Huge recruiting weekend
The biggest football news in the Palmetto state prior to today's game was of course Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden stepping down, and his resignation has put Clemson's commitment list into immediate play, with several top commitments formally decommitting, and many on the list openly looking around, many of them in South Carolina's direction.
Devonte Holloman is the name on the tip of everyone's tongue. The 5-star two way star from South Pointe HS is ranked by Scout as the #2 safety in the country, and was formerly the highest rated player on Clemson's commitment list. He decommitted the day Tommy Bowden resigned. Since then his good friend and high school teammate 4-star cornerback Stephon Gilmore committed to the Gamecocks, joining wide receiver Charles Holmes from South Pointe who had committed during the summer. Both have publicly stated their intent to recruit Holloman to join them in Columbia, and Holloman has said he is listening.
Because Holloman is also seriously considering Saturday's opponent LSU and has said he wants to play for a winning team, the ability to closely contend and/or defeat the Bayou Bengals is especially crucial in Holloman's case. Most of this weekend's visit will be of the unofficial variety, but Holloman wanted to make his visit this weekend an official visit.
Another Clemson commitment that plans to be in Columbia this weekend for the first time since the season started is running back Roderick McDowell, who has indicated he may take an official visit to USC later. McDowell, from Sumter HS which has produced many great players for both in-state schools, is currently ranked as the #46 running back in the country by Scout.com.
A player both in-state schools have been contending for is Ricco Sanders, a highly recruited wide receiver from Byrnes HS who has received offers from Georgia, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, and multiple others in addition to Clemson and USC. Sanders has played his recruitment close to the vest, but an enjoyable trip to USC this weekend could certainly help the Gamecocks' chances. He will be joined by three highly regarded Byrnes players from next year's class, who all have Gamecock offers: future 5-star and Gamecock lean running back Marcus Lattimore; and defensive linemen Corey Miller and Brandon Willis.
4-star wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has been committed to Southern Cal since June, but has openly said that a big season by South Carolina could turn his head. This weekend will be a great opportunity for the Gamecocks to showcase an improving passing game, which is one key factor Jeffrey is looking for with Carolina. Saturday will be his third unofficial visit to USC, and he will be joined by his younger brother Shamir, one of the top prospects in 2011, as well as fellow Calhoun County players Eric Mack, a 2010 offensive lineman who currently favors the Gamecocks, and Donte Stewart, a 2010 two-way player under consideration by USC. Running back David Sims of Calhoun County is also expected to make the trip. Currently a Kentucky commitment, Sims continues to be recruited by South Carolina.
As far as high priority players for USC, they don't get any bigger than Sam Montgomery, the #7 defensive end in the country, who will make his second visit this season today. He will be accompanied by fellow Greenwood players Kelcy Quarles, who is one of the palmetto state's best defensive linemen in the class of 2010 and is already a strong lean to the Gamecocks, defensive back Byron Best; and current Tennessee commitment D.J. Swearinger. Best favors the Gamecocks but has yet to receive an offer. Tennessee is having one of their worst seasons in years, and their head coach Phil Fulmer's future is also very much in doubt, which may affect Swearinger's commitment to the current staff, and he has indicated that he is considering the Gamecocks again.
Two Peach State stars that will be in attendance are middle linebacker/safety/running back Jonathan Davis of Tucker and tight end Justin Jones of Conyers. Both players are being carefully evaluated by the Carolina staff.
Timberland HS standout Quinton Washington is the #18 offensive guard prospect in the country and has been favoring the Gamecocks for some time. USC would love for him to go ahead and pull the trigger this weekend. He will be joined by teammate and USC commitment Aldrick Fordham, one of the highest rated players already committed to the Gamecocks.
Another USC commitment who will be in attendance and bringing a high school teammate interested in USC is Jimmy Legree, and he will have 2010 star linebacker Justin Parker with him.
Other Carolina commitments in attendance will be Damario Jeffery and Chris Payne from Columbia HS, Justice Cunningham, Chaun Gresham, Nick Allison, and Corey Addison.
All in the family: Clifton Geathers comes from a storied line of football players in his family and currently stars for the Gamecocks. USC would like to add more Geathers to the roster. His brother Kwame, a 2009 offensive lineman from Carvers Bay and first cousin Clayton Geathers, a 2010 defensive back, will be watching from the stands this weekend.
Another in-state player currently committed elsewhere who will be in attendance and watching closely is Daniel cornerback Jerrodd Williams. He committed to Virginia Tech over the summer, and received an offer from the Gamecocks after his commitment to the Hokies.
Finally, five other in-state underclassmen will be in attendance - Irmo 2010 running back Mustafa Greene; Gaffney 2010 running back Joe Craig; Dorman 2011 receiver Cheron Peake; and Lake City 2010 athlete Sheldon "Bam" Robinson and his 2011 teammate running back Shon Carson. Carson raised eyebrows across the state when he gained 263 yards and three touchdowns on just 16 carries in Lake City's game Monday night.
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