South Carolina coach Will Muschamp set out this recruiting season to upgrade his team’s running back talent, and he got that done on Monday when MarShawn Lloyd released a video on Twitter announcing a commitment to the Gamecocks.
Lloyd (5-10, 210) is a native of Delaware, but he attends Dematha Catholic in Hyattsville, Md. He visited USC in February and in April, and running backs coach Thomas Brown kept the Gamecocks in a strong position with him, but the choice of the Gamecocks and the timing of the announcement were not expected by the recruiting world because Lloyd has had little to say about his recruiting.
The Gamecocks beat the likes of Georgia, Maryland, Penn State and Ohio State for Lloyd. He also had offers from Clemson, Florida, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M and Southern Cal.
“It was definitely different,” Lloyd said of USC following his April visit. “I really interacted with the players, and it was very different and I liked it. I felt like I fit in well. Their offensive line is amazing. The running backs fit me as well. It’s a place where I can push myself and play probably early.”
Lloyd also liked the idea of playing his college football under Brown’s tutelage.
“Being able to have a coach like Thomas Brown, and my coach now, pretty much not really a difference,” he said. “That was a big up for them.”
Lloyd is the Gamecocks’ seventh commitment for the 2020 class and the first running back.
The running back prospects board at USC grew by two Wednesday with more offers extended by Brown. One went to former Tennessee commitment Ebony Jackson (6-1, 205) of Marietta, Ga. The Gamecocks joined the likes of Alabama, Tennessee, Maryland, Mississippi and West Virginia on his offer list.
“They like that I can get out at wide out and make plays, and I can catch the ball out of the back field very well and move very fast for a 6’1 running back. It was nice, though, getting the offer, very nice to add them on my list and I will definitely be looking out for them a lot more.”
Jackson visited Tennessee in early April and committed while on that visit. He decommitted last week. He also has visited Georgia and Georgia Tech thus far this recruiting season and said he plans to get back to USC. He also said the Alabama offer really stands out with him at this point.
“That’s like a dream,” said Jackson who is the 5A Georgia state champion in the 100 and 200 meters.
The other offer was handed out to Marvin Scott (5-9, 203) of Port Orange, Fla. Like Jackson, Scott has a multitude of major offers including Alabama, Florida State, Kentucky, Duke, Wake Forest, Boston College, Miami, North Carolina, Michigan, Nebraska, Tennessee, UCF, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
“I had a talk with coach Brown. He is definitely a great person and I feel like I can trust him. He said I would fit into the playing style and offense. He likes my speed, strength and balance.” Brown has developed a good relationship with Scott to the point he plans to set an official visit with the Gamecocks. “I think that it’s a great program,” he said. “I will be visiting. I don’t really have any that stand out, they all stand out. I’m hoping to visit South Carolina on an official.” Scott has visited unofficially Florida, UCF and FIU.
In other recruiting news:
USC has offered several 2021 quarterback prospects, and a few have risen to a level of prominence in the eyes of Muschamp and quarterbacks coach Dan Werner. Apparently one of those is Colten Gauthier of Dacula, Ga. Werner offered Gauthier earlier this month and Thursday the quarterback made his first trip to USC. He was impressed by what he saw, starting with Williams-Brice Stadium. “I was pretty amazed by it, it’s really a nice stadium” Gauthier said. “We pulled into the new facility where all the offices are and from the moment I walked in I was amazed with every little detail in the building. They really took care of me. They gave me a great photoshoot, really put in a lot of effort. They showed me a lot of love there. The strength coach was really nice, he took a lot of time to talk with me. I sat down with Coach Werner and and Coach Muschamp and talked with them for about an hour. They showed me a lot of love and I really appreciated it and I definitely plan on going back.” Gauthier said he also had meetings with Muschamp and Werner, each meeting serving a distinct purpose. “Me and Coach Muschamp was more of a relationship kind of thing,” Gauthier said. “But me and Coach Werner went back to his office and started doing some film work and on the board. Mainly, he was showing me how they do some things in their offense, and I started getting up on the board drawing a couple of plays, like first and ten situation, first and long situation, my progression, protection and everything like that. So, I really enjoyed that.” Gauthier left the visit feeling good about the Gamecocks, and from what he could tell, he feels they feel good about him as well. “I don’t really have like a list, but they are definitely a priority,” he said. “They’re definitely, from now on, going to be a priority for me and we’re definitely going to be back there. I’m definitely a top priority (for the Gamecocks). I’m not sure exactly, but by the way he (Werner) was talking, I was definitely number one. They have a lot of quarterbacks offered, but by the way he was talking, he was kind of hinting that I’m definitely number one, a top priority. I personally feel like I am the top. Definitely just from his body language and the way he was talking, along with Coach Muschamp, because I had that conversation with Coach Muschamp in the room with me, from both of them, I could definitely feel that I was definitely number one, but if not, I was definitely at least top three, definitely a priority.” Gauthier said he will return to USC for a camp next month. He was at Troy Friday. June 1st, he goes to Duke, June 15th to Miami and June 15th to UCF.
USC has offered several tight end prospects in the 2020 class and one the Gamecocks are pushing hard for is Diego Lamonica (6-5 227) of Miami. Lamonica, whose mother is a former Gamecock cheerleader, has set his first official visit and it will be to USC June 15th. The Gamecocks offered Lamonica in April and Gamecock tight ends coach Bobby Bentley, who has been his recruiter, has made a strong argument for him to join him in Columbia. “I’m the number one tight end on their board and they are very interested and can’t wait to get me up there,” Lamonica said. “I want to see it it’s a place where I could see myself for three or four years. And I want to interact with the coaches and stuff like that.” Lamonica has not set any other official visits at this point. However, he will be at Clemson for a camp June 4-6. This will be his third visit to Clemson, the last one coming for the spring game. The Tigers haven’t offered but are very interested, and the camp will be an opportunity to earn an offer from tight ends coach and recruiter Danny Pearman. “He’s been telling me to get ready for the camp,” Lamonica said. He also plans to go to a camp at LSU this summer. Lamonica recently added offers from Maryland, Georgia Tech and UNLV. Some of his other offers are Oregon, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Virginia, UCF, Syracuse, Indiana and South Florida. He said 6-7 schools are sticking out in his mind but he’s not ready to publicize a short list at this point. He does not have a timeline for a decision, and he will not graduate early.
Last week USC offered Sage Ennis (6-4 225) of Tallahassee, Fla. The hometown Seminoles also offered last week but the Gamecocks are the first from their league to do so. “It was my first SEC offer and I’ve been waiting on it for awhile now. I’ve been in contact with the coaching staff and Coach Bentley since January. I love the coaching staff and how they’re honest and won’t blow you any smoke. Coach Bentley says I’m his guy and that’s pretty big. They seem like they have something going good for them. It was a pretty big moment when I got that offer.” Ennis caught 39 passes for 598 yards and 4 touchdowns last season. He also rushed for 9 touchdowns. “They like how I’m aggressive, strong, powerful, and athletic. I have a big catch radius which is a good benefit for me. I really developed my blocking game this spring and that sealed the deal for me. We all saw what they did with Hayden Hurst. He’s now making tons of money and playing on Sunday. I feel like I could fit in just like him. Their offense suits a hybrid tight end like myself.” Ennis is closing in on the 40 offer mark. Some of the others on his sheet are West Virginia, Maryland, Miami, N.C. State, UCF, USF and Coastal Carolina. The hometown team will no doubt he hard for anyone to beat but Ennis is giving the Gamecocks their due as far as favorites are concerned. “They’re up there,” he said. “I’m not quite sure where, but they’re up around five if I had to say.” Ennis visited USC for a junior day January 20th. He was at Clemson last week for an unofficial visit. The Tigers haven’t offered but he plans to workout for them in a camp next month. He’s also been to Florida State, Rice, Memphis and UCF.
Standout DE Reggie Grimes of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., has a final six of USC, Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. From those six, he’s settled on official visits with USC, Alabama, Florida State and LSU. Vanderbilt and Tennessee, being within driving distance, will get unofficial visits. Grimes has set the USC official visit for June 6th and the one to Alabama for September 21 for the Southern Miss game. Recruiting experts across the Internet are convinced Grimes will follow in his father’s footsteps and go to Alabama. Eventually, that might be the case. But right now, according to Grimes, they are all just guessing. “Everyone says that I’m going to Alabama but I haven’t said I’m going to Alabama,” Grimes said. “Our recruiting process is still very open. All these sites that say that I’m going to Alabama, they haven’t in fact talked to me about it because I’ve never said anything like that.” Which gives hope to the other coaches in hot pursuit, including USC’s Will Muschamp and Bobby Bentley. “They really have a lot of interest. They came by the school twice this past spring,” Grimes said. “We usually talk every day. I’m talking to someone from South Carolina every day. Can’t wait to see for myself on the official visit.” Grimes took an unofficial visit to USC in January. He’s also been to Alabama, Tennessee and Florida State unofficially. Grimes does not have a decision timeline and he won’t sign until February.
CB Dominick Hill (6-2, 185) of Orlando, Fla., has visited USC unofficially at least three times. And he will be visiting again for an official visit this weekend. “I just like the coaches, TRob and Muschamp, they are just good coaches,” Hill said. “It’s a rising university, they are on the come-up facility wise and player wise. I think it would be a good fit.” Hill was a wide receiver until last season when he moved to corner. He also likes Texas, Georgia, Mississippi and Missouri, but they are fighting for second right now. “South Carolina is really up there,” he said. “They lead the pack.” Florida, he added, is not a factor with him. Hill also is looking at an official visit to Missouri two weeks after USC. He’s working on the dates for his other visits to Texas, Georgia and Mississippi and could have them set this week. Right now, Hill said he’s looking at August 1st for a commitment announcement, but it could come sooner than that. He will be an early graduate.
USC is scheduled to host several other top prospects for official visits this coming weekend: RB Tank Bigsby, OL Jazston Turnetine, DE Myles Murphy, RB Jahmyr Gibbs, LB Bryson Eason, OL Josh Braun and committed WR Mike Wyman.
2021 TE Jake Briningstool (6-6, 210) is another fast-rising prospect from Brentwood, Tenn., and he has grabbed the attention of a number of major programs, including USC. The Gamecocks offered earlier this month and Briningstool will have the Gamecocks among the schools he plans to consider into the future. “Coach Muschamp is building something special. I also really like the upgraded facilities. They look awesome.” Some of his other offers are Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Kentucky, Michigan State, Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Purdue. He’s early in the process and not ready to narrow his list to favorites, but the Gamecock offer apparently will stick with him. “The South Carolina offers means a lot to me,” Briningstool said. “Coach Bentley is a great coach and great guy. Me and him have known each other for awhile now and I have a lot of respect for him. South Carolina is awesome. The new facilities look great and the culture there is amazing. Coach Bentley said he likes my size and ability to stretch the field with catching the ball as well as my aggressiveness and ability to block.” Along with USC, Briningstool also has visited Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Northwestern, Michigan State, Vanderbilt and Jacksonville State. He has visits scheduled to Alabama June 3rd, Clemson June 11-13 and Miami June 22nd. Those will be a combination camp and unofficial visits.
2021 WR Breon Pass of Reidsville, N.C., picked up an offer from USC earlier this month. “Getting the offer meant a lot to me, my first SEC offer and especially coming from South Carolina, is a blessing. South Carolina is close to home and I just love the campus and South Carolina in general. The coaches love my skill set and how I have great hands and how I make plays.” Pass has visited NC State and Wake Forest and plans to visit USC at some point. He also has offers from Duke, N.C. State, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Appalachian State and Elon. According to MaxPreps, Pass last season caught 35 passes for 616 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Conway DT Tonka Hemingway named a top five of USC, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Duke.
WR EJ Williams of Phenix City, Ala., narrowed his list to Clemson, Auburn, LSU, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama and Oklahoma.
Hammond DE Jordan Burch and some other top prospects were at Georgia weekend before last for a social event for recruits.
USC target OL Javion Cohen of Phenix City, Ala., took an official visit to Georgia Tech over the weekend. He also has taken an official to USC. He has Auburn set for this weekend and Florida two weeks later.
DT Jalen Carter of Apopka, Fla., committed to Georgia over Clemson and Alabama, the two other schools he listed in his top three.
One-time Clemson TE target Clemson TE target Braiden McGregor of Port Huron, Mich., committed to Michigan.
CB Joel Williams of Baton Rouge, La., who had a USC offer, committed to Florida.
USC target WR Ze’Vian Capers of Alpharetta, Ga., was offered by Virginia Tech.
USC target RB Janari Dean was offered by Georgia.
USC target DE Desmond Evans of Sanford, N.C., was offered by Michigan.
USC target CB Jamorri Colson of Ocilla, Ga., was offered by Rutgers and Purdue.
DE Kedrick Bingley-Jones of Charlotte, a USC, target, has set Aug. 3 for his announcement date. N.C. State, North Carolina, Miami and Ohio State are also among his favorites.
Cheraw WR Jalen Coit was offered by Kansas.
Hammond QB Jackson Muschamp was offered by MTSU.
2021 DB Jordan Burrell of Blythewood was offered by Syracuse.
Other USC offers last week: WR Jordan Addison of Frederick, Md.; 2021 OL Jmarion Jenkins-Gooch (6-7 280) of Seymour, Tenn.; 2021 DB Bryce Steele (6-2, 200) of Raleigh; 2021 WR Malcolm Johnson of Fort Washington, Md.
Clemson offered 2021 CB Clinton Burton of Baltimore and 2021 CB GaQuincy McKinstry of Pinson, Ala.
2021 DB Jordan Burrell of Blythewood was offered by Syracuse.
2021 RB Phil Mafah of Buford, Ga., made an unofficial visit to Clemson on Thursday.
6-9 Jamari Sibley of Milwaukee has USC in his top 10 along with Marquette, Georgetown, Florida, Iowa State, Syracuse, Iowa, Maryland, Wake Forest and Minnesota.
2022 6-3 Lazaria Spearman of Dacula, Ga., was offered by the USC women.