South Carolina was a recent offer to tight end Blake Smith of Dallas, and Wednesday the Gamecocks had an assistant coach on hand to watch his spring practice workout.
As for getting the offer from USC, Smith (6-4, 247) was excited partially because his aunt lives in the Palmetto State, so there is a connection there.
“It’s definitely something where I’m going to take a visit to South Carolina,” Smith said. “It’s a beautiful campus. I like the head coach, I think he’s all-time hard work. I talk to the tight ends coach quite a bit. I really like his energy.”
Smith describes himself as a very athletic tight end. In fact, he also plays some quarterback. But schools like him as a tight end because he can bring a number of options to the position.
“They say I’m very versatile,” he said. “I can line up on the line with my hand in the dirt, run pass routes, block down, they say I can even flex out. They know that I can be a big mismatch for a defensive back. I can also play quarterback and put some plays in there somewhere and just use my athletic ability for my size.”
Smith has taken unofficial visits to TCU, Vanderbilt and Ohio State, but with spring ball going on now, he won’t take more until that’s complete. Among his other offers are Boston College, Colorado, Florida State, Cal, LSU, Miami, Iowa State, TCU, Virginia and Vanderbilt. Smith said he wants to make his decision before his senior season.
One of the newest offers by USC coach Will Muschamp is TE Jonathan Odom (6-6, 240) of Tampa, Fla. The nationally regarded recruit has heavy Florida ties. His father played on the offensive line for the Gators as well as for Tampa Bay, and his mother played basketball at Florida. So, it would appear to be an uphill battle for anyone to turn him from the Gators, but Muschamp and many others are giving it a shot.
“I’ve been hearing from them for awhile now, probably a couple of months,” Odom said. “One of my friends I met on my OV to LSU, Tank Bigsby, was kind of recruiting me towards South Carolina. I have been developing a relationship with them.”
Odom has not yet visited USC, but he watched them practice at his high school prior to the 2018 Outback Bowl in Tampa.
“I’ll definitely will look into getting up there and visiting and see how this stuff plays thru,” Odom said. “I’m definitely going to try to get up there.”
He said Gamecocks tight ends coach Bobby Bentley plans to get down to see him this spring. Odom has taken official visits to LSU and Florida. He has one scheduled for Purdue on June 15. This weekend he will take an unofficial visit to Ohio State. Many schools are now coming through to watch Odom in spring practice, and Clemson will be down this week to check him out.
“I’ve been in contact with Coach Pearman,” he said. “They haven’t offered. My only question is are they thinking of using the tight end more coming up? They didn’t use the tight end very much last year. I think their leading receiving tight end had six catches. That’s one of my questions for them.”
Odom said he doesn’t have a favorite right now, but the three schools with the official visits thus far are up on his list. Some other offers are Alabama, West Virginia, Florida State, Louisville, Iowa, Nebraska, Miami, Penn State and Vanderbilt. Odom plans to make his decision before his season with late July being the earliest date.
In other recruiting news:
WR Ze’Vian Capers of Alpharetta, Ga., committed to Arkansas in February but has kept an open relationship with other programs, including USC. Late last month, Capers took an official visit with the Gamecocks along with his parents and two siblings. He has not renounced his commitment to Arkansas but said Sunday night the visit with the Gamecocks was good enough to move them back to the front of his list. “I’ve always felt that family environment in Columbia, and I got that feeling again,” Capers said. “Coach Muschamp and Coach McClendon treat me like I’m already on campus. They treat me like I’m one of the players already on the team. We enjoyed ourselves very much. It kind of opened up my eyes a little bit because South Carolina has always been that top school. This visit opened up my eyes and I seen that South Carolina could be a future home for me and my family. As of right now, I would put South Carolina at the top right, No. 1, as of right now.” This was Caper’s fourth visit to USC since September. He’s gotten a good education from McClendon on how he would be used in the offense, and he’s convinced he would flourish. “Coach McClendon told me that I’m a guy that’s very versatile and he can put me in multiple positions and create matchups. That’s what he really likes about my game,” Capers said. “He said I will be lethal in their offense.” Capers said he plans more official visits to Tennessee and Arkansas and other unofficial visits to USC, Florida and Georgia. No dates have been set.
CB Elias Ricks of Santa Ana, Calif., has been committed to LSU. He originally was in the 2020 class but worked to be able to graduate this spring so he could go ahead and enroll, but LSU doesn’t have a scholarship available, so he will wait. Ricks told Rivals he will take all off his official visits and he plans to see Clemson, Ohio State, Alabama, LSU and Southern Cal. He said Ohio State is recruiting the hardest.
USC commitment WR Mike Wyman of Greensboro, N.C., said he has shut down his recruiting and will not take any more visits other than to USC.
DE Desmond Evans of Sanford, N.C., released a top 10 that includes USC and Clemson. The others on his list are North Carolina, Ohio State, Alabama, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, N.C. State, Florida and Duke.
USC target CB Art Green of Hutchinson JC (Kan.) was offered by Georgia and Texas A&M.
USC and Clemson target LB Trenton Simpson of Charlotte announced a top five that did not include the Gamecocks and Tigers.
USC target LB Mohamed Kaba of Clinton, N.C., plans to announce his commitment May 10. He also has N.C. State, Tennessee, North Carolina and Duke on his short list. He last visited USC March 30.
DE Myles Murphy of Marietta, Ga., told Rivals he will announce his commitment May 17. He’s choosing between Clemson, Georgia and Auburn.
USC recruiters Thomas Brown and Bryan McClendon were at Callaway High School in Hogansville, GA Monday to see RB Tank Bigsby coming off his visit with the Gamecocks the prior weekend. Bigsby has taken an official visit to LSU. Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Georgia and Tennessee also are involved.
USC commitment WR Da’Quon Stewart of Huntersville, N.C., was offered by Georgia Tech.
LB Mekhail Sherman of Washington, who at one time listed Clemson among his favorites, is down to Ohio State and Georgia.
Clemson target LB Antoine Sampah of Woodbridge, Va., committed to LSU.
USC target TE AJ Beatty of Pittsburgh will release his top list June 1.
DB Andru Phillips of Mauldin committed to Kentucky.
USC target 2021 RB Will Shipley of Weddington, N.C., was offered by Georgia Tech and Notre Dame.
2021 DE Dylan Brooks of Roanoke, Ala., said a USC coach was at his practice Wednesday. USC has offered Brooks.
USC target 2021 OL Micah Morris of Kingsland, Ga., was offered by LSU. He visited USC late last month.
Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell visited Indian Land High School Monday to look in on 2021 OL Prestin Hawkins.
2021 DE Jahvaree Ritzie (6-5, 235) of Kernersville, NC made an unofficial visit to USC late last month for the social gathering that doubled as a recruiting opportunity. The Gamecocks have offered along with Duke, East Carolina, North Carolina, NC State, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Virginia, Virginia Tech and others. USC certainly caught his attention on the visit. “I loved everything about it, coaches, atmosphere, where it is, and the facilities were amazing to see,” Rizie said. “The coaches loved my character and who I am as a person. We weren’t there for recruiting. We were there for bonding. That’s what they said and they showed it.” But, you don’t bring a top prospect on campus for a visit without talking a little recruiting. And Ritzie said the Gamecocks did make a bit of a pitch to him. “They said I would be a great part to their defense,” said Ritzie who is being recruiting as a strong side defensive end. And despite his good trip, he’s not ready to put the Gamecocks out ahead of any of the others. “All the schools are the same. I just like the experience they gave, me just like all the schools. They fit in to what I’m thinking, them and a lot of schools. I just like the recruiting and the experiences that come with them.” Ritzie also has visited Clemson, N.C. State, North Carolina, Duke and Virginia. He’s not sure about future visits.
2021 DT Payton Page (6-4, 295) of Greensboro, N.C., carries a heavy offer load early in his recruiting process. On board with him already are USC, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee, North Carolina, N.C. State and others. Recently he made another stop at Clemson, part of a tour of schools he’s taken this spring. “The visit at Clemson was great. I really liked how Coach (Miguel) Chavis and Coach Ty (Tyler Clements) were there to guide me my family and my friend Elijah from the beginning til the end of my visit. The experience was detailed, and I am grateful to have had it,” Page said. “Coach Bates and Coach Venables are cool dudes, but I can tell when you hit that field they mean business. The message I got from them both was really what everyone that I met has said, ‘I won’t just leave Clemson a better football player but everything they are going to teach me will help me to be a better man.’ Because If I am fortunate to make it to the pros, what will 30 (years) look like after the pros?” Despite not having an offer at this point, Page said the Tigers are recruiting him hard and he plenty of other reasons to like them right now. “I think a couple of things are intriguing the – PAW Journey is one,” Page said. “Passionate About Winning, and not just on the field but in life. Also the people – everyone has the same message but seemed sincere. The time they took with us both days without complaining to show us everything from the academics building to the stadium. The visit was awesome.” Page said he plans to return this summer for one of the Swinney camps.
USC offered LB Allen Merrick of Gadsden, Ala., 2021 WR GaQuincy McKinstry of Pinson, Ala., 2021 CB Kamar Wilcoxson of Decatur, Ga., 2021 RB Phil Mafah (6-1, 218) of Loganville, Ga., 2021 TE Gage Wilcox of Tampa, Fla., 2021 DE Tyleik Williams and 2022 LB Shawn Murphy of Manassas, Va.
Clemson basketball coach Brad Brownell has been shopping the graduate transfer market for immediate help but has found no takers thus far. But he has landed a freshman transfer guard in 5-10 Nick Honor of Fordham. Honor announced his transfer plans on Twitter and wrote that his transfer was due to an “event” that happened with his mother. The fact Honor is transferring to be closer to his Orlando home due to a family issue could lead to an appeal for immediate eligibility. Last season for the Rams Honor averaged 15 points and 3 assists per game, leading the team in both categories. He shot 37% from the floor, 33% from 3, and 82% from the foul line. He was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team. In high school, he was named the 5A player of the year.
Shooting guard 6-6 Colby Jones of Mountain Brook, Ala., was impressive playing for the Alabama Fusion in the recent Nike EYBL event in Atlanta. Sitting the stands taking it all end were members of the Clemson staff, including head coach Brad Brownell. Brownell must have liked what he saw because Wednesday he offered Jones becoming the second coach of a high major program to offer the sharpshooter. “It’s a blessing for any school to offer you and to know that they want you,” Jones said. “Coach Brownell and Coach Dean watched me play this weekend and they said they really loved the way I play. The way I made reads coming off of screens, hitting the pocket pass or scoring when I needed to. They also loved how vocal I was during all the games and how I really locked up on defense. This is my first ACC offer, and knowing that they play in arguably one of the toughest conferences in the country speaks on what type of program this is.” Jones said he’s familiar with Clemson’s playing style and Brownell’s coaching style and both are agreeable to him. “I like the direction the basketball program is headed,” Jones said. “If I do go there, I’d feel like I’d play a combo guard spot that could guard multiple positions. I like his (Brownell’s) coaching style and getting up and down. I feel like that’s one of the better parts of my game, scoring in transition.” Georgia also has offered Jones. He has taken official visits to Harvard and Yale and he plans to visit Clemson this summer. He also plans to visit Georgia and Xavier. Some other reported offers are Middle Tennessee, Troy, Samford and South Alabama. He said there is no favorite at this point.
Clemson also offered 2021 PG Carter Whitt of Raleigh.
USC target 6-6 Terrence Williams took an official visit to Notre Dame over the weekend. He also has visited Stanford and Virginia.
USC coaches have been in place to watch 6-6 Matt Cross of Woodstock Academy in Connecticut during the AAU season. Frank Martin already has offered Cross and met with him at his school and home, and Cross made an unofficial visit for the Georgia game last season. So, the two sides have become very comfortable with one another. Martin made sure Cross knew they were in Atlanta to focus on him. “There was always a member from the staff there,” Cross said. “Frank was there the first game and then he had to head to Dallas. I got to talk to him thru text after because they are not allowed to talk to you while you there. Like I said before, I think it will be a great fit. They are my kind of guys. They don’t hound you. They are not all over you. They told me how they feel about me and they are going to leave it up to me. That’s the best part. I like how they do things and I think I’d be a great fit.” Cross said he and the Gamecock staff are so familiar with one another, and have such a good feel for one another, there’s not a whole lot more they need to tell him from a recruiting pitch standpoint. “I think I know how they feel about me,” Cross said. “We talk it up more and more and I need to get down there for an official in late summer before the high school season. I think I’ll get a lot from that. Like I’ve said before, they are old school and I come from old school people who I am around. I just think I know what I’m getting from them and I think I know how they feel about me.” Cross was outstanding in his four games in Atlanta averaging over 22 points per game, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He showed his complete game to the recruiters and the result was several more offers. “I showed my versatility, that I can take it down low in a mismatch, that I can bring it outside, I stretch the floor well,” Cross said. “What coaches always tell me is they like my toughness. I think I showed some of that.” Some of those new offers include Indiana, Illinois, Miami, Butler, Creighton, Georgia Tech and Cleveland State. He also has offers from Penn State, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Tulane and St. Joseph’s. Besides USC, Cross said he’s not sure who will get his other official visits. He plans to wait until after he completes his AAU season and see what other offers come in before making visit plans.
Martin was among the coaches in on Wednesday to see 6-6 Earl Timberlake of Hyattsville, Md., according to @stockrisers.
Coaches from Florida, Vanderbilt and Butler were at Dorman last week to check on 6-10 PJ Hall and 6-0 Myles Tate.
6-8 Ja’Von Benson of Ridge View was offered by Georgia Southern.
Former USC forward Felipe Haase is transferring to Mercer. His former high school coach is now an assistant with the Bears.