Notebook: State Championship weekend

Several University of South Carolina recruiting targets and commitments were on hand at Williams-Brice Stadium Friday night and all day Saturday for the South Carolina High School League finals.

Clover defeats Beaufort 23-14

Kicking off the action Friday night, the Beaufort Eagles and Class of 2008 defensive end/tight end Devin Taylor were defeated 23-14 by the Clover Blue Eagles. Taylor turned in a solid night for the Eagles defense, racking up eight tackles including one tackle-for-loss. Taylor did not have much to say after the crushing loss, but did say he was going to stay in Columbia for his scheduled official visit with the Gamecocks.

While Taylor is just now taking his official visit to South Carolina he says he "pretty much has everything he needs to know."

Taylor's teammate and possible 2009 target defensive tackle Duane Chisolm was all over the field for Beaufort, racking up 10 total tackles from his defensive line spot. Chisolm will be one to watch in the future for the Eagles.

Byrnes defeats Summerville 48-9

During early Saturday action, the Summerville Green Wave were defeated by the Byrnes Rebels 48-9. After the two powerhouse offenses traded early scores, it was all Byrnes from there on as sophomore quarterback Chris Dodd turned in an impressive day running the complicated Byrnes offense to perfection. Dodd completed 22 passes on 38 attempts for two touchdowns. One of Dodd's leading receivers was class of 2009 receiver Ricco Sanders who caught seven passes for 89 yards.

Reid McCollum
"It's great, man. It's a state championship, this is just what we wanted," Sanders said.

The talented speedster says Clemson, LSU, and N.C. State are recruiting him the hardest right now, though he has no verbal offers yet. He also says Clemson leads right now, but if South Carolina started recruiting him they would "stand out just as much as Clemson."

Sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore also turned in a stellar performance, pounding out 109 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Class of 2008 Florida State verbal commitment, defensive end Everette Dawkins had four tackles.

It was a rough outing for the Green Wave as quarterback and USC verbal commitment Reid McCollum had a streaky day. The Byrnes defensive line was in his face for much of the contest, and McCollum completed 11 passes on 32 attempts for 108 yards. McCollum's go-to receiver and University of Georgia commitment, wide receiver AJ Green was held to three receptions for just 29 yards. The five-star playmaker was bracketed with double coverage for much of the day. While the Green Wave's superstar receiver has become an internet legend due to his videos on YouTube featuring nine minutes of highlight reel catches, Green says he will remember the two State Championship losses more than all the fame and accolades he has received.

"It's pretty hard knowing we had the team to do it, but things happen," Green said. "We just gave up a lot of big plays. The pressure on the quarterback didn't give Reid enough time to throw. That had a lot to do with it."

While South Carolina is still heavily recruiting the standout receiver and Green said he enjoyed the Carolina-Clemson game last week, he says he is still "solid to Georgia."

Cheraw defeats Chapman 58-14

Click here to see how USC targets Jaron Brown and Travis Small led Cheraw to their second straight state title.

Wilson defeats Chester 14-12

Soon to be South Carolina commitment Charles Whitlock and his Chester Cyclones came up just short in their bid for a Class AAA State Championship. Whitlock saw time at wide receiver, cornerback, punt returner, kickoff specialist, and punter while leading Chester in all-purpose yards with 88. The stingy Wilson defense held Chester in check for much of the night with the score stuck at 14-6 for the entire second and third quarters. Chester finally struck pay dirt with 10:40 to go on a 15 yard touchdown pass from University of Kentucky quarterback commitment Eugene McCaskill to Whitlock for what could have been the game's tying score. Chester, however, was stopped short on the ensuing two-point conversion.

Charles Whitlock
McCaskill threw for 86 yards on seven completions while also rushing for 81 yards, but is likely off to play receiver for the Wildcats.

While disappointed in the Cyclones loss, Whitlock felt some solace in the improvement the Chester program made during his time there.

"We started off 2-9 my freshman year, tenth grade year we went 6-5, my junior year we went 7-4, and now we're 12-3," Whitlock said. "He told us my freshman year if we worked hard enough we'd be the senior class to make it to state."

Whitlock, who plans on making his official announcement Dec. 5 at Chester High School, also said he looks forward to graduating early and joining the Gamecocks.

"I graduate in December. He (Coach Spurrier) told me when I come in and get started with my class work, I'll have an early start on the guys that are coming in in the summer," Whitlock said. "He told me I'll have a great chance to start."

Wilson sophomore wide receiver Bivins Elliott has already reached cult-status among the Wilson faithful as many held up "8" banners in his honor. The class of 2010 playmaker caught two passes for 87 yards and is one to watch in the future for the Wilson Tigers. Elliott says he is getting letters from Tennessee at this time.

Player Observations

Click the following link to read GamecockAnthem's player observations from the weekend: State Championships Observations

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