Winning the In-State Recruiting War

Over the past few weeks the recruiting boards have been littered with threads discussing the in-state recruiting battle. Today I'd like to introduce my Dandy Dozen. These are the top 12 players in South Carolina that we will track to see how the Tigers and Gamecocks are doing with in-state prospects in 2003.

Introducing the Dandy Dozen:

Dandy Dozen
RankingRecruitVisitsBest ChanceCommitment
1Eric YoungClemson (1/10), SC (1/17)Open
2Demetris SummersSC (1/17), Clemson (1/24)SC
3Maurice NelsonClemson (1/10), SC (1/17)Clemson
4Syvelle NewtonClemson (1/10), SC (1/17)SC
5Noah WhitesideClemson (1/10), SC (1/17)SCSouth Carolina
6Marcus HowardClemson (1/10), SC (1/24)Clemson
7Rodney KinlawClemson (1/10), SC (1/20)Clemson
8Ryan BrownClemson (1/10), SC (1/17)SC
9Marion Dukes Clemson (1/10)ClemsonClemson
10Anthony McDanielClemson (1/10), SC (1/17)Clemson
11Terrell Allen Pittsburgh
12Sergio GilliamClemson (1/10)ClemsonClemson
Honorable
Mention
Tremaine Billie, Demetrius Morant, Tray Rogers, Jad Dean
Commit CountClemson - 2, SC - 1, Other - 1

As the Dandy Dozen shows this years recruiting battle is far from decided. It will be February 5 before bragging rights are determined. Truth be told both SC and Clemson will probably be very pleased with their in-state recruiting efforts.

There are different ways to analyze who is winning the in-state recruiting battle. Lets look at this battle by the number and by need.

By the Numbers
A quick look at this week's Dandy Dozen shows that only 4 of the top 12 players have already made verbal commitments. The Tigers lead the way with 2, South Carolina comes in with 1 and 1 has committed to Pittsburgh. At this point it looks like the Tigers have a good chance to sign anywhere from 2 to 7 of the Dandy Dozen. The Gamecocks have a good chance to sign anywhere from 1 to 5 of the Dandy Dozen. Although the Tigers have a bigger upside as far as number of recruits the Gamecocks has a chance to land 4 of the top 5.

By Need
Perhaps the best way to analyze the in-state recruiting battle is to look at how the teams are filling their needs. Let's look at how each team will do in terms of filling their needs with in-state recruits.

Clemson
The biggest need for the Tigers this year is on the offensive line. Clemson already has a commitment from Marion Dukes who is widely considered the 2nd best offensive lineman in the state. They are also very much in the mix with 5-star OL Eric Young. Big E is not only the best OL in the Palmetto State, but he's also one of the best in the country. With the Tigers having such a big need on the offensive line, many Tiger fans will not be satisfied with this years in-state class unless Big E is running down the hill next year.

On defense, it's obvious that Clemson is looking to find help at safety with this year's class. The Tigers would love to fill this need by signing 4-star prospect Maurice Nelson. Nelson is one of the top safety prospects in the country and the Tigers appear to have a very good chance of seeing him run down the hill with his brother Roosevelt next year. Clemson also has a commitment from Shrine Bowl star Sergio Gilliam, who some believe my play safety at the collegiate level. The senior out of Greer High School could also get a look at corner.

Another major defensive need for the Tigers is at linebacker. Fortunately, the Tigers could go a long way in meeting this need by signing Hanahan LB Marcus Howard or Berkeley LB Ryan Brown. Howard's 4.4 speed would fit nicely in Lovett's defense and it also helps that his brother, J.J. Howard currently plays defensive end for the Tigers. Georgia is pushing hard for Marcus but when February 5th comes it may be hard to say no to his heart and his family.

The Tigers will receive a visit on January 10 from Ryan Brown but most believe he will sign with South Carolina.

The Tigers will also need to add some quality defensive lineman with this year's class, and the good news is that Clemson appears to have a great chance at the best defensive lineman in the state Anthony McDaniel. McDaniel was a force at the Shrine Bowl and is currently ranked as a 3-star defensive lineman by TheInsiders.com.

Let's not forget that Clemson also has a commitment from the top kicker in the state. The Tigers' special teams could certainly use a kicker that can consistently put the ball in the endzone on kickoffs.

So in review if the Tigers can sign Young, Dukes, Nelson, Gilliam, Howard and McDaniel not only will they have signed half the Dandy Dozen but they will have done a great job of filling their needs with this years class.

South Carolina
When looking at the needs for South Carolina you have to start at quarterback. Although the Gamecocks already have 2 fine signal callers in this years class, they are still looking to sign 4-star QB Syvelle Newton. Although Newton will visit the Tigers on January 10th, most feel that he will be wearing Garnet and Black come signing day.

The Gamecocks are also in desperate need of wide receivers that can make plays in the open field. Noah Whiteside has already committed to the Gamecocks and he figures to be a great one in the SEC before his career is finished. South Carolina also has a commitment from Union's David Smith, another solid prospect that could play at wide out or tight end for the Gamecocks next season.

As we all know, USC is also looking to add a top-notch running back to this year's class. Demetris Summers appears to be the cream of the crop, as the Lexington native is currently listed as one of the top ranked running backs in the country. Summers does have a visit set with the Tigers later this month, but South Carolina appears to be the team to beat here.

With the exception of LB Ryan Brown, the Gamecocks do not appear to be getting any defensive help from the Dandy Dozen.

Make no mistake, this year's in-state recruiting battle will not be decided until signing day, but it looks very likely that both South Carolina and Clemson will be pleased with the final returns.

Keep the faith Tiger fans, this year's class still has the potential to be one of the best ever. There are always surprises during the last few weeks of January so you can be assured that we will keep you updated on the Dandy Dozen right up through signing day.

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