Offensive lineman Cory Helms, a 6-4, 305-pound sophomore at Wake Forest, made an official visit to South Carolina over the weekend and needed a little bit of time on the drive home to realize what he saw in the rear-view mirror is where he wanted to be. After talking with his family, Helms called USC on Sunday afternoon and committed to the Gamecocks.
“I had a really good feeling today and wanted to talk to my family and stuff before I made it official,” Helms said. “I have a really good relationship with the players I was around and the recruits who were there.”
Helms also considered Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Penn State after deciding to transfer from Wake Forest, where he was a freshman All-American center in 2013. Last season, he played some guard along with center for the Deacons, but the Gamecocks like him as a center.
Ordinarily as a transfer, Helms would have to sit out the 2015 season. That might still be the case, though he said he and USC will make an appeal to the NCAA for immediate eligibility.
“I’m moving back closer to home because I live with a sick grandmother,” he said. “That’s a big reason I’m coming here to be able to come back and help my grandmother.” Helms said he’s planning to enroll at USC for the Maymester academic session. He gives the Gamecocks 30 newcomers for 2015 and he’s the fourth offensive lineman for the class.
Offensive lineman Trey Derouen of Lilburn, Ga., made his official visit to USC over the weekend, and while he did not make a commitment, he appears to be the Gamecocks’ to lose at this point.
“Great place to be at and I can see myself playing there,” Derouen said. Derouen has also visited Louisville and will visit Kansas State this week. Asked if he had a leader after the USC visit, Derouen said “Gamecocks” and confirmed that it was a large lead. The Gamecocks are recruiting Derouen as a guard.
In other recruiting news:
USC commitment Christian Pellage, also an offensive lineman, made his official visit over the weekend. He said he is deciding between the Gamecocks and Florida and may not have a final decision until Signing Day. He has also visited Florida.
Defensive end Arden Key of Atlanta, twice a USC commitment but currently uncommitted, made his official visit over the weekend. He left Columbia uncommitted and apparently no closer to a final decision.
“I enjoyed the visit but it wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen before,” Key said. “I got some questions answered. We were told no coaches are leaving and they are going to add coaches.”
Key said he will visit Auburn this weekend. He has also been to LSU and Miami. He plans to announce his decision Feb. 2 on Fox Sports South.
USC commitment defensive end Quandeski Whitlow of Opelika, Ala., said after his official visit with the Gamecocks over the weekend he is fully committed and is shutting down his recruiting. He was scheduled to visit Florida this coming weekend but won’t make that visit. He also visited Louisville. “Everything went great,” he said. “My mom, dad and brother had fun with all the coaches. The coaches love my family. It’s over with me. The relationship I built with coach (Deke) Adams and coach (Steve) Spurrier, it felt comfortable for me and my family.”
USC commitment DB Damon Arnette of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., made his official visit over the weekend and remains committed. He has also visited Michigan and plans to visit Ohio State this coming weekend before finalizing a decision.
DB Rashad Fenton of Miami made an official visit to USC over the weekend. He’s also been to Florida and will go to Auburn this coming weekend. Fenton has had interest in the Gamecocks for some time. “They gave me an offer during the spring, so there’s a lot of interest between me and coach (Grady) Brown.” Fenton said he doesn’t have a favorite and will wait until Signing Day to announce a decision.
USC offensive line coach Shawn Elliott met last week with Cal commitment OL Nick Buchanan of Dunwoody, Ga., trying to land an official visit. Buchanan said he is interested in the Gamecocks, but he’s not sure yet about a visit. “Main thing I got from Coach Elliot was a really genuine feel,” Buchanan said. “That left a very good impression on me.” Buchanan also picked up a recent offer from Penn State. He visited Georgia over the weekend. California has been the only other official visit he’s taken thus far, and he has said his commitment to the Golden Bears remains in place.
OL Sam Madden of Barnegat, N.J., committed to Georgia on Sunday at the conclusion of his official visit. Madden is a former Wisconsin commitment. USC also made a strong play for him and he was scheduled to make an official visit with the Gamecocks this coming weekend. His father said they are finished and will not make the USC visit.
OL Blake Camper of Virginia Beach, Va., committed to USC last week after decommitting from Rutgers. Camper made an official visit to USC and that was all he needed to see. Camper is 6-7, 280, and is penciled in as a tackle. He thinks he has the skills to eventually earn a spot on the line, skills he had to develop as a smallish 230-pound lineman two years ago.
Shrine Bowl OL Dennis Daley (6-6, 290) of Ridge View announced a commitment to USC last week but won’t be part of the Gamecocks’ program before January of 2017. Daley intends to play the next two seasons at Georgia Military JC before joining the Gamecocks. The Gamecocks have mined Bert William’s Bulldogs for years and have one 2015 commitment from GMC in DE Devante Covington and one for 2016 in DE/TE Kalan Ritchie.
As for Covington, Williams said he’s put on a little more weight and is pushing 240 pounds. He is on track to get out in the spring. And he said Ritchie remains firmly committed to the Gamecocks for the 2016 class and is on track to come out in December.
Williams said the Gamecocks are also showing interest in rising sophomore OL Akeem Cooperwood (6-7. 325) of Knoxville, Tenn. He was a second team All-American last season. “Good player, started at left tackle for us,” he said. “They have an interest in him. He may get out (this spring) and go to a couple of places. South Carolina is one of them.” Georgia Military annually is one of the top junior college programs in the country and won the 2013 national championship.
Clemson’s only official visits over the weekend were from committed players WR Deon Cain of Tampa, Fla., and DL Gage Cervenka of Emerald. Committed WR Ray Ray McCloud also was in for an unofficial visit.
Last week, the Tigers landed another marquee recruit in former USC commitment DB Mark Fields Jr. of Cornelius, N.C. “Clemson just offers everything that I want as far as academics, athletics and me accomplishing what I want to get done in three to four years,” Fields said. “I just felt like it was a perfect fit and a chance for me to grow as a football player and an individual. I just wanted to make it happen.” Fields made several visits to Clemson during the recruiting process and his official visit sealed in his mind all he needed to know to make his decision. “I committed to Clemson because Clemson has everything that I want,” Fields said. “The visit just reinforced everything that I already knew and that Clemson is the place that I wanted to be. They are offering me everything that I want to be able to accomplish and get done, so I just said why not just go ahead and make it happen and just end it.” Fields is the 25th newcomer for the Clemson program and the fourth for the secondary.
DB Gerald Robinson Jr. of Hialeah, Fla., talked to USC about an official visit this past weekend, but it was not scheduled and he might visit this weekend. Robinson remains committed to Florida Atlantic at this point and is only talking with the Owls and the Gamecocks.
Shrine Bowl LB Hassan Belton of Blythewood has picked up recent interest from USC. Belton said the Gamecocks starting talking with him after the Shrine Bowl. They haven’t offered but they have invited him to visit for their junior day this weekend, and Belton said he will go.
Former USC commitment RB Joe Blue of Dillon made an official visit to Newberry over the weekend.
Shrine Bowl QB Marquane Goodman of West Florence committed to S.C. State over the weekend while on his official visit. He had been committed to North Carolina Central. The Bulldogs also picked up a commitment from WR Kanyon Tuttle of Charlotte, the son of former Clemson All American receiver Perry Tuttle. And LB Johnell Brown of Timberland committed to the Bulldogs.
Shrine Bowlers WR Er’Ieon Hayes of Dillon and OL Shaq Crouch of Johnsonville took official visits to S.C. State over the weekend.