IN THE FINAL analysis, Clemson and USC both signed top 25 classes Wednesday. The Tigers' haul was regarded as slightly better than the Gamecocks' on a national level.
The four major Internet recruiting services - Rivals, Scout, ESPN and The Sporting News - each had Clemson's group rated higher than USC:
Rivals rated Clemson 18th and USC 25th. Scout had Clemson 23rd and USC 34th. ESPN ranked Clemson 19th and USC 23rd. The Sporting News ranked Clemson 18th and USC 23rd.
How do these numbers compare with the past five recruiting seasons? Here is a breakdown of the highest ranking for each using the Rivals and Scout rankings.
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2009: USC 9; Clemson 37
2008: USC 22; Clemson 11
2007: USC 6; Clemson 16
2006: USC 24; Clemson 15
2005: USC 20; Clemson 17
The Sporting News ranked the SEC No. 1 in recruiting among the conferences. The Pac-10 is second followed by the Big 12, the ACC and the Big Ten. Within the SEC, USC is seventh behind Florida, Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee and Georgia. Within the ACC, Clemson is third behind Florida and Miami.
South Carolina State is ranked third among FCS teams by Rivals. Appalachian State is No. 1 and Richmond is No. 2.
The Bulldogs signed tight end Keegan Funderburk of Central on Friday. Funderburk will not be academically eligible to play for the Bulldogs this season. He decided to go with State rather than go the junior college route.
SIGHTS ON 2011
Clemson is off to a big start for the 2011 class with seven commitments: offensive lineman Shaq Anthony of Wren; defensive back Cortez Davis of Daytona Beach, FL; athlete Brandon Ellerbe of Wadesboro, N.C.; running back Marlin Lane of Daytona Beach, FL; quarterback Tony McNeal of Chester; athlete Robert Smith of Woodland; and defensive lineman Deshaun Williams of Daniel.
USC has one commitment it is counting toward 2011, and that is former signee defensive lineman Leon Mackie. He is attending a junior college in Mississippi. Former signee defensive back Chris Payne could make it onto that list if he gets his academics in order.
Myrtle Beach quarterback Everett Golson committed to North Carolina. Among his other offers were Clemson, USC, Michigan, Texas Tech, Florida, Virginia Tech and others. Golson likely will finish his career as the most prolific passer in South Carolina prep history. Going into his senior season, Golson has thrown for more than 9,800 yards with 126 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.
Dorman junior receiver Charone Peake has 15 offers. He says three programs top his list: Clemson, Florida and Georgia. "They all have good coaching staffs and I feel comfortable with them," Peake said. Other offers are from USC, Tennessee, North Carolina, California, Michigan, Maryland, Kentucky, Alabama and LSU.
Peake went to some games at Clemson last season and will attend a junior day there Feb. 20. He was going to go to Georgia's junior day at the end of January but the snow kept him home.
Linebacker Serdarius Bryant of Sanford, Fla., has received an offer from UCF and has verbal offers from Florida State and Miami. Bryant says he is hearing from a lot of schools, including USC and Clemson. He went to a game at USC last season. Bryant says he is most interested in USC, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Illinois, UCF and Miami.
Bryant plans to go to UCF and Florida for their junior days and is hopeful to make it to USC for theirs as well.
Defensive lineman Derrick Mitchell of Jacksonville, Fla., has several offers, including USC and Clemson. His other offers include Georgia Tech, FSU, Florida International, North Carolina and Illinois. Mitchell was at Georgia Tech for their junior day. His next junior day visit will be either to Clemson or Florida State.
Calhoun County junior athlete Shamier Jeffery says being given the chance to play quarterback in college will be a key factor in his decision. Jeffery split time last season between receiver and quarterback. He said he will be a full-time quarterback this season. He has offers from USC, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Kansas State, Illinois and Auburn.
Jeffery said he likes Kentucky and Auburn the most because they are recruiting him as a quarterback. Georgia Tech, Kansas State and Illinois are also recruiting him as a quarterback. Kentucky coach Joker Phillips has told Jeffery he is his No. 1 quarterback target. Jeffery said it's not automatic that he will follow his brother Alshon, who is a Gamecocks receiver.
"I don't want anybody thinking I'm following him to USC," Shamier said. "I want to be my own guy."
Jeffery did not attend USC's junior day because he is on crutches with a broken left foot. He does not plan to make an early decision. Jeffery started last season as a receiver and moved to quarterback at mid-season.
Linebacker Stephone Anthony of Wadesboro, N.C., will be one of the top prospects in his state next season. His coach, Luke Hyatt, said Anthony is heading toward 20 offers. Clemson and USC are on his offer list, along with Florida, Georgia, LSU, Florida State, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Maryland, Stanford and others. He counts Clemson and USC among his favorites right now. Clemson signed a player off his team this year and has a commitment from another of his teammates for the 2011 class.
Offensive lineman Trenton Brown of Albany, Ga., attended Georgia's recent junior day and is getting interest from the Bulldogs. USC also is showing interest, along with Central Florida.
Defensive back Avery Walls of McDonough, Ga., has offers from Oklahoma, Connecticut, East Carolina, Northwestern and Stanford. He's also been hearing from Clemson, USC, Purdue, Ohio State, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Duke and others. He went to a junior day at Alabama and plans to go to one at Oklahoma. He attended a game at Clemson last season.
Defensive end Brandon Chubb of Marietta, Ga., made an unofficial visit to USC over his winter break and continues to draw interest from the Gamecocks. He also likes Georgia and attended junior day there. He is also hearing from N.C. State, Central Florida, Duke and UAB.