What We Are Hearing…Shrine Bowl

Some can't miss tidbits that we've picked up this week during Shrine Bowl preparations. Included are some priceless comments from a South Carolina verbal commitment, a few odds and ends on the recruiting front, including a "recruiting lock," and some general scoop you can't get anywhere else!

Top DL recruit long term?
In speaking with some of the coaches from the South Carolina squad, one name seemed to come up many more times that what we would have though heading into the week. It was none other than Matt Raysor- the current verbal commitment to the South Carolina Gamecocks.

"Raysor will be the best defensive lineman long term with the proper coaching," is something we heard early and often from many of the Sandlapper coaches.

Of course, it's been widely reported the last month or so that Raysor has been giving serious consideration to Clemson, despite his verbal commitment to South Carolina.

But here is a new piece of information circulating the practice fields: Allendale-Fairfax LB Courtney Vincent told us earlier in the week that Matt Raysor was coming to Clemson.

In fact, he re-confirmed that very statement later on, saying again, "Matt is coming to Clemson."

These things tend to happen during the week leading up to a big all-star game. We'll have more from Raysor himself in the very near future.

Best looking recruit
No, we don't mean which guy gets the most looks from the cheerleaders, we mean who looks like the best player with the most collegiate potential on the football field. Hands down, it's Wilson LB Lawrence Timmons. Speed, athleticism, strength- this kid has it all and he's got the top schools in the south banging down his door.

In an interview with CUTigers.com walking off the practice fields this week, Timmons suggested that he will likely scratch his Maryland visit at the end of January and replace the Terps with Clemson. While the visit to Tiger Town has not yet been finalized, Timmons will either set that final visit in stone with Clemson after Christmas, or continue with his plans to visit College Park.

The bottom line here- we'll know for sure one way or another about Timmons and his potential visit to Clemson within the next 14 days.

Another Holtz Recruiting Coup...Priceless!
We all remember the recruits that signed with South Carolina earlier this year talk about the fact that they would be competing for a national championship under current head coach Lou Holtz.

7 losses, 4 assistant coaches, and 46 points later, it appears as though there are still some folks out there buying into the old coach's propaganda.

Case in point: Jeremy Burgess, a South Carolina verbal commitment on the offensive line since early last summer, came up to one of our reporters this week and said, "I guess you know I'm going to South Carolina next year. We are going to win the national championship over the next four years."

Apparently, the Lou Holtz bug that infected part of the state before the start of the 2003 season still exists in some small, close-minded pockets. Needless to say, Burgess remains a firm South Carolina commitment.

Future Tiger?
Lake View RB Vernell Jones has been a "sleeper" prospect this year only because he figures to enter the JUCO ranks next year. But make no mistake, he wants to finish his college career at Clemson. Jones ran a legit 4.31 at Clemson camp last summer and has been the talk of the state since helping lead Lake View to the Class A State Championship game last weekend in Columbia.

The senior RB carried the ball 25 times for 117 yards and a touchdown in the 18-13 loss to Lamar and he finished his senior season with over 2,000 yards and 32 touchdowns. Every coach we spoke to this week says that he's the fastest player in the state this year.

"He's the fastest player to play in Williams-Brice Stadium this year," said one coach. Quite a compliment when you consider that half of the SEC was in Columbia this year running rampant over the Gamecocks.

The Lake View star still needs to work hard in the classroom to make the grade, he sure is a pleasure to talk to. Oh yeah, and in case you haven't heard it yet, Jones' nickname is "Tooty Boot."

Best player you haven't heard of?
Right now, we are hearing the best defensive lineman in practice this week for the South Carolina squad is Spartanburg's Landon Cohen (6-2, 244). Lohen has reportedly enjoyed an impressive week of practice and should see extensive action on Saturday.

Lambert Not Starting?
According to several coaches on Thursday, Greenville offensive tackle Cory Lambert probably won't start Saturday's Shrine Bowl. James Thompson and Leon Hart will likely start at the two tackle spots.

While this isn't etched in stone just yet, several coaches suggested that would likely be the way the Sandlappers start the Shrine Bowl on Saturday.

Recruiting Lock
Finally, we'll leave you with this.

This actually appears in a sneak peek of our "Recruiting Locks" section of the January issue of CUTigers The Magazine, when we go ahead and name Dorrel Scott as one of the prime candidates to wear orange in 2004.

After what we've learned this week, you can take it to the bank. See you in August, Dorrel. As you recall, Scott was the one that suggested to us earlier in the week that Sumter OL James Thompson was trying to recruit some of his teammates to South Carolina. Nothing we heard after that comment makes us believe anything different. Thompson will most likely be a Gamecock.

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