Offensive lineman Christian Pellage of Brooksville, Fla., made his official visit to Florida over the weekend. He remains committed to South Carolina and will make his official visit with the Gamecocks this coming weekend before finalizing his plans.
“After my official to South Carolina, I will reevaluate the two visits and make sure I’m making the best choice for myself,” Pellage said.
Pellage has been committed to USC since August. Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier was scheduled to have his in-home visit with Pellage on Monday night.
Meanwhile, defensive back Mark Fields Jr. wrapped up his official visit to Clemson on Sunday afternoon without committing to the Tigers. Fields said he wants to take one more visit this coming weekend to Texas before his makes his decision.
“I think I’m going to cancel my LSU visit. I don’t think I’m going to go out there, so I’m going to do this Texas one and then that’s it. I’ll probably end up making my decision as soon as I take my Texas visit.”
Fields said he enjoyed his visit and spent time with his close friend and former teammate Van Smith, who enrolled at Clemson this month. Fields was joined on the visit by his mother and siblings. While Fields didn’t announce a commitment to Clemson publicly, he may have given the Tiger staff a silent commitment. Sunday night, DB Kareem Orr of Chattanooga, Tenn., who had been on Clemson’s board, said he was called by recruiter Dan Brooks and was told the Tigers had gotten a commitment from another defensive back over the weekend and were now filled up at the position. With that news, Orr said he will not visit Mississippi State this coming weekend and either Georgia or Ohio State the final weekend. He went to Arizona State over the weekend and currently favors the Sun Devils.
Wide receiver/defensive back Denzel Johnson of AC Flora did not commit to Clemson on his official visit because of some academic concerns that were just discovered, according to Paul Strelow of TigerIllustrated. Thus, Clemson was not in a position to take a commitment from Johnson, who had indicated going into the visit one was possible. Johnson will continue with his visits. He has Georgia Southern scheduled for this coming weekend and N.C. State the following weekend.
In other recruiting news:
Georgia met last week with Shrine Bowl DL Eurndraus Bryant of Fort Dorchester. Georgia did not offer during the meetings, but Bryant said he hopes to hear something from the Bulldogs soon. He set an official visit to Georgia for Jan. 30. He is going to Georgia Southern on Friday.
Charleston Southern in-state commitments: TE Travay Hatton of Pageland Central; QB London Johnson of Marlboro County; OL Zac Evans of South Florence; DE Jacob Garibay of Hanahan; OL Stephen Haralambis of Chapin; LB Craig Johnson of Swansea; DE Gerald Turner, transfer from USC.
USC commitment DB Antoine Wilder of Atlanta took an official visit to Tennessee State. He enjoyed the visit but remains firmly committed to USC. He takes his official visit to USC this coming weekend. Wilder is expecting USC recruiters Lorenzo Ward and Grady Brown to visit him Thursday. He said Spurrier is scheduled to visit Jan. 26.
USC filled one of the openings in its 2015 recruiting class created by two defensive back decommitments by getting a commitment Thursday from safety Toure Boyd (6-1 193) of Chaffey JC, Calif. Boyd gives the Gamecocks 28 commitments in the class, including the carryovers from last year, and he’s the fifth pledge for the secondary. Boyd was offered Wednesday by USC secondary coach Brown after all of his academic work passed muster with the university. He was going to go to Boise State out of high school before a two-year detour through junior college, first at the College of the Desert and then at Chaffey. Boyd grew up in Birmingham, Ala., before moving to California at 13 and couldn’t be happier about having the chance to play in a big-time program in the SEC. “I’ve always wanted to play in an elite college system and I picture South Carolina as an elite system,” Boyd said. “It’s always been my dream to play in the SEC, so when this opportunity was brought to me, I felt it was a dream come true and a blessing. Me playing behind a coach like Steve Spurrier is just as good as playing behind a coach like Nick Saban. I’m getting this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the most out of my athleticism and the most out of my talent. This is an objective to my ultimate goal. I picture this as a step closer to where I need to be and where I picture myself to be.” This past season, Boyd had 80 tackles, 2 interceptions and 10 passes broken up. He also blocked four kicks. He expects to play safety at USC.
USC is continuing to recruit DE Tega Wanogho Jr. of Elmore, Ala., but currently is not included in his schedule of official visits. Wanogho visited LSU over the weekend and will go to Tennessee on Friday and Auburn on Jan. 30. “We want him to take all five visits,” said Edgewood Academy assistant coach Todd Taylor, with whom Wanogho lives. “He’ll take these three, and if he decides he wants to go on the other two, that will be his choice.” Taylor added that Wanogho will not sign on National Signing Day because they will not have had enough time to sort everything out and that he might take one or two more visits. Taylor said he will accompany Wanogho on all of his visits. USC recruiter Kirk Botkin met with Wanogho Thursday. LSU, Auburn and Tennessee were also in for visits on Thursday.
USC offered OL Trey Derouen of Lilburn, Ga., Thursday. USC recruiter GA Mangus was by to see Derouen on Thursday. Also Thursday, he met with new Florida coach Jim McIlwain, along with coaches from Missouri and Louisville. Florida has not yet offered, according to his coach. Kansas State has also come in with a late offer. Derouen visited Louisville over the weekend and will visit USC on Friday and Florida on Jan. 30. He might also work in a mid-week visit to Kansas State.
OL Cory Helms of Alpharetta, Ga., who is transferring after two seasons as a starter at Wake Forest, was offered Wednesday by Mississippi State. That’s the fourth offer for Helms since he announced plans to leave the Demon Deacons. Helms visited Mississippi State over the weekend and went from there to Texas A&M for a Sunday-Monday visit. Helms also has official visits set with USC for Friday and Penn State for Jan. 30. He is not sure if he will take a fifth visit. Helms said he’s in regular contact with Gamecocks offensive line coach Shawn Elliott. “We keep in touch pretty much every day. He wants me up there and he’s recruiting me pretty hard right now.” Helms said Elliott plans to visit him this week after he returns from Texas A&M and before his visit to USC.
DB Rashad Fenton (6-0, 180) of Miami is scheduled to visit USC this weekend. He was at Florida over the weekend and will visit Louisville on Jan. 30. He’s also considering Auburn. He doesn’t have a favorite going into his visits. This season, Fenton had 50 tackles, five interceptions and returned six punts and kicks for touchdowns.
Florida Atlantic commitment DB Gerald Robinson Jr. (5-10, 175) of Hialeah, Fla., was offered by USC and he will visit this weekend. He is scheduled to visit FAU the following weekend. “I’m actually thinking about FAU and South Carolina, so I just want to wait and pick out of those two,” Robinson said. “No other schools are really talked to me, so that’s the final two right there.” Robinson said USC secondary coach Brown has been recruiting him since his junior year. “They had a few decommitments and he told me that they needed me to come in and play right away. He said I can play everywhere, multiple positions on their defense, and play wherever they need me. That’s what they need to bring in to their game.” Robinson said he would be ready for anything the defensive staff threw at him. “Press coverage and cover three, I’ve been playing that in high school. And man, I can adjust to that fast because that’s what I had to play all day in high school.” This season, Robinson had 30 tackles with two interceptions and three forced fumbles.
USC commitment DB Damon Arnette of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., visited Michigan over the weekend and DE commitment Quandeski Whitlow visited Louisville. Formerly committed DE Arden Key went to LSU. All three are scheduled to visit USC this coming weekend.
Arnette said he had a good visit to Michigan, but his commitment to USC remains in place.
Whitlow has been committed to the Gamecocks since June. “If I feel like something gets comfortable to me, I’ll have to balance it all out,” he said. “I won’t know until I take my visits. Florida is coming after me hard. I’ve talked to the coaches and they said they need some ‘Bama boys. I will take the visits and get more into the schools and see if it’s somewhere I can call home for the next three or four years.” Spurrier has an in-home scheduled for Thursday.
Key has decommitted from the Gamecocks twice but recently tweeted that they are still No. 1 on his list. He plans to visit USC, Miami, Georgia and Auburn before making his final decision, which he will announce on Next Class on Fox Sports South on Feb. 2. “My decision did not have anything to do with coaches or how the season went,” Key said in an appearance on the show last week. “It’s just something that it’s getting closer to signing day and I want to make sure I make the right decision.” Key said USC remains strong with him for the same reasons he originally committed to the program. “The atmosphere on game day is crazy,” he said. “I’ve built a great relationship with coach Ward and coach Adams. Not Spurrier too much, the main people. The fans there, they have a great fan base.” Key added that Florida is also in the mix with him. And he said these upcoming official visits will be very important. “I’m not sure where I want to go right now,” he said. “I’m not 100 percent nowhere.”
DB Maurice Smitherman of Adamsville, Ala., said Sunday he’s 100 percent with his commitment to Mississippi State. He canceled a visit for this weekend to Texas Tech and won’t visit USC the end of the month. Smitherman said he talked with USC recruiter Brown late in the week and told him his heart was with the Bulldogs. Brown was going to make an in home visit with Smitherman but that didn’t happen after that conversation.
Clemson secondary coach Mike Reed was in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Thursday to meet with DB Kareem Orr. Reed would love to land a commitment from Orr, but first he’s got to convince him to take an official visit. Orr hasn’t decided to do that yet. “He emphasized how much he needed me to come down there,” Orr said. “He said I can be an impact player like Mackensie Alexander.” Orr has visited Oklahoma and will visit Arizona State. This week, he’ll decide between Clemson and Mississippi State for a visit on Friday, and between Ohio State and Georgia for a visit Jan. 30. “It will come down to a family decision,” he said of deciding between the Tigers and Bulldogs. “It’s even. They’re both telling me the same stuff.” Orr said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney plans to visit him this week.
WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside of Dorman visited Stanford over the weekend and said afterwards, “I am 100 percent going to Stanford.” Arcega-Whiteside had to wait until the visit to find out for sure he was being accepted into Stanford.
LB Jonathon Sutton of Swansea made his official visit to North Carolina over the weekend. He remains firmly committed to the Tar Heels despite the changes on the defensive staff. And Swansea WR Craig Johnson committed to Charleston Southern over the weekend while on an official visit.
WR Tavin Richardson of Byrnes did not take his scheduled visit to Louisville over the weekend. He is scheduled to visit Kentucky this coming weekend. He’s also visited Nebraska and Central Florida. Richardson plans to announce his decision Jan. 30.
LB Hassan Belton of Blythewood was scheduled to visit Tennessee State over the weekend. He has also been to Towson and is scheduled to visit Missouri this coming weekend.
Shrine Bowl DL Paul McKiever (6-4, 275) of Batesburg-Leesville is looking primarily at Georgia Southern and Georgia Military JC. He is scheduled for an official visit to Georgia Southern on Jan. 30. McKiever plans to reach out to USC about going to junior college and then transferring. He feels going the junior college route may be best for him. He also has offers from Wake Forest, Appalachian State, S.C. State and Newberry. This season, McKiever had 104 tackles and four sacks.
Shrine Bowl DB Cedarius Rookard of Spartanburg committed to Troy.
PK Brady Cormier of Beaufort committed to The Citadel with a scholarship offer and backed off a plan to walk-on at USC.
DB Seth Nichols of Hillcrest, DE Wyatt Rogers of Dorman and DB Jackson Tipton of Greer committed to Union College in Kentucky, where former Newberry coach Zak Willis is the head coach.
USC Thursday offered junior WR Josh Imatorbhebhe (6-2, 202) of Suwanee, Ga. Among his other offers are Ohio State, Florida, Michigan and Michigan State.
Clemson offered junior OL Will Fries from Cranford, NJ.
N.C. State offered junior LB TJ Brunson of Richland Northeast, and USC is showing strong interest.
USC and Florida State offered 2017 WR OrTre Smith of Wando, and Clemson offered 2017 LB Justin Foster of Shelby, N.C.