USC loses offensive lineman; Clemson closing in on tight end

Offensive lineman Shane Lemieux was torn between Oregon and South Carolina. Ultimately, his decision came down to geography.

Lemieux, who lives in Yakima, Wash., officially committed to Oregon over the weekend.

"It was just better for my family," said Lemieux, who had given the Gamecocks his unofficial pledge in March after making an unofficial visit. "Traveling away from my mom for college would be hard. Oregon also made it clear that I would compete for a starting spot my freshman year."

Lemieux's father, who lives in Lancaster, had always said his son's commitment to USC would not become official until he brought his mother out for a visit this summer. That visit won't happen now.

"I really respect him (USC recruiter Shawn Elliott) and the whole program," Lemieux said. "I just didn't want to move away from my mom. South Carolina and Oregon are both great schools. It's just the chance to play early and for a national championship next to my hometown."

Lemieux's deletion from the commitment list leaves the Gamecocks with seven for the 2015 class, with one offensive lineman in junior college transfer Paris Palmer.

Tight end Garrett Williams of Orlando, Fla., expects to announce his decision in the next few weeks prior to his spring game May 22.

"I'm just really praying about it a lot and seeing where God leads me," Williams said. "I'm talking with my parents and just praying a lot."

Williams has Clemson, Florida State, Auburn and Stanford as his final four with no leader.

"I've already been to Clemson several times and am familiar with their culture and how they do things," he said. "They're very much in the picture."

In other recruiting news:

Quarterback Lorenzo Nunez of Kennesaw, Ga., is pointing towards a decision in a couple of weeks during his spring practice and is considering USC, N.C. State, Ohio State, Tennessee and Miami as he works on making the final call. Nunez visited N.C. State late last month in what was his final visit before the decision.

He talks weekly with USC recruiter GA Mangus.

"The offense fits me right and I like the campus and the atmosphere," said Nunez, adding that he doesn't have a leader at this point among his final five but that N.C. State has recruited him the hardest. Nunez passed for 1,148 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 786 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

Wide receiver Nyqwan Murray of Orlando said he will name his top five following spring practice. Though he does not have a list just yet, he is sure of one thing - USC is his leader. Murray has not visited Columbia but plans to do so this summer.

"They have a great head coach," he said. "I like their team. They're always finishing at the top of the SEC and I think they're close to winning a championship."

Orangeburg-Wilkinson defensive lineman Albert Huggins is a must-see for recruiters during this spring evaluation period. Clemson's Marion Hobby and USC's Everette Sands were among the coaches to stop by recently to check in on Huggins.

"We don't talk much about football," Huggins said of those conversations. "We talk about family and how they are doing and what I've got to do this season."

Defensive back Mike Hughes of New Bern, N.C., is hearing a lot from USC right now and the Gamecocks have him highly interested. He's in touch with recruiter Deke Adams on a regular basis.

"He wants me to come visit," Hughes said. "He likes my film and seems like he wants me pretty bad. I think it's a great school. I saw a couple of their games last season. It's a place where I could see myself playing."

Running back Traveon Samuel of Phenix City, Ala., has USC among his top four at this point. Samuel has built a strong relationship with USC assistant Grady Brown and plans to visit Columbia this summer.

His offers include USC, Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Louisville and Duke. Samuel also plans to visit Florida State over the summer. His most recent trip was to Auburn.

USC and Clemson are firmly in the mix with wide receiver Darius Slayton of Norcross, Ga. They are in his top eight along with Georgia, Auburn, LSU, Ohio State, Alabama and Tennessee. Slayton said he's been hearing more from the Gamecocks than Clemson.

"I like South Carolina a lot," Slayton said. "Obviously, there's coach Spurrier and his offensive system. I like his style of ball. That's a good fit for me. Overall, his resume is impeccable."

Last season, Slayton had 33 catches for 940 yards and eight touchdowns. He also plays cornerback and had 14 tackles and one interception last season.

Defensive back Antonio Parks of Reserve, La., had considered committing to Clemson earlier this month but said the Tigers coaching staff wants him to visit first.

"They've had a couple guys commit and then decommit lately and they want me to be sure," Parks said. "They think I should come up for a visit and see it before I make a commitment." He has scheduled that visit for June 5. Parks named Clemson, Arizona and Arizona State as the three schools showing the most interest and will visit all three this summer.

USC and Maryland are "neck-and-neck" for offensive lineman Tommy Hatton of Montvale, N.J. The Gamecocks offered Hatton on April 14 and he will visit USC for the second time June 18.

"I just love South Carolina," he said. "Everything about it is great. It's beautiful down there and they have that stadium. Plus, they've been really good lately and just keep winning."

RayRay McCloud of Tampa, Fla., was able to visit both Clemson and USC during spring practice. He said that he remains interested in both.

"What stood out at Clemson was the coaches," said McCloud, who is listed as an athlete. "They put God first in everything. What stood out about South Carolina was the intensity of practice. I got to watch them practice and they go hard. That's why they're a great program."

Tight end Will Gragg of Pine Bluff, Ark., has over 30 offers including USC, Alabama, Auburn, Texas, Notre Dame, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Florida State, Oregon, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Tennessee, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. He's made several visits to schools within driving distance and plans to visit USC and others this summer.

Running back Ty'Son Williams of Crestwood listed five of his favorites last week as Clemson, USC, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Wisconsin.