On the recruiting trail, the verdict sometimes lies in the eyes of the beholder.
So far for the 2012 class, Clemson has won the head-to-head battles. And the Tigers also figure to be in the lead for a few of the state's top uncommitted prospects.
CUTigers.com takes a look at the head-to-head recruiting battles between Clemson and South Carolina have fought below:
All prospects are listed as commitments. Affiliations are not official until signing day 2012.
South Carolina has secured the verbal commitment of the state's top prospect (Shaq Roland - pictured) above, but Clemson has picked up three of the top four. (Scout.com)
Clemson wanted Roland, as did every other school in the southeast- pretty bad. Anytime defensive backs coach Charlie Harbison could visit Lexington High School, he did. But it would have been an absolute coup if the Tigers had been able to pull the state's only five-star away from the local team. There was a time when he considered the Tigers, but it was not for very long. It was only a matter of time until he made his commitment to South Carolina. Sure enough, he pulled the trigger last week.
2. OG Patrick Destefano - Clemson
Throughout the winter/spring of 2011, plenty of rumors were floated to CUTigers.com that DeSteafano was a silent commitment to Clemson. Speculation that he was Clemson bound came to fruition when DeStefano made the pledge in May. At the time of his announcement for the Tigers at Dorman High School, no one was surprised.
3. DE Martin Aiken - Clemson
Some folks would tell you that Aiken's decision between Clemson and South Carolina wasn't made until a few days before his late June announcement at Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School. Though Aiken didn't notify Clemson coaches until a few days before the announcement, it was a forgone conclusion for weeks (if not months) that Aiken was headed to Clemson.
4. S Ronald Geohaghan - Clemson
CUTigers.com learned in May that Geohaghan nearly committed to Clemson while in town for an unofficial visit earlier in the year. With the Allendale to Clemson connection in mind--and the fact that his father coached former Clemson players Woody Dantzler and Jackie Robison--the Tigers were long considered the team to beat for Geohaghan.
Javarius Leamon was once considered a heavy lean to South Carolina. A three-day camp stay in Clemson June changed that sentiment. (Scout.com)
There was a time when it was only a Clemson/Carolina battle for Tankersley, who's listed on Scout.com as a four-star wide receiver. Though he maintained an open status to his favorite, many considered Tankersley a Clemson lean. The Tigers had an advantage working in their favor. His older brother signed to play baseball at Southern Wesleyan.
11. OT Javarius Leamon - Clemson
This was the most tightly contested battle--more so than those for any of the five prospects listed above. Leamon was once considered a heavy lean to South Carolina. A three-day camp stay in Clemson June changed that sentiment. Shortly thereafter, Leamon told CUTigers.com that the visit initiated a change. He was back in Tigertown with his parents nearly a week after camp. A commitment was made about a month later.
NR OT Mason Zandi - South Carolina
Clemson made the first move on Zandi, who entered the summer recruiting scene as an under the radar prospect. The Tigers moved in with a greyshirt offer in June. South Carolina soon stepped up with a full offer about a week after Clemson's first move. The Tigers then upped the ante with a full offer. The Columbia-area product made his commitment to the Gamecocks on July 1.
The commitments listed below were not heavily recruited by the rival school.
T.J. Burrell has been a regular visitor to Clemson over the last year. (Scout.com)
17. OLB T.J. Burrell - While Burrell listed an offer from South Carolina, but there's question as to how serious the Gamecocks were about acquiring him. Regardless, he was a regular at Clemson games last fall and was long considered a Tiger lean.
25. DE Shaquille Lawson - It's rare that schools come into Clemson's backyard and take prospects out of Daniel High School who are targeted by the Tigers. South Carolina never offered Lawson. Most schools shied away from the defensive end because of the assumed affinity for Clemson. He was a Tiger commitment shortly after receiving an offer.
Despite a reported offer, Clemson never stepped forward with one for Dillon WR Kwinton Smith. (Scout.com)
19. RB Kendric Salley - Having grown up right around the corner from South Carolina, the Gamecocks were heavy favorites from day one. Clemson never moved forward with an offer.
As the date of publication, the following prospects are uncommitted, but have previously been offered by both schools.
7. WR Quinshad Davis - Gaffney - As noted above, Clemson is done at wide receiver. And South Carolina may also be finished with three wide receiver commitments last week.
Clemson and South Carolina have both offered Nation Ford ATH Jay Jay McCullough, but the Tigers came through first. (Scout.com)
13. OT Oliver Jones - Ninety Six - Most believe that Jones is Clemson bound, though he did not claim an order of favorites in his most recent interview with CUTigers.com. Unless Georgia and/or Alabama come forward with an offer, Clemson could still be the team to beat.
14. TE Jay Jay McCullough - Nation Ford - McCullough has no public favorite. Clemson and South Carolina have both offered, but the Tigers came through first. He's visited both schools this summer, and while South Carolina is a short trip down I-77 from McCullough's home in Fort Mill, Clemson appears to have the early advantage here.