THE ALL-STAR season for high school football in South Carolina is here.
Today, practice begins in Myrtle Beach for the SCADA North-South Game, which will be played Saturday at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium. Next week, the Shrine Bowl teams gather in Spartanburg. The top prospects in South Carolina for this senior class will be on display.
Unfortunately, for the second straight year, college coaches for FBS and FCS teams cannot be there to scout.
Coaches from Division II teams can attend practices. This rule, an offshoot of a ruling aimed at reducing the amount of scouting done by basketball coaches at all-star events, certainly hurts some kids who can use these practices to impress coaches and earn an offer. It's a rule that coaches have tried to get overturned, but to no avail.
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One of the headliners at the North-South game will be Calhoun County offensive lineman Eric Mack. Mack has been holding to his USC commitment, but other schools are still trying to turn him.
Auburn coaches had an in-home visit with him Saturday night, and Florida recruiters are scheduled to meet with his mother Tuesday while he is at the beach. USC recruiters were in last week. Mack has taken an official visit to Auburn and he plans to visit Florida as well. He will visit USC in January. He has also had interest in Clemson, North Carolina and Kentucky.
USC had two official visits over the weekend: offensive lineman Morgan Moses of Fork Union (Va.) Prep and defensive lineman Tavaris Barnes of Jacksonville. Moses has been committed to Virginia but decided to check other options due to the change in coaches there. He met last week with Virginia's athletics director in Charlottesville. Moses plans to visit North Carolina this weekend. He hopes to be a mid-year enrollee if he gets a qualifying test score this month.
Barnes has been a commitment to Florida State but is looking hard at USC. He made an unofficial visit for the Clemson game and came back for a closer look over the weekend.
"It was way better than I expected," he said of the visit for the Clemson game. "I could see myself playing there, but I don't know what's going to happen until signing day."
Barnes plans to take official visits to Clemson, Georgia, Florida State and North Carolina.
Byrnes running back Marcus Lattimore had a busy week leading up to the state championship game. Coaches from North Carolina, Penn State, Georgia and Oregon visited with Lattimore. USC recruiter Jay Graham visited Sunday. Lattimore has taken official visits to Auburn and Penn State and is scheduled to visit Oregon, North Carolina and Georgia officially in January, though he said last week he might switch the North Carolina visit for USC. Lattimore attended the Clemson at USC game and watched the Gamecock offense with a lot of interest.
"They ran the ball 58 times and that really impressed me," he said. "I got time to speak with coach Spurrier and he was just telling me that he needs me. That made me feel good."
Lattimore will announce his decision at his church the day before signing day, and he has a few things he's looking for in a school.
"It's going to be how they use their running back this year and how comfortable I felt there with the coaches and the players."
USC recruiter G.A. Mangus checked out athlete Jeremy Deering of Tampa last week and is working him for an official visit. Deering has visited Purdue and is scheduled to visit Illinois this weekend.
Mangus also met with defensive lineman Kyle Woestmann of Marietta, Ga., on Saturday, and Woestmann is planning to make an official visit the first part of next week. Woestmann made an unofficial visit for the Clemson game. He has been committed to Vanderbilt but is looking at Clemson and Boston College.
Mangus was in Philadelphia last week along with Gamecock defensive line coach Brad Lawing for an in-person meeting with defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd. Floyd has an all-star game in Hawaii this week, and he plans to take an official visit to USC early next week. Ohio State coach Jim Tressel visited Floyd last week, along with coaches from North Carolina.
According to Floyd's assistant coach and adviser Andre Odom, USC coach Steve Spurrier is expected in this week, along with coaches from Southern Cal and Florida. Floyd has taken officials to Florida, Southern Cal and Ohio State and is scheduled to visit North Carolina on Dec. 8. He plans to announce during the U.S. Army All-American Game.
Clemson commitment offensive lineman David Beasley of Columbus, Ga., was offered last week by Georgia and will take an official visit there this weekend. Beasley said he is still strong with his commitment, but wants to see what Georgia has to offer him.
"Georgia has zero chance of turning him," Carver High assistant Jody Hill said. "I would bet my mother on it."
Georgia also has gone after Clemson commitment defensive lineman Corey Crawford of Carver, but again Hill says his player will stick with his pledge to the Tigers. Southern Cal is coming to see Crawford next week.
USC's Beamer met with Beaufort linebacker Justin Parker, as did LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis. Parker is expecting to meet today with Clemson recruiters Kevin Steele and Dan Brooks. Parker has taken his official visit to USC and plans to set dates with Clemson and LSU. He continues to favor USC ahead of Clemson, LSU, Georgia Tech and Tennessee.
Beamer visited with defensive lineman Adrian Hubbard of Norcross, Ga. Hubbard has taken official visits to USC and Florida State and will visit Alabama today through Wednesday. He plans to announce Jan. 2 during the Under Armour All-American Game.
Auburn commitment running back D.J. Howard of Lincoln, Ala., is looking at other options because Auburn has not made a commitment to him as a running back. Howard said Auburn has been recruiting him as an athlete, but he wants to play running back. He made an unofficial visit to Clemson for the Virginia game and plans to set an official visit with the Tigers. He is scheduled for an official to Auburn this weekend. He also plans to visit Kentucky.
Offensive lineman Laurence Gibson of Hargrave Prep took an official visit to Virginia Tech over the weekend and will visit Clemson this weekend. He has also taken an official visit to Boston College and an unofficial visit to Auburn. He plans a Dec. 17 announcement.
Hargrave defensive lineman Josh Watson also is headed to Clemson this weekend for an official visit. He was at Duke officially over the weekend. He has visited Boston College but he is no longer considering the Eagles because they want to take him at mid-term.
Defensive lineman Ego Ferguson Jr. of Hargrave Prep is still looking at an official visit to USC. His father met last week with Gamecock recruiter Jay Graham. Ferguson took an official visit to Cal over the weekend. He has also been to Notre Dame and LSU and will schedule a trip with Oklahoma.
Wide receiver Ace Sanders of Bradenton, Fla., has set an official with USC for Jan. 22. He will visit South Florida the weekend before that. He also plans to visit West Virginia.
Wide receiver Kenny Shaw of Orlando is looking at a Jan. 15 official visit with USC. He met with recruiter Jeep Hunter last week. Shaw has visited Michigan and is also looking at West Virginia, Tennessee, Florida State, Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
USC is one of the schools still working linebacker Tyrone Cornelius of Stone Mountain, Ga., who has been committed to Miami. He will take his official visit to Miami this weekend and he plans to set visits with Michigan and Tennessee. He's considering setting one with USC.
USC has checked out place kicker Devon Pike of Warner Robins, Ga., whom the Gamecocks might consider as a kickoff specialist. He is also getting interest from Georgia State, Montana State, Elizabeth City State, Newberry, Memphis, Alabama State and Southwest Baptist.
USC Spurrier made his in-home visit with Manning defensive back John Fulton. He was joined by assistants Ellis Johnson, Shane Beamer and Lorenzo Ward. Fulton has been favoring the Gamecocks over Alabama and Florida. He will make his announcement Dec. 17 on ESPNU.
Notre Dame commitment linebacker Kendall Moore of Raleigh will look around due to the coaching change. He plans to take a visit to USC, but is not sure if it will be official or unofficial. He took an unofficial visit to N.C. State for the UNC game
Athlete P.J. Clyburn of Statesville, N.C., committed last week to North Carolina. USC had been recruiting him.
Richland Northeast athlete Kersean Wilson has offers from S.C. State, East Carolina, Buffalo and Western Carolina, plus he is hearing from Michigan State, Virginia Tech, N.C. State and Illinois. Wilson said he is waiting to retake the ACT this month before setting official visits.
Sumter defensive lineman Justin Oxendine plans to commit to The Citadel this week. And Gamecock quarterback Stephen Curtis will be taking an official visit to Liberty. He is also getting strong interest from Florida Atlantic.
Irmo running back Mustafa Green planned to make an official visit to Rutgers over the weekend. He had an in-home visit with N.C. State last week.
USC recruiter Ellis Johnson met with Marlboro County junior linebacker Lateek Townsend. Townsend has offers from the Gamecocks, Clemson, East Carolina, Illinois, N.C. State and Maryland.
Former Clemson and A.C. Flora offensive lineman Kenneth Page plans to transfer to Coastal Carolina, where he will have three years to play.
Offensive lineman Patrick Hansen (6-3, 265) of Kingsport, Tenn., committed to Coastal.