How Will Saturday's Win Impact Recruiting?
Although coaches often down play the significance of the annual rivalry game between South Carolina and Clemson, it does have an impact on both current and future recruits of each respective program. Yes, sometimes the winner reaps the benefit of those recruits that are sitting on the fence, and other times the loser benefits because recruits feel they can help get that team over the hump.
Several recruits around the state of South Carolina and even the nation paid close attention to Saturday's season ending rivalry clash. Some attended the game and watched it first hand, while others were glued to their television sets to view ESPN's broadcast of Carolina's 31-28 win over the Tigers.
The huge carrot of course is Bamberg Ehrhardt's Daquan Bowers, a future 5-star prospect, who will compete with Summerville wide receiver A.J. Green for the number one spot in the state next year. We have talked with Bowers, and even asked him about the rumors of him silently committing to the Clemson Tigers. He stated to us, "There are no truths to those rumors. I like both schools. I love both of the coaching staffs, and it's going to be a tough decision." We also could not help but notice the USC skull cap he was wearing while on a recent unofficial visit to USC. Ultimately, I don't believe that South Carolina's win over Clemson will influence Mr. Bowers decision, and while the Gamecocks are making a strong push for the standout defensive tackle's services, it would surprise me if he does not end up in Death Valley. I will go on record to say that I truly believe he is torn between both schools, but the Tigers have had a head start on this one for quite some time now.
Daquan Bowers gets a front row seat at Saturday's South Carolina - Clemson game. Picture originally published on CUTigers.com
Kenneth Page of AC FLora is another junior to watch. He is already projected as the top offensive lineman in the state next year, and he has informed us that while he likes both schools, Clemson currently leads by a slight margin. Just talking with him, I believe that this past weekend's game could potentially have an impact on his decision, but as of now, he is another junior prospect I project to the Tigers.
Chaz Washington, a stud junior linebacker out of Richland Northeast, is a future top ten prospect in state next year. He likes what both in-state programs have to offer. He has already visited Virginia Tech, and has attended several South Carolina home games this season. Carolina's win will have little effect on Washington's decision, as he wants to visit several schools on his list before he makes a decision. Tennessee is very much in the mix, but in the end, I project he will join the RNE pipeline and become a Gamecock.
Robert Quinn, who some analysts have called a freak of nature along the defensive line, is another junior prospect who surely paid close attention to Saturday's game. The Fort Dorchester defensive end will be highly recruited next year. Every major school in the SEC and ACC are standing in line for an opportunity with this prospect, and he will definitely take his time making a decision. This game will ultimately have little impact on his decision, because right now I see the road for his services going through Gainesville. The reasoning for this is because, as of today(may not be this tomorrow,) we see his current teammate and friend Carlos Dunlap committing to Coach Charlie Strong and the Gators.
Last on this list is Chris Bonds, a sophmore defensive end at Richland Northeast High school. This young phenom will be the number one prospect in the state his senior year. This game may have some early impact on his decision, because he likes what both schools have to offer. Seeing the Gamecocks win in Death Valley certainly did not hurt USC's chances with Bonds. This kid has two years still ahead of him, and he and his parents will take their time with this decision. They will analyze what all schools have to offer and go from there. This one is far from being over, but Bonds did name the Gamecocks his early favorite in a July interview with GamecockAnthem.com.
There were several names we left off this list, as the players listed above are just a handful of premier recruits to keep an eye on in the coming years.
Countless eyes around the state of South Carolina and beyond tuned in to watch the Gamecocks landmark victory in Death Valley over the weekend, and while that one game may or may not influence an individual recruit's decision, it certainly served as the dawning of a new day in a rivalry that had been one sided in recent years. You can bet that Steve Spurrier and staff will now have an even better story to tell recruits after knocking off the 24th ranked Tigers on their home field.
Stay tuned to GamecockAnthem.com for all the latest in South Carolina recruiting.
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