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January 14, 2008

War Room: Big Action for USC and Clemson

by Jim Baxter and Phil Kornblut

A big Byrd will join the Gamecocks in the fall. USC gained a commitment over the weekend from DE Ronald Byrd (6-7 260) of Hogansville, GA who made his pledge to head coach Steve Spurrier at the conclusion of his official visit. "Coach Spurrier asked me if I was ready to come and help them win an SEC Championship and I told him I was," Byrd said. He took the Gamecocks' offer over ones from Louisville, Auburn, Arkansas, Purdue, Indiana and others. He's the 19th commitment for the Gamecocks.

Five other prospects, four of whom who had previously committed, made their official visits as well to USC over the weekend.
Following is the USC visitation list from the weekend:

  • LB Reggie Bowens 6-2 218 Garner, NC (committed)
  • QB Aramis Hillary 6-2 210 Strom Thurmond (committed)
  • DL Ronald Byrd 6-7 260 Hogansville, GA (committed)
  • DL Taylor Loftley 6-2 255 Chamblee, GA
  • OL Elliott Williams 6-6 270 Woodstock, GA (committed)
  • PK Ryan Doerr 6-3 180 Katy, TX (committed)

    LB Jason Jones (6-3 221) of Albany, GA was scheduled to visit USC over the weekend but that visit was canceled by USC. Jones is now looking at Ole Miss, Louisville and Georgia Southern.

    LB Jacoby Thomas (6-0 232) of Mobile, AL was scheduled to visit USC over the weekend but that visit was rescheduled for this coming weekend.

    Clemson had 18 recruits on campus for the weekend and the Tigers reeled in one commitment from DB Daniel Andrews (6-0 195) of Jacksonville. "They said they need some freshman safeties to come in and be impact players and try to get into the rotation," Andrews said. Andres is a close friend of Clemson's top running back target, Jamie Harper, who also visited over the weekend. Of the 18 prospects who visited, ten had previously committed, and each remains firm.
    Following is the Clemson visitation list from the weekend:

  • ATH Jaron Brown 6-3 190 Cheraw
  • DB Xavier Brewer 5-11 180 Jacksonville, FL (committed)
  • DB Carlton Lewis 6-3 190 St. Augustine, FL (committed)
  • DB Daniel Andrews 6-0- 195 Jacksonville, FL (committed)
  • DB Rashard Hall 6-3 194 St. Augustine, FL (committed)
  • DE Jarrett Crittenton 6-6 280 ND College of Science (committed)
  • LB Jonathan Willard 6-2 207 Loris (committed)
  • LB Jerrell Harris 6-4 215 Gadsden, AL
  • OL Dalton Freeman 6-6 265 Pelion (committed)
  • OL Kenneth Page 6-3 290 AC Flora
  • OL Matt Skinner 6-6 220 Jacksonville, FL (committed)
  • OL Matt Sanders 6-6 295 Crestview, FL (committed)
  • OL Ben Jones 6-6 295 Miami
  • OL R.J. Mattes 6-7 285 Concord, NC
  • OL Antoine McClain 6-6 294 Anniston, AL
  • P Dawson Zimmerman 6-2 195 Snellville, GA (committed)
  • RB Jamie Harper 6-0 222 Jacksonville, FL

    Jones said his visit catapulted the Tigers into his top three along with Miami and LSU. "My decision will be harder now," he said. Jones will visit LSU this weekend, Ohio State on the 25th and Miami February 1st. Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden will make his in home visit Wednesday.

    Lewis, while still firm with his commitment, said Wake Forest continues to make a push and he might set a visit with the Deacons.

    Harris also has visited Alabama and will visit Auburn this weekend, Southern Cal on the 25th and Tennessee February 1st. He had 140 tackles and 19 sacks this season.

    Harper had a good feeling for Clemson going into his visit. "I already feel like I'm at home at Clemson," he said. "That gives them a little edge." He also has visited Illinois and will visit Florida this weekend and Miami the next. He's also looking at Florida State or LSU for a possible visit. He will not announce until Signing Day.

    Page said he had a very good visit but was still undecided and will visit North Carolina this weekend. He's also visited Notre Dame, Tennessee and USC but the Gamecocks no longer are an option. "South Carolina flt my shoulder would have been a liability for them," Page said. "They pulled out on me and not the other way around. I had a lot of interest in South Carolina. Ultimately it hurt. I've become aware that college football is a multi-million dollar business and players like me are the products." Page said none of the other schools expressed concerned about his should which he will have scoped in February. "My team doctor said my shoulder should not hamper my career."

    Brown remains open between Clemson, USC and Michigan. He learned on his visit the Tigers want him as a receiver, as do the other two. He will visit USC this weekend and then Michigan the following weekend. Tommy Bowden and Steve Spurrier are to make their in home visits next week.

    Mattes also has visited Virginia, North Carolina and NC State. He will visit USC this weekend and plans to make a decision shortly after that trip. Tommy Bowden is scheduled for his in home visit Tuesday.

    DL Jeremy Lewis (6-3 280) of Palm Beach, FL was scheduled to visit Clemson over the weekend but that trip was rescheduled for this coming weekend. Lewis has been committed to Miami but is looking around and has taken visits to Tennessee and LSU.

    TE Andrew Power (6-5 245) of Myrtle Beach just recently popped up on the major recruiting scene with interest from USC, Florida, Penn State, Kentucky and Arkansas. Power expects to meet Monday with USC recruiter Steve Spurrier Jr. Power is scheduled to visit Florida this weekend and Arkansas on the 28th. He has offers from The Citadel and Buffalo. This season Power had 23 catches for 304 yards and 4 touchdowns.

    Georgia Tech WR D.J. Donley (6-4 203), who has been considering transferring to USC, has been granted his release but plans to remain at Tech this semester to see what the new offense looks like in the spring.

    Alabama last week offered Calhoun County juniors WR Alshawn Jeffrey and ATH David Sims.

    Fort Dorchester DB Tony Mack (6-2 175) made an unofficial visit to Auburn over the weekend with teammate LB Robert Quinn (6-6 255) who made an official visit. Mack is scheduled to visit North Carolina this weekend and said the Tar Heels have indicated an offer if he'll commit. He's also looking at Rutgers.
    Quinn said he had a good visit to Auburn and will visit North Carolina this weekend. He also has been to Alabama. USC continues to talk to him and he said "there's a slight possibility" he'll take an official with the Gamecocks before making his decision. North Carolina coach Butch Davis is due in for an in home visit Wednesday, and Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville is expected next week. Quinn said there is no favorite.

    Greenwood Shrine Bowl DE Jordan Gary (6-2 250) committed to Appalachian State according to the Greenwood Index-Journal. He also had offers from Marshall and SC State.

    Beaufort DE Devin Taylor (6-6 220) has visited USC and Wake Forest and will visit Virginia Tech on the 25th. He might take a visit to Duke and is also looking at North Carolina and Kentucky. Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe is expected to visit him this week.

    Former Clemson commitment DL A.J Harmon (6-5 325) of Louisville, GA, who recently switched to Georgia, made his official visit to Athens over the weekend. He did talk with Clemson recruiter Billy Napier last week. "He just told me if I decided to change my mind to call him and let him know," Harmon said. "There's no real chance of me reconsidering."

    ATH Deron Furr (6-3 217) of Columbus, GA has been an Auburn commitment but considered taking other visits to Clemson, Florida State, Alabama and South Florida. But he made his official visit to Auburn over the weekend and has decided to stick with that commitment.

    Hanahan QB John Carnell (6-3 210) will visit Presbyterian January 25th and Newberry February 1st. Newberry has offered, PC has not. This season Carnell passed for 3871 yards and 40 touchdowns.

    Shrine Bowl OL Max Travis (6-2 280) of Dutch Fork committed to Presbyterian. He also had an offer from Coastal Carolina and was hearing from Wofford, The Citadel and Lenoir Rhyne.

    Whitmire ATH Michael Ruff (5-9 170) committed to Presbyterian over offers from Newberry and The Citadel. He rushed for 1153 yards and 17 touchdowns and passed for 1125 yards and 16 scores. He also caught three touchdowns passes and averaged 46 yards per punt.

    The Blue Hose also landed commitments from....

  • Shrine Bowl ATH Derrick Overholt (6-3 190) of Tryon, NC
  • DE Darren Evans (6-2 235) of Norcross, GA.
  • QB Bo Hatchett (6-3 210) of Demorest, GA
  • DB Damon Lawrence (5-10 170) of Jacksonville
  • WR Mickey Brewer (6-3 215) of Matthews, NC
  • WR Patrick McKoy (6-1 185) of Fayetteville, NC.

    LB T.J. Pridemore (6-2 230) of Buford, GA committed to Florida over the weekend during his official visit. He earlier had de-committed from Georgia Tech and considered taking a visit to USC.

    USC is keeping in touch with Florida commitment DE Chaz Sutton (6-4 230) of Savannah who said he's talking with recruiter John Hunt. Sutton has not scheduled any official visits because he's working on his academics. He had 108 tackles and 27.5 sacks this season.

    OL Jonathan Cooper (6-3 305) of Wilmington, NC made an official visit to North Carolina over the weekend. He visits USC this weekend and is also looking at Wake Forest and NC State for visits.

    ATH E.J. Abrams-Ward (6-5 225) of Thomasville, NC visited North Carolina over the weekend and will go to Tennessee this weekend. He's also looking at Boston College for a visit. USC has been recruiting him as well and new assistant coach Ray Rychleski plans to visit him this week to try to line him up for a visit.
    USC is looking into OL Tobias Smith (6-4 295) of Columbus, MS. He visited Arkansas State over the weekend and has upcoming visits set with Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State and Southern Miss.

    DE Jamarcus Savage (6-3 262) of Huntsville, AL visited Auburn over the weekend and goes to Tennessee this weekend. He's looking to visit USC on the 25th and also is talking with Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State.

    Furman gained recent commitments from...

  • DB Jordan Griffin (5-10 162) of Sandy Creek, GA,
  • RB Walt Lenard (6-0 201) of Landmark, GA
  • WR Daniel McFadden (6-2 178) of Mainland, FL
  • DL Bryan Poole (6-0 278) of Kennesaw Mountain, GA
  • DB Marquise Quiles (6-0 163) of Suwanee, GA
  • DB Ryan Steed (5-11 179) of Pinewood, Prep
  • DB E.J. Vinsang of Nashville, TN.

    DB J.T. Floyd (6-0 185) of JL Mann made an official visit to Georgia Tech over the weekend and new Tech head coach Paul Johnson will make his in home visit Thursday. Floyd will visit Michigan this weekend and Tennessee on the 25th and those remain his top two. He's actually been a soft commitment to Tennessee since his junior season.

    WR T.J. Lawrence (6-2 190) of Lakeland, FL made his official visit to Florida over the weekend. He's also been to Virginia Tech and he will visit USC this weekend. "I'm definitely looking forward to getting up to South Carolina so I can get this thing over," Lawrence said. Those are his final three and he does not claim a favorite. This season Lawrence caught 70 passes for 900 yards and 20 touchdowns.

    TE Dwayne Allen (6-4 240) of Fayetteville, NC has been a Georgia commitment but visited Florida State over the weekend. He is tentatively scheduled to visit USC this weekend. He's also been talking to Clemson, North Carolina, Miami and Virginia Tech.

    OL Trevino Woods (6-5 280) of Athens, GA has been a soft Kentucky commitment and he visited Lexington over the weekend. He still plans to make his official visit to Clemson this weekend.

    Shrine Bowl DE Allen Crowder (6-3 250) of Mebane, NC did not make his scheduled official visit to East Carolina over the weekend and has not rescheduled. He is scheduled to visit USC this weekend but hasn't talked with the Gamecocks since his recruiter, Fred Chatham, left the staff. He also is scheduled to visit Buffalo February 1st.

    DB Seandre Richardson (6-3 190) of Linden, AL, who had drawn an offer from Clemson, committed last week to Vanderbilt.

    Orangeburg-Wilkinson LB Sterling Lucas (6-2 220) made an official visit to NC State over the weekend. He will visit North Carolina this weekend and Michigan State on the 25th. New USC defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder is scheduled to meet with him for the first time this week. Head coaches Butch Davis of North Carolina, Mark Dantonio of Michigan State and Tom O'Brien of NC State also are due in this week. Lucas also is looking at Wake Forest and Maryland.

    Clemson no longer is a factor with DE Keith Wells (6-5 220) of Gainesville, GA. He's replaced a Clemson visit on January 25th with Florida. He has been to Ohio State and Auburn and will visit Tennessee this weekend. He's been a soft commitment to Florida State and is also looking at Miami.

    USC target LB Kevin Reddick Jr. (6-2 215) of New Bern, NC committed to North Carolina over the weekend while on his official visit and won't make his visit to USC this weekend according to his father.

    RB Eric Smith (6-0 220) of Seffner, FL made an official visit to Auburn over the weekend and plans to announce a decision Saturday between those Tigers and Clemson. Indications are he will commit to Auburn.

    USC will have its major recruiting weekend this coming weekend. The following prospects are scheduled to visit, and the list is subject to change:

  • ATH Jaron Brown of Cheraw
  • committed OL T.J. Johnson of Aynor
  • LB Jacoby Thomas of Mobile, AL
  • OL Jonathan Cooper of Wilmington, NC
  • TE Dwayne Allen of Fayetteville, NC
  • WR Tommy Streeter of Miami
  • WR T.J. Lawrence of Lakeland, FL
  • DE Michael McAdoo of Antioch, TN
  • OL R.J. Mattes of Concord, NC
  • committed RB Kenny Miles of Snellville, GA
  • committed DB Jarrett Burns of Huntsville, AL.

    Clemson currently has nine official visits scheduled for this weekend, and the list is subject to change:

  • Committed QB John Richt of Athens, GA
  • committed RB Andre Ellington of Berkeley
  • committed WR Brandon Ford of Hanahan
  • ATH Jordan Byas of Panama City, FL
  • RB Onterio McCallebb of Fort Meade, FL
  • DL Jeremy Lewis of Palm Beach, FL
  • OL Trevino Woods of Athens, GA
  • OL Ramon Booi of St. Augustine, FL
  • OL Justin Green of West Palm Beach, FL.

    Basketball News:
    6-7 Murphy Holloway of Dutch Fork committed last week to Ole Miss. Murphy is among the state's leading scorers this season at over 34 points per game.
    Former Marlboro County star 6-8 Casaan Breeden has transferred from Florida State to the College of Charleston.


    Clemson and South Carolina Commitments
    Clemson Tiger Commits
  • SPENCER ADAMS DB 6-2 180 MATTHEWS, NC
  • XAVIER BREWER DB 5-11 180 JACKSONVILLE, FL
  • RASHARD HALL DB 6-3 194 ST. AUGUSTINE, FL
  • CARLTON LEWIS DB 6-3 190 ST. AUGUSTINE, FL
  • DANIEL ANDREWS DB 6-0 195 JACKSONVILLE, FL
  • JARRETT CRITTENTON DE 6-6 280 NORTH DAKOTA ST. COS JC
  • DAQUAN BOWERS DL 6-5 250 BAMBERG-EHRHARDT
  • STANLEY HUNTER LB 6-0 205 BYRNES
  • TARIK ROLLINS LB 6-2 205 HOLLYWOOD, FL
  • JONATHAN WILLARD LB 6-2 207 LORIS
  • MATT SKINNER LS 6-5 210 JACKSONVILLE, FL
  • DALTON FREEMAN OL 6-6 265 PELION
  • MATT SANDERS OL 6-6 295 CRESTVIEW, FL
  • DAWSON ZIMMERMAN P 6-2 195 SNELLVILLE, GA
  • SPENCER BENTON PK 6-3 185 MYRTLE BEACH
  • KYLE PARKER QB 6-1 190 JACKSONVILLE, FL
  • JON RICHT QB 6-2 165 ATHENS, GA
  • ANDRE ELLINGTON RB 5-10 170 BERKELEY
  • MARQUAN JONES WR 6-0 175 BLYTHEWOOD
  • BRANDON FORD WR 6-4 207 HANAHAN
  • South Carolina Gamecock Commits
  • JAY SPEARMAN ATH 6-1 205 GREENWOOD
  • CHARLES WHITLOCK ATH 5-11 175 CHESTER
  • ANTONIO ALLEN DB 6-1 195 FORK UNION PREP, VA
  • AKEEM AUGUSTE DB 5-10 180 FORK UNION PREP, VA
  • DARRELL SIMMONS DB 6-2 194 COLLEGE PARK, GA
  • JARRETT BURNS DB 6-3 186 HUNTSVILLE, AL
  • JARRIEL KING DE 6-7 270 NORTH CHARLESTON
  • RONALD BYRD DE 6-7 260 HOGANSVILLE, GA
  • KENNY DAVIS DL 6-5 290 NEWBERRY
  • SHAQ WILSON LB 6-1 210 JACKSONVILLE, FL
  • REGGIE BOWENS LB 6-2 218 GARNER, NC
  • T.J. JOHNSON OL 6-4 275 AYNOR
  • ELLIOT WILLIAMS OL 6-6 270 WOODSTOCK, GA
  • RYAN DOERR P/PK 6-3 180 KATY, TX
  • ARAMIS HILLARY QB 6-3 212 STROM THURMOND
  • REID MCCOLLUM QB 6-4 205 SUMMERVILLE
  • ERIC BAKER RB 5-11 190 FORK UNION PREP, VA
  • KENNY MILES RB 5-11 198 SNELLVILLE, GA
  • D.L. MOORE WR 6-5 188 BOWLING GREEN, KY


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