Noah Whiteside ... although it has been widely reported that he is now a slight Clemson lean - that is untrue. Whiteside was caught up in the emotion of being surrounded by several very vocal Clemson commitments during the course of the week in Rock Hill prior to the Shrine Bowl game. Afterwards, a Clemson web site approached Whiteside and allegedly urged a lean from the blue chip wide receive in Clemson's favor we were told. As it stands right now, Whiteside, away from the negative influences that surrounded him during the Shrine Bowl, is back to being a Gamecock lean. But it is a slight lean and Pittsburg is involved as well. By the time his visit to USC rolls around on January 17, we feel certain that based upon what we are hearing ... Whiteside will be a Gamecock.
Eric Young ... they tried applying pressure to Young at the Shrine Bowl as well. Young has consistently been one of those prospects that it has been difficult to put a finger on. He has guarded his position about as well as anyone. And what has compounded the speculation are all the conflicting reports being broadcast and published. One report says he is going there, another here, another elsewhere. Welcome to the world of predicting the outcome with a big time prospect. But we are better than predicting when we say this. Right now Eric Young is a heavy lean to USC. He has been that way most of the season and we see no reason, have heard nothing to the contrary, that would lead us to believe he has changed his mind in that regard. As a matter of fact the one thing we did hear about his Shrine Bowl week was that he laughed at most of the Clemson prospects when they attempted to sway him away from Lou Holtz and the Gamecocks.
Travis Lee ... he had a big game for the North Carolina Shrine Bowl Team catching two touchdowns in the romp over the Sandlappers. Lee is a Gamecock. He has remained solid in his commitment and is looking forward to joining Holtz & Company this summer. Once signed, he plans to come to Columbia early and begin working out with the rest of the team in anticipation of seeing some early playing time. What we saw of him in Rock Hill gives us the impression that he has the tools to play as a true freshman.
KO Simpson has now received an offer from USC and is leaning heavily toward the Gamecocks. The big strong safety/free safety prospect will probably be utilized as a Spur Backer in the Gamecock defense. What we understand is that Simpson's offer is conditional. That's all we were told. We have no idea if it is conditional on his grades, or conditional upon the number of scholarships we have remaining at any given time, or conditional on another prospect commiting or what. That's all we have heard.
Jonathan Hefney ... was burned twice by the North Carolina receiving crew, once for a touch down. But again we understand that Hefney has now been offered by our coaches. We could not find out if it was a conditional offer or not so we are assuming that it was not. Hefney is slightly undersized to play corner in the SEC, but he has speed to burn and solid football instincts. The Shrine Bowl having been the only game that we saw him play in this year ... we're not sure what sort of talent he is but if the coaches offered - he must be good enough to play.
Ryan Brown ... this is one of the major prospects remaining on our board from the state of South Carolina. Brown is a big, fast, mobile kid who has had a few injury problems over the last two years. But our coaches like his ability and he has a huge upside with his combination size and speed. Brown is a solid South Carolina lean at the moment and we do expect him to be a Gamecock come signing day.
Demetris Summers ... no one other than our coaches and Meat's closest family members no for sure exactly what Demetris has planned at the moment. But we do stay close enough to this situation through various parties to know ... we will be completely and totally shocked if Summers does not sign with the Gamecocks in February. As a matter of fact, if Summers does not make his official visit to Miami, we almost expect to see an early commitment from Summers. Although, he is such a high profile prospect that we would not blame him in the least should he decide to wait until signing day to announce.
Syvelle Newton ... and you already have heard the rumors. ''Newton is upset that he was left off of the Shrine Bowl squad. That is true ... he was. But he is over that now and seemingly more certain than ever that he wants to be a Gamecock. One contact even told us that Newton seemed to release all of the Shrine Bowl tension from his body when he heard the final score. Sweet justice. He is over it now. According to our sources he is now looking forward to joining Lou's Gamecocks and proving to everyone just how good he really is. And what about the fact that Blake Mitchell is already solidly committed? That doesn't seem to bother Newton one iota. As a matter of fact he takes it as a challenge and is looking forward to competing against Mitchell this summer. And as we were told he says when asked, "Let the best man win."
Now For A Few Out-Of-State Players
James Townsend ... we have been about as close to this situation as anyone. He is talking to very few people right now giving any indications of where he might be leaning. But by all indications, if he does have a favorite, it is USC. Townsend is being pulled in several different directions. And one thing Townsend may be concerned with right now is that we have committed several other highly thought-of receivers. But Townsend has been notified that he is high on our coaches' list and they feel he has the chance to come in and compete right away. That's what he wants to hear and that is the truth. Iowa, Virginia, and USC are his leaders. From what we understand USC is the team to beat. Still, we cannot glean enough information to make a solid call on Townsend so for the time being, heading into the holidays, we are saying he is a 50-50 prospect. He could go either way.
Skyler Thornton ... we are presently the team to beat for Skyler's services but in his case we remind everyone that there are still over 35 days between now and signing day. A lot can happen between now and then. Thornton is expressing some concern about the number of running backs already on the roster and of course he understands that there may be one other running back yet to sign.
Those are the prospects that we have followed-up on over the past 24 hours. If you have any specific questions we may be able to answer for you regarding these, or any other prospect the Gamecocks are currently listing on their board - please feel free to ask us by posting on the Premium Subscriber's Only board - The Digital Perch.