There were dozens of major football prospects on the South Carolina and Clemson campuses last week for camps. The Gamecocks picked up a pair of commitments with one more possibly on the horizon, and both programs continued to hand out offers for the next few classes.
The Gamecocks landed 2016 DB JJ Givens (6-2, 170) of Mechanicsville, Va., and 2017 TE Will Register (6-4, 230) of Chapin on Saturday, and they are close on adding 2016 OL Will Putnam (6-5, 270) of Harrisburg, NC.
“I feel like I can come here and have an instant impact playing DB, especially at the corner position because I’m long, lanky and versatile,” Givens said. “I definitely feel like I can bring what South Carolina needs to be pushed over the hump.”
Givens said he was also seriously considering Penn State, Arizona State, Michigan, Michigan State, Wake Forest and Mississippi. He called his commitment “a 100 percent commitment.” Last season, Givens had 34 tackles and four interceptions.
Register went to Clemson camp earlier last week and was offered by the Tigers. But growing up a Gamecocks fan, all it took was the offer on Friday to seal his decision.
“I’ve grown up here all around Gamecock football, so I’m very happy with my decision and I feel like it’s definitely the right one for me. I’ve always wanted to be a Gamecock football player, and now I’ve got an opportunity — I’m definitely excited.”
Last season, Register had 18 catches for 262 yards and two touchdowns.
Putnam was at Saturday’s camp at USC. The Gamecocks were his only Power 5 Conference offer until Virginia Tech offered last week. And he’s going to North Carolina for a recruiting event this Friday, so he has a little more think about. But he said Sunday that USC is his clear favorite. He’d liked to revisit USC and Virginia Tech this week if possible, or at the least, have a lengthy phone call with his recruiters. He said if North Carolina does not offer, he will make his commitment on Sunday.
In other recruiting news:
Charlotte 2017 OL Eric Douglas II attended USC’s camp Saturday and picked up his first offer from the Gamecocks. Douglas was blown away by the offer, and that led to speculation by some close to him and in the media that he would commit soon to USC. But a Sunday afternoon offer from Clemson changed all that. Douglas attended Clemson’s camp Sunday morning. He had also been to Clemson for a junior day earlier in the year. The Tigers finally called with his second offer Sunday afternoon and now Douglas plans to let things play out a little while before making a decision.
“They are my top two favorite schools,” Douglas said. “I will have to make more visits before I commit because whenever I do, I won’t decommit. South Carolina is No. 1, but Clemson is a close second.”
Douglas’ 2017 teammate OL TJ Moore also attended USC’s camp Saturday and was offered. He had a great experience and likes the Gamecocks but has Michigan as his current favorite. Douglas and Moore plan to visit North Carolina on Friday and N.C. State on Saturday.
Among the visitors grabbing the attention of USC coach Steve Spurrier at the Gamecock Showcase Saturday was DB/WR Tre Jackson (5-10, 178) of Baton Rouge, La. His father and grandfather played at Florida. Jackson did not work out, but Spurrier and his staff had enough information on him to make him an offer. Spurrier likes Jackson as a receiver but won’t keep him away from the defense if he decides to join the Gamecocks. “Coach Spurrier said he wants me to play receiver, but when I get here, it’s my decision,” Jackson said. “It was a real good experience. It was my first time being out here and I had a real good impression of the campus, academics, all the new facilities they are building and getting a good relationship with the coaching staff. They are probably one of my top schools right now.” Jackson also has camped at TCU. He also wants to visit North Carolina and Oklahoma this summer. He’s looking at making his decision the end of summer or around the start of football season. He said there’s a 90 percent likelihood he will take an official visit to USC this fall. He’s not as sure on any other official visits at this point.
DE Jordan Smith (6-5, 220) of Lithonia, Ga., paid a visit to USC on Friday and Saturday for the Gamecock Showcase. He did not participate in camp events and spent his time observing and checking out the program. Smith said USC was his first visit of the of the month and he currently has no other visits or camps planned. He said he plans to make a commitment before his season and he has a clear leader. “Right now Clemson is leading,” he said. “I like the coaching staff and the players, the facilities. I’m just a Clemson fan.” Smith did not identify a second place team but said USC was “high up” with him. Some of his other offers include Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Ohio State, Kentucky, N.C. State, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Alabama, Florida State, Penn State and Notre Dame. Last season, Smith had 71 tackles with 18.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.
One of USC’s top defensive targets, DB Marlon Character, did make it to USC this weekend, but he plans to visit this Saturday. Character has not been to any camps this month to this point. He also plans to visit Virginia Tech. Right now he has the Gamecocks and Hokies as his top two. “South Carolina is definitely offering the best choice of positions for me,” said Character, who doesn’t plan on making a decision for a couple of months.
USC offered WR Kelvin Harmon (6-3, 190) of Palmyra, N.J., during camp Friday. He also has offers from N.C. State, North Carolina, Boston College, Syracuse, Rutgers, West Virginia and others. Harmon had been to USC twice before and was waiting to come to camp to land his offer. “They liked my quickness and how I’m quick for my size. I get the ball and run by people. I’m very interested in them. I’m thinking about my top six, and they will be one it.” Harmon left Columbia for a camp at N.C. State on Saturday. He said he will take official visits this fall before making his decision.
RB Cade Carney (6-0, 200) of Davidson, N.C., attended USC’s Showcase Camp Saturday but did not get an offer. He has rushed for 3,800 yards and 43 touchdowns in his career. He has offers from Georgia Tech, North Carolina, N.C. State and Wake Forest.
USC offered RB Jordon Brown (5-10 190) of Durham, N.C., Friday following his camp workout. Some of his other offers include N.C. State, North Carolina, West Virginia, Wake Forest, Oklahoma State, Boston College and Appalachian State. “Coach Sands talked about how I had a great skill set and it’s something they can really use at USC. He would like to see me gain some more weight. That was a pretty good big offer. It’s an SEC school, so that’s big. I don’t have a list and haven’t narrowed down my options.” Brown said Sands wants him to return for another visit. He said he will try to make it to West Virginia at some point. He wants to make his decision before the season and is on track to graduate early but is not sure if he will. Last season, Brown rushed for 950 yards and had 550 yards receiving along with 26 total touchdowns.
OL Jordan Johnson of Jacksonville worked out at USC’s camp Friday and said he had a great time. He went to Florida State on Saturday and is headed to Florida on Monday. He also is planning to camp at Georgia Tech. Johnson also visited USC for the spring game. He was offered by Virginia Tech last week and has nearly 20 offers. Johnson said he has no favorites, but he said USC is recruiting him the hardest.
LB Jeremiah Moon (6-4, 206) of Hoover, Ala., was at USC’s camp Saturday. He also visited USC for the junior day in January. “They definitely are up there on my list,” Moon said. “I’ve built a great relationship with Coach Botkin. He sees me getting bigger and being able to play the Will spot like I do at Hoover. He thinks I’ll be a good fit for their scheme.” Moon has offers from USC, Mississippi State, Minnesota, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Mississippi, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Louisville and Georgia Southern. He’s also getting interest from Alabama and Auburn. “I’m very open right now, but I’ll wind it down after I see how the Florida camp goes,” said Moon, who will camp at Florida later this month. He also was at Mississippi State Sunday.
LB Kash Daniel of Paintsville, Ky., camped at USC on Saturday. He has the Gamecocks, Louisville, Kentucky and Florida as his final four. He has moved his announcement up from Aug. 13 to July 4.
OL Landon Dickerson (6-5, 295) of Hudson, N.C., has a top three of USC, Virginia Tech and Tennessee. He was at USC’s camp Friday and the Gamecocks remain firmly in the mix. “I’m wide open right now, it’s kind of up in the air. No one has stuck out as a frontrunner, at least not yet.” Dickerson won’t make a decision until after he takes some official visits this season, and then he could take some more visits after he makes a pledge. Florida State and Auburn are also making a push for him.
USC RB commit C.J. Freeman of Greensboro, N.C., did not make it to the Gamecock Showcase camp because of some family plans. Freeman said he remains committed to the Gamecocks.
WR Brad Hawkins Jr. of Camden, N.J., said after USC camp Saturday that USC and Michigan are tied at the top for him.
OL Luke Elder of LaGrange, Ga., said after USC camp that USC and North Carolina are his top two at this point.
2017 RB Wesley Kennedy of Savannah attended USC’s camp Friday morning and reported a 4.45 in the 40.
2018 WR Zion Keith of Wilson was at USC’s camp Friday.
2018 DB Donavan Barnes of Savannah participated in USC’s camp Friday and reported pulling in seven interceptions.
Other USC offers last week: 2016 WR Calvin Ridley, DB James Pierre and DB Aaron Robinson of Deerfield Beach, Fla; 2017 WR Jerry Jeudy of Deerfield Beach, Fla.; 2017 WR Trey Blount of Powder Springs, GA; 2017 DL Dalyn Wade-Perry of Sparta, N.J.; 2017 OL Noah DeHond of Hightstown, NJ; and 2018 DL Josh Belk (6-3, 320) of Lewisville. LSU also offered Belk last week.
OL John Simpson of Fort Dorchester did not make it to USC for Friday’s camp because of academic work he is taking to get ahead on his senior year. Simpson camped at Clemson for three days earlier in the week. “I had a good learning experience,” he said. “Nothing has really changed (with Clemson). I’ve already seen everything.” He said he will visit USC sometime this summer. “I wouldn’t say they were upset that I wasn’t able to make it,” Simpson said of the Gamecocks coaches. “I’m going to eventually be there for a visit.” Simpson does not have any other camp visits set at this point, but he wants to get to Florida, LSU, Tennessee and Georgia. He does plan to return to Clemson for the All-In Cookout in July. Simpson has Clemson No. 1 on his list with Alabama second and USC third.
Former USC commitment WR Kyle Davis of Decatur, Ga., did not make it in for the Showcase Camp.
OL Akeem Cooperwood did not make it to USC on Saturday. He said Shawn Elliott wants him to camp in July.
LB Kenneth Ruff of Ft. Lauderdale did attend USC’s Showcase Camp this Saturday, but that doesn’t mean his feelings for the Gamecocks have changed. “South Carolina right now is my leader,” Ruff said. “That will be my first official visit in September. They have a huge advantage. I’m pretty open as far as recruiting goes right now, but they are definitely my leader. They stand out.” Ruff said he does plan to visit USC soon. He was at Florida State for a camp last week. As for other official visits this fall, Ruff said he’s looking at N.C. State and possibly Alabama and Mississippi State. Ruff said Illinois is his newest offer. Some of his others include Clemson, North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Marshall and Temple.
USC offered DB Devron Davis (6-0, 210) of Merced JC (Calif.) and quickly moved into a position of recruiting strength with the native of Miami. “Coach Spurrier is one of the best coaches in the county, so I’d like to play for South Carolina. They like my physicalness, speed and size, and they like what I do in the return game and how I look with the ball in my hands.” Some of his other offers are Louisville, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Colorado State, Middle Tennessee State, Arkansas State, Utah and Washington State. He had an official visit scheduled for this past weekend at Colorado State. Davis also wants to take officials to USC, West Virginia, LSU and Florida. The Tigers and Gators haven’t offered yet but he feels they will. Davis will be looking for where he can play right away and he wants to make his decision before the season. He will have three years to play two. In nine games last season, Davis had 33 tackles and three interceptions. He also averaged 19 yards per kickoff return and 14 yards per punt return.
OL Chandler Reeves (6-6, 260) of McDonough, Ga., went to Clemson’s camp Wednesday and left with a Tigers offer. And Clemson is now in a two-way battle with Georgia Tech for the offensive tackle. Reeves said it’s 50-50 between the two ACC rivals right now. “Clemson and Georgia Tech are my two right now,” he said. “I wouldn’t say necessarily one is out ahead of the other. I definitely have this huge interest in both of them. I think there are things that stick out for me at Clemson and there’s things that stick out for me at Georgia Tech.” Reeves was back at Clemson on Saturday with his parents and is taking them to Tech on Monday. He plans to make a decision later in the summer.
2017 WR James Robinson of Lakeland, Fla., camped at Clemson over the weekend and told 247Sports he now favors the Tigers. Ohio State, Florida and Tennessee also are strongly in the mix for him.
Clemson’s top remaining 2016 WR target Diondre Overton of Greensboro, N.C., took in all three days of Clemson’s weekend camp. The Tigers remains strong with him along with Tennessee and N.C. State. He plans to go to North Carolina this weekend.
DE Antonneous Clayton of Vienna, Ga., was at Clemson on Sunday. He’s a national recruit with offers from across the country for the 2016 class.
Clemson offered 2017 QB Chase Brice of Grayson, Ga., Saturday at camp. Some of his other offers are California, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Kentucky. The Tigers also offered 2017 QB Kellen Mond of San Antonio and 2018 QB Trevor Lawrence of Cartersville, Ga.
More Clemson offers last week: 2017 DE Yetur Metos of Fredericksburg, Va; 2017 DB Baylon Spector of Calhoun, Ga.; 2017 DB/QB Stu Head of Woodstock, Ga.; 2017 DB Jacobe Clement of Charlotte; 2018 ATH Deion Kendrick of South Pointe; 2018 ATH Kereon Joyner of Fort Dorchester; 2018 OL Jamaree Salyer of Atlanta; 2018 DE Xavier Thomas of Wilson; 2018 LB Jake Venables of Daniel. 2018 DB Derrik Allen of Marietta, Ga; 2018 DL Josh Belk of Lewisville.
Carrollton, Ga., duo DE Michael Boykin (2016) and DL Josh Walker (2018) were at Clemson on Friday.
2017 QB Bailey Hockman of Powder Springs, Ga., who was drawing USC interest, committed to Georgia on Friday.
DB Kyle Meyers of New Orleans was offered Thursday by Florida State at camp and committed to the Seminoles. He had picked up a Clemson offer earlier in the week at camp.
OL Will Fries of Cranford, N.J., committed to Penn State. USC and Clemson also offered.
USC target OL Jakori Savage of Bay Minette, Ala., was offered by LSU at camp Tuesday and committed.
DL Naquan Jones of Evanston, Ill., committed to Michigan State over USC and Florida. He still plans to take officials.
USC RB target Tre Turner of New Orleans committed to Arizona State.
Richland Northeast LB T.J. Brunson had wanted to commit to USC earlier this year, but the Gamecocks held him off because they want to see how he looks this season after having hip surgery. Now, Brunson has wiped the slate clean and is moving on, realizing USC may not be in his future. He has other offers from Louisville, N.C. State, North Carolina, East Carolina, Georgia Southern and Appalachian State. And Michigan and Kentucky are also showing a lot of interest and want to see him in camp before offering. Brunson said he will go to Michigan, Auburn, Louisville and Kentucky for camps. Brunson said he talks with USC linebacker coach Kirk Botkin about every day and Steve Spurrier Jr. about every two weeks and nothing has changed from USC’s position. “I’m not excluding anyone, but I’m moving on,” Brunson said. “Louisville and Kentucky are my choices. I understand it was a business decision, but I don’t want to stay in-state at all now. I’m not burning any bridges with anyone. I still like the staff and what they have to offer, but I’m looking at other programs now.’
USC target 6-2 Charlotte transfer Keyshawn Woods committed to Wake Forest on Tuesday.
As it turns out, 6-9 Eric Cobb of Jacksonville did sign a letter of intent with USC after he announced his commitment May 18. He and his coach just didn’t make that public until Sunday. Coach Nick Myles confirmed today that Cobb, indeed, signed a LOI with the Gamecocks before the May 20 deadline, so he is firmly locked in with USC from that standpoint. But there is still the question of Cobb qualifying with a high enough text score. “He took the SAT Saturday and he graduated Sunday,” Myles said. “He needs 20 more points. We had him in prep classes all year. I can’t see him coming up short. His plan is to enroll in the second session of summer school (June 29).” Another USC recruit, 6-11 Travon Bunch, did not sign a LOI after he committed. He, too, took the SAT Saturday, and like Cobb, should get the score back on or around June 26.
6-6 Clemson target De’Riante Jenkins of Orlando, Fla., was offered by Wake Forest.
Clemson offered 2016 6-10 Sedee Keita of Greenville.
USC baseball coach Chad Holbrook is hitting up the junior college ranks with zest in his efforts to quickly return the Gamecocks to postseason play. On Saturday, the Gamecocks landed a commitment from RHP Colton Provey (6-3, 185) of Walters State JC (Tenn.). He’s a teammate of Gamecocks 1B commit Ross Grosvenor and is the fourth junior college player to commit in this class. Provey pitched out of the bullpen last season. In 27 appearances, all in relief, he had a 6-1 record with a 2.42 ERA and 10 saves. He struck out 62 in 482/3 innings. The Gamecocks now have 16 pledges for the 2015 class, not including the two commitments who were drafted earlier this week and plan to sign.