s also going to see Ole Miss, though he’s not sure yet if that will be an official or unofficial visit.
Wide receiver Rico Powers of Hapeville, Ga., also was back at USC on Saturday. Powers had visited before and also camped with the Gamecocks.
“Telling me that they want me pretty much, how much they want me to be a part of the program,” Powers said of USC. “I’m feeling good about them. I love the way they are showing how much they want me. They are keeping in touch with me.”
Powers is thinking about making a decision within a month. He has not visited anywhere else at this point but he plans to see Arkansas and Nebraska, and he expects to take an official visit with USC in December. He’s also hearing from Florida. Oregon, N.C. State, Tennessee and Virginia are some of his other offers. Powers was joined on Saturday’s visit by his teammate, linebacker Zavier Carter, who also has a Gamecocks offer.
Some of the other confirmed USC visitors Saturday were defensive end Jordan Burch of Hammond School, tight end Jaheim Bell of Valdosta, Ga., linebacker Len’Neth Whitehead of Athens, Ga., linebacker Desmond Tisdol of Rochelle, Ga., 2021 offensive lineman Dylan Fairchild of Cumming, Ga., 2021 athlete Kamarro Edmonds of Havelock, N.C., 2021 athlete Adonis Davis of Blackville-Hilda, 2021 linebacker Dameon Wilson of Kings Mountain, N.C., and 2023 quarterback Raheim Jeter of Greer.
Tight end Jake Briningstool (6-6, 210) of Brentwood, Tenn., made a return visit to Clemson this month for the Texas A&M game, his first game day experience with the Tigers. Clemson was already in a good place with Briningstool prior to this visit and the Tigers further enhanced their chances with him.
“I had heard all about it (Clemson’s tradition of running down the hill) and how cool it is but to actually see it live was pretty special,” Briningstool said.
Briningstool is one of the nation’s top recruits in the 2021 class at tight end with offers from most Power Five programs. After this visit, he can see things coming into focus, in particular with four programs.
“Clemson is definitely at the top of my list right now. I would say Clemson, Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State,” he said. “Those are probably some of my top schools, but Clemson is definitely near the top."
Last season Briningstool had 25 catches for 325 yards and a touchdown.
Clemson has a pair of offers out to running backs in the 2021 class at this point, and one of those, Phil Mafah of Loganville, Ga., already has committed. The other with an offer, Will Shipley of Matthews, N.C., took in his first game at Death Valley when the Tigers defeated Texas A&M.
Not only did Shipley get a better look at the program, he got a clearer understanding of where things stand between him and running backs coach Tony Elliott.
“I got there a little bit early on the first bus over to the complex and I got to sit down and eat lunch with coach (Dan) Pearman,” Shipley said. “I was on the first bus over to the stadium and I sat down and had a couple of minutes with coach Elliott, which was really, really cool, just trying to hash it out with him before the game to see what he was thinking."
One of the concerns for Shipley going into the visit was where he stood in the recruiting pecking order since Elliott already has the one running back commitment. What he needed to know with certainty was Elliott’s plan about taking a second back in the ’21 class, or if he likes him enough for another position, such as slot receiver.
“He told me they are going to recruit me,” Shipley said. “He had planned to take one running back in the ’21 class but coach Swinney gave him the go-ahead to go ahead and recruit me. I didn’t ask him too much into detail because we got into some stuff about the game. I just know they are going to continue to recruit me.”
Shipley went to Virginia on Saturday and said he will get to USC for a game this season. He will visit Notre Dame in October for the Southern Cal game. Some of his other offers are N.C. State, Stanford, Duke, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Virginia, Florida, Georgia, Southern Cal, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Oregon, Tennessee, and Ohio State. Last season Shipley accounted for 2,000 yards of offense rushing and receiving along with 26 touchdowns.
Tight end Arik Gilbert of Marietta, Ga., made an unofficial visit to Clemson for the A&M game and continues to consider the Tigers along with Georgia, Texas A&M, Alabama and Tennessee. It was his third visit to Clemson this year. Gilbert was scheduled for an official visit to A&M over the weekend. He also has taken an official visit to Alabama.
USC target cornerback Jahquez Robinson of Jacksonville took an official visit to Oklahoma earlier in the month. He also plans to visit USC. He remains an Alabama commitment.
Byrnes running back Rahjai Harris said he will announce his commitment Sept. 28. His offers include East Carolina, Appalachian State, Memphis, Coastal Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Middle Tennessee.
Byrnes safety Buddy Mack committed to Charlotte.
The state’s top 2020 basketball recruit, 6-9 PJ Hall of Dorman, has had a busy stretch of recruiting activity. Two weekends ago he made his second official visit to Clemson. On Monday, the first day of the new basketball recruiting period, Hall was visited at his school by coaches from Clemson, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Hall knows Clemson extremely well considering the number of visits he has taken over the years.
“This one was more of a laid-back visit,” Hall said of his trip to Clemson in August. “I got to hang out with the team a whole lot. Went out and made it feel like I was an actual student. I went to a few practices, nothing really that I hadn’t seen before. It definitely was a good visit.”
Clemson is the lone state school involved with Hall and is the closest to him in terms of distance. Tigers coach Brad Brownell has used the “stay-in-state” argument in conversations with Hall.
“The same message about the hometown hero, and it’s close to home but not too close,” Hall said. “Just saying that me coming there would fit with the system. Same things he’s already said to me, I come there and it’s a 40-year decision, not a four, and the people would love me.”
Ja’Von Benson (6-8) of Ridge View took his official visit to USC over the weekend. He has also taken an official visit to the College of Charleston and is also looking at Indiana State.
USC target Cliff Omoruyi (6-10) of Rochelle, N.J. took an official visit to Auburn over the weekend.
USC coaches visited last Monday with Earl Timberlake (6-5) of Hyattsville, Md., according to John Whittle of TheBigSpur. Head coaches from Providence and Miami also were in last week, according to reports. Timberlake took an official visit to Miami over the weekend. He also has taken official visits to USC, Providence and Pitt. He is scheduled for Seton Hall this weekend and he also plans a visit to North Carolina.
Clemson target Keon Ambrose-Hylton (6-9) of Willoughby, Ohio, visited Dayton earlier in the month. He said he’s still considering Clemson and hopes to visit soon.
RJ Ogom (6-6) of Homewood, Ill., recently took an official visit to the College of Charleston.
Charleston Southern had an in-home visit last week with Raekwon Horton (6-7) of Keenan.
The USC women made the top five with point guard Treasure Hunt (5-11) of Chattanooga. The others are Mississippi State, Baylor, Kentucky and Auburn.
USC received a commitment from catcher/third baseman David Mendham, a native of Ontario who attends Connors State JC in Oklahoma. He batted .422 with 18 homers and 85 RBIs last season.
Outfielder/pitcher Kameron Dunlap of White Knoll also committed to USC.