Q: Who do you feel won the battle between Clemson and South Carolina in terms of in-state recruiting?
Billy S. of Belton Honea Path SC
A: Honestly it really depends on how you look at things. Each team had voids to fill and there are obviously guys you want on your squad regardless of just filling positions of need. Clemson landed 13 in-state guys while Carolina scored 9 signees in-state. Clemson had 2 4-star prospects in WR Charone Peake and LB Lateek Townsend, 9 3-star prospects, and 2 2-stars. Carolina had 1 5-star prospect in OL Brandon Shell, 2 4-star prospects in DT Phillip Dukes and RB Shon Carson, 4 3-star prospects, and 2 2-star prospects. The ultimate deciding factor to put one team ahead of the other may be the decision of the nation's #1 overall prospect South Pointe DE Jadeveon Clowney. The winner of that decision will probably be declared the in-state winner.
Q: Outside of Clemson and Carolina who was able to come in and take some of our prospects out of state? Dexter K. of Greenville SC
A: This year I like what Miami Ohio was able to do as well as Illinois. Appalachian State also deserves credit here too. Miami really got some very underrated players in Irmo RB Dawan Scott, Irmo WR David Frazier, and Camden WR Alvonta Jenkins. We were the first to feature those guys and they both came on strong during their senior seasons. Scott rushed for over 2,000 yards and Frazier had a strong showing in the Shrine Bowl which brought on the late attention. Jenkins has been a commodity that a lot of people didn't know much about either but he has put up some strong numbers during his career for the Bulldogs.
As for Illinois, they have continued to utilize Ron West and his ties to the Palmetto State. This year they landed two solid prospects in Fairfield Central LB Ralph Cooper and Bamberg-Ehrhardt S Zeph Grimes. They have already started offering some 2012 guys and it wouldn't surprise me if they continue to sign a couple of Palmetto State guys every recruiting class.
Appalachian State came in and grabbed some very nice players in my opinion. They scored Irmo OL Shaquille Counts and Berea OL Jaron Henderson. Both of these guys were highly underrated and should be forces after a year or two for them up front. They also landed commits from Blythewood DE Devante Harris and Blythewood DE James Robinson. All in all a very nice group for the Mountaineers.
Q: What do you make of the Jadeveon Clowney recruitment? Where do you think he'll end up? Paul S. of Clemson SC
A: Clowney like a lot of other high profile recruits has seen his world change over the past few years. He hasn't lived the life of a typical teenager in a lot of ways because he's been moved directly into the spotlight. Right now he's got a lot on his mind obviously and with the constant push and pull of college coaches, recruiting guys like myself, family, and friends tugging at you it can take a toll on you.
All indications say that South Carolina is probably in the driver's seat but Clemson has made a tremendous push here late. Clemson had a great deal of success with DaQuan Bowers and he's set to become a high lottery pick in this year's draft which should help the Tigers chances. In the end I think the friendships Clowney has with former South Pointe standouts CB Stephon Gilmore and S Devonte Holloman along with his close friends Gerald Dixon and Gerald Dixon Jr. being too much to overcome. Stranger things have happened but the Gamecocks have so much talent coming in on their defensive line that they will more than likely be a dominating force over the next 4 seasons especially with Clowney as they crown jewel so to say.
Q: Who is the most underrated 2011 prospect in the state on offense? Defense? John W. of Dillon SC
A: Tough one here John. All season I said LB Carson Smith of Mauldin was the best player nobody gave much props to. He ultimately signed with The Citadel but had a lot of other offers from some Ivy League schools and regional programs. The kid played in arguably the toughest region in the state, Region 2-AAAA and competed against the likes of Byrnes, Dorman, and Greenwood during his career. Considering the big time numbers he put up against some of the best teams in the state I will stand with Smith on defense.
Offensively I'm going to waffle a little because there's multiple guys I like. The most underrated to me were Gaffney ATH DeEdward Burris, Irmo RB Dawan Scott, and James Island ATH Bo Patterson. Scott has a chance to be special at Miami of Ohio I believe before he's done. Burris and Patterson were guys who you could put at practically any skill position and they could light you up and make plays. Burris may be going JUCO while Patterson is going to Dartmouth. Both are extremely gifted athletes!
Q: Who was the biggest disappointment to you in the 2011 class? Clyde E. of Charleston SC
A: Next subject.
Q: Do you guys not consider 1A prospects as heavily as the larger classifications? It seems like that to me and some of my friends. Ronnie B. of West Florence SC
A: I personally believe a player is a player regardless of classification. I will say that many of my analysts brotheren think the lack of competition may downgrade some of the smaller classification prospects in terms of ratings. This past season look at LB Dexter Staley, the year before that OL A.J. Cann, and the year before that WR Alshon Jeffery. There's talent in the lower classifcations so I always believe that the cream will rise to the top.
Q: We know you were the first that was talking about Marcus Lattimore when he was a freshman. Is there another player you saw as a freshman last year that impressed you highly? Darrell A. of Columbia SC
A: I can't say that I saw a freshman this year that I think had Lattimore's level of potential at that same age. Now as far as potential goes there are a few guys that I think have the potential to be major factors over the next 3 seasons for their teams. 2014 Woodruff WR Blake Bone is a guy that who physically is ahead of the curve right now at 6'3 165 pounds considering his age. With their vaunted passing attack I think he's got a chance to be very special.
2014 Bamberg-Ehrhardt LB Kevin Crosby is another guy who passes the eye test with ease. At 6'0 210 pounds he's already a factor for his squad. Expect big things out of this young man as well.