Big Recruiting Weekend is Here

The South Carolina Gamecocks' Big Recruiting Weekend is here, and several top targets as well as many prospects already verbally committed to Carolina will be on campus. With 25 commitments already, the final pieces of the 2009 class have been whittled down to a few select targets. This weekend South Carolina will get the chance to roll out the red carpet and impress three of those targets.

The three South Carolina targets that will be on campus this weekend for official visits are Calhoun County HS wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey, Timberland HS offensive lineman Quinton Washington and Leesville HS wide receiver Travante Stallworth.

Perhaps the top target left on South Carolina's board, Jeffrey has been one of the staff's top targets since they offered him before Signing Day 2008. Jeffrey committed to Southern Cal in June, but after announcing he would take other official visits the Southern Cal staff eventually informed him if he went forward with those visits that he would be dropped from their commitment list. After much consideration, Jeffrey decided he would still take the visits. He will officially visit Tennessee next weekend.

Jeffrey has been a mainstay at Carolina home games all season long and the Gamecocks were able to remain a factor even after he committed to Southern Cal. This weekend the staff will get the chance to convince Jeffrey that staying home to play for the Gamecocks is the right thing to do. Despite his longtime interest in Carolina, the staff will have to convince him that they have a quarterback who can get him the ball and that he will find the field early in Columbia. Don't expect a commitment from Jeffrey this weekend, but how well his visit goes will go a long way in determining where he ends up. Expect a signing day decision from the Calhoun County star.

Also a major target for the Gamecocks since before Signing Day 2008, Washington has remained quiet about his top school for much of the process. Washington, who is ranked the No. 19 guard in the country by Scout.com, has officially visited Michigan and Clemson, will visit Tennessee next weekend and Miami the weekend after that. New South Carolina offensive line coach and running game coordinator Eric Wolford visited Washington recently and that visit went extremely well, according to Timberland head coach Art Craig. While the Gamecocks have been considered the behind-the-scenes frontrunner for Washington's services it is not likely he will shut things down this weekend. A signing day commitment looks much more likely at this point.

Also official visiting this weekend is South Carolina commitment and three-star Timberland standout Aldrick Fordham. Fordham and Washington are good friends, and Fordham has been working Washington to join him at South Carolina since he committed in the summer. A great prospect in his own right, Fordham is ranked the No. 32 defensive end in the country by Scout.com, though some from the network believe he has an NFL future.

The last official visitor not committed to the Gamecocks is the Auburn commitment Stallworth. Auburn offered the 5'9", 180-pounder after he impressed at a summer camp and he quickly committed to the Tigers. Stallworth was solid in that commitment until Tuberville left Auburn. Now the shifty receiver prospect is looking around at his other options. Stallworth is still committed and Auburn sources believe he will stick with the Tigers, but the Gamecocks are in need of speed at receiver and have a good story to tell him. Carolina receivers coach Steve Spurrier, Jr. is selling Stallworth on being the next Kenny McKinley and will continue that recruiting pitch this weekend.

The South Carolina staff will have help recruiting the three aforementioned targets as many South Carolina commitments will also be taking their official visits. Columbia HS stars DaMario Jeffery and Chris Payne are among those visitors. Payne committed to South Carolina last March while Jeffery joined the commitment list in August. The two defensive backs have spent countless hours recruiting others to join them at South Carolina and will continue that trend this weekend.

Four other in-state USC commitments will also be making their official visits this weekend. Those are Beaufort HS standouts defensive tackle Duane Chisolm and cornerback Jimmy Legree, Greenwood HS safety D.J. Swearinger, and Central HS tight end Justice Cunningham. Swearinger was at one time committed to Tennessee, but switched to the Gamecocks after Phil Fulmer announced it would be his last season in Knoxville. Swearinger has joined Payne and Jeffrey in recruiting others for USC and has been working Greenwood teammate and USC target Sam Montgomery to join him as a Gamecock.

Cunningham is considered a soft commitment by Scout.com, because he plans a visit to Michigan State, but is expected to stick with his South Carolina commitment.

Three South Carolina pledges from the state of Georgia will also be officially visiting. Coffee County HS wide receiver DeMario Bennett and Camden County HS wide receiver DeAngelo Smith, as well as Apalachee HS linebacker Chaun Gresham all were at the Gamecock Showcase Camp this summer. Bennett and Smith committed while in Columbia then, while the visit helped convince Greshman to change his commitment from Georgia Tech to the Gamecocks.

From North Carolina, two Ray Rychleski commitments linebacker Quin Smith and offensive lineman Nick Allison will be in Columbia for officials as well. Both Smith and Allison were under-the-radar prospect when Carolina earned their commitments, but were impressive in the Shrine Bowl recently.

The final two commitments officially visiting are Fort Walton Beach HS linebacker Matt Coffee and Manatee HS running back Ben Axon. Coffee, whose brother played running back at Alabama and just declared for the NFL draft, committed in June. Axon was originally committed to Clemson, but decommitted and quickly joined the Gamecocks class after Tommy Bowden resigned in October.


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