CLEMSON USED ITS biggest recruiting weekend of the campaign to turn defensive end Tavaris Barnes of Jacksonville, Fla., from his long-standing commitment to Florida State.
Barnes committed to the Seminoles in the summer but made an official visit to USC in November and scheduled visits with Clemson and North Carolina. He committed to the Tigers on Sunday at the conclusion of his official visit and said he will not take any more official visits. He is the 21st commitment for the Tigers, their fourth on the defensive line and their second defensive end.
Two other prospects made official visits to Clemson over the weekend. Beaufort linebacker Justin Parker is torn between the Tigers and USC, which he visited in November.
"He had a great, great visit," said his brother Jeff, who accompanied him. "He enjoyed everything. I know that Clemson is definitely on his mind. I don't think there's a leader."
Never miss a local story.
Parker will visit LSU this coming weekend, take the SAT on Jan. 22, and is scheduled to visit Georgia Tech on the 29th. USC would like him to come back for an unofficial visit this month, but his brother doesn't think there will be an opportunity for that.
Linebacker Darius Lipford of Lenoir, N.C., also made an official visit to Clemson over the weekend with his parents. Lipford has been committed to North Carolina, and while he liked his visit with the Tigers he said he will not switch from the Tar Heels. "I'm still firm with North Carolina, but I liked it a lot," Lipford said. "But I'm going to stick with my commitment." Lipford will visit Chapel Hill this weekend.
Clemson had 10 other prospects in for official visits over the weekend. All were previously committed to the Tigers and all remain firm.
Clemson added commitment No. 6 for 2011 with a commitment from junior quarterback Tony McNeal of Chester. He sustained a torn ACL in early October, missed four games and came back and played in the final three. He is scheduled for knee surgery today. He plans to graduate in December and enroll at Clemson next January.
Running back D.J. Howard of Lincoln, Ala., canceled his official visit to Clemson for this past weekend due to the weather, and he said he probably will not reschedule. Howard made an unofficial visit to Clemson for the Virginia game and said he learned enough that day to judge the Tigers against Auburn. Howard met Wednesday with Clemson running backs coach Andre Powell. Last Thursday, Auburn coach Gene Chizik made his in-person visit. Howard has been committed to Auburn, though he has not been sold on how the Tigers will use him.
"I'm 100 percent committed to Auburn," he said. "They are a great team. I really like them." But he said he is still going to consider Clemson, which is recruiting him strictly as a running back. He said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is expected to visit him this week.
Offensive lineman Morgan Moses of Richmond learned Thursday he did not qualify for early enrollment, so his recruiting will continue to National Signing Day. Moses said USC, Virginia and Florida are his three favorites. By not being able to enroll early, new USC offensive line coach Shawn Elliott will get a chance to join with Jay Graham in recruiting Moses for the Gamecocks. Moses signed with Virginia before enrolling at Hargrave (Va.) Prep in August. He loosened that commitment when coach Al Groh was fired. He has taken official visits to USC, Florida and North Carolina.
Clemson commitment offensive lineman David Beasley of Columbus, Ga., has scheduled an official visit to Georgia for Jan. 22. He will visit Clemson on Jan. 15th. Beasley maintains a strong commitment to Clemson, but Georgia has made a hard push.
USC leads for wide receiver Ace Sanders of Bradenton, Fla., after he dropped South Florida following the firing of coach Jim Leavitt. USC coach Steve Spurrier and recruiter G.A. Mangus had an in-home visit with Sanders on Thursday night. Sanders will take his official visit to USC on Jan. 22. He is scheduled to visit West Virginia on the 29th.
Defensive lineman Michael Thornton of Stone Mountain, Ga., met Thursday with USC recruiter Lorenzo Ward. Thornton did not set up an official visit with the Gamecocks during that meeting. He has taken official visits to Penn State and Georgia. He is also considering Miami, Auburn and Florida for final visits.
USC recruiters Brad Lawing and Jay Graham flew to San Antonio on Saturday to meet with defensive lineman Ego Ferguson Jr. of Hargrave (Va.) Prep. It was the first chance for Lawing to meet with Ferguson since the summer.
"He went over how he sees him fitting into the program and his four-year plan for J.R.," Ego Ferguson Sr. said. Ferguson Jr. has taken official visits to LSU, Notre Dame and Cal. He will visit Oklahoma on Jan. 22 and will decide this week on his final visit between USC, Florida State and Miami.
"It's very possible," he will visit USC his father said. "The meeting ended on a very positive note."
New USC offensive line coach Shawn Elliott along with Gamecock assistants Shane Beamer and Jay Graham met Monday at school with committed offensive lineman Eric Mack of Calhoun County. Mack remains committed to the Gamecocks. He is scheduled for his official visit to USC this weekend and plans to visit Florida on Jan. 22. USC coach Steve Spurrier did not go in on the visit but talked with Mack on the phone.
Defensive back Sharrod Golightly of Decatur, Ga., has scheduled his official visit with USC for Jan. 22. Golightly has been committed to Vanderbilt but is now looking at USC. He plans to take an official visit to Vandy.
Linebacker Caleb Crane of Centre, Ala., has kept in touch with Clemson. He has not been offered but he is hopeful something will develop and was to send more film in last week. Crane is also hearing from Jacksonville State and UAB.
Wide receiver Kadron Boone of Ocala, Fla., was scheduled for an official visit to Louisville for this weekend. Boone has been committed to Texas Tech. But with the coaching situation in Lubbock unsettled, he plans to look around. Coaches from Rutgers, Texas Tech, Florida Atlantic, Georgia, Cincinnati and South Florida have been in this week.
USC will have between 15 and 20 recruits on campus this weekend for official visits. Most are Gamecock commitments. The headliner of the non-committed players will be Byrnes running back Marcus Lattimore. This will be his third official visit. He has also been to Auburn and Penn State. Lattimore also plans to visit Oregon before making his decision, which he plans to announce Feb. 2 at his church. The decision is expected to come down to USC and Auburn.
The only other uncommitted player scheduled to visit USC this weekend is tight end Mychal Rivera of the College of the Canyons (Calif.) JC. Rivera also plans to visit Kansas State and Utah State. He and his father met last week with USC recruiter Jeep Hunter, whom Rivera has known since Hunter recruited him for Georgia Tech. Rivera has strong interest in the Gamecocks.
Wide receiver Jeremy Deering of Tampa is scheduled to visit USC this weekend and plans to firm up that visit with his coach and family. Deering visited Florida State over the weekend and did not commit. He has been to Purdue and Illinois and will visit Rutgers on Jan. 22.
Another possible visit for USC is linebacker Kendall Moore of Raleigh. He talked last week with USC recruiter Brad Lawing.
"It's about 80 percent I'll visit," said the Notre Dame commitment. Moore added that Lawing and USC coach Steve Spurrier are going to try to get in to see him. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly will also visit soon as well as recruiters from N.C. State.
Clemson has six players scheduled for visits this weekend. Two players are uncommitted to them - defensive lineman Ethan Farmer of Tabor City, N.C., who is a North Carolina commitment, and defensive end Dexter Morant of Manning, a Georgia commitment. Farmer is scheduled to visit North Carolina on Jan. 22 and N.C. State on the 29th. Morant met with Clemson recruiter Chris Rumph last week and remains interested in the Tigers, who were the first to offer him. He is scheduled to visit Georgia on Jan. 22.
Linebacker Ferlando Bohanna of Memphis, a Mississippi State commitment, is giving Clemson another look and might take an official visit this weekend. He also plans to visit Mississippi State and Memphis.
Defensive lineman Danny Palmer of Altamonte Springs, Fla., committed to Furman, according to the Orlando Sentinel. He had 72 tackles last season. He also had offers from Navy, Air Force, The Citadel, Georgia State and Western Carolina.
Offensive lineman C.J. Wilson of Richland Northeast committed to S.C. State after the Shrine Bowl. "It's a good overall fit for me," Wilson said. Wilson will take officials to S.C. State, North Carolina Central, and Newberry.
Defensive end/tight end Farrington Huguenin of Dreher holds offers from S.C. State, North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T. He will take an official visit to Kentucky later this month.
Dreher fullback Sheldon Van Dyke has offers from Catawba and Brevard. Blue Devil quarterback/defensive back Jackson Edwards has an offer from Wheaton College and is hearing from Ivy League schools.
Laurens native Bo Whitney played tight end at Hargrave Prep last season and planned to enroll at Clemson next week as an invited walk-on with a chance to earn a scholarship. But that was before Hargrave coach Robert Prunty offered Whitney a full scholarship to come back to the prep school for a second season to play quarterback.
"That's where my heart is, to go back and play quarterback and try to get some offers," said Whitney, who was a quarterback at Laurens. He will take this semester off and return to Hargrave in August. Whitney said he has heard from Arkansas and Mississippi State, and they plan to evaluate him next season as a quarterback.
Irmo running back Mustafa Green has visited Rutgers and will take an official visit to N.C. State. He has been hearing from Illinois and Syracuse.
Byrnes wide receiver Jazz King played this past weekend in the Max Enfinger Bowl in Austin, Texas. He is looking at Ole Miss, Illinois and Rutgers.
Byrnes wide receiver Torian Richardson was scheduled for an official visit to East Carolina over the weekend and he appears close to committing to the Pirates.
Spartanburg linebacker Andre Whitmire will take official visits to Western Carolina on Jan. 15 and Marshall on Jan. 22. He has offers from both.
James Island offensive lineman Chad Hamilton was scheduled for an official visit to Presbyterian over the weekend and he has one set with Coastal Carolina this weekend. Ohio has offered and he will visit there Jan. 23. Youngstown State also has offered. He is also getting interest from The Citadel, S.C. State and Tennessee State.
Junior linebacker James Vaughters of Tucker, Ga., has more than 20 offers, including from USC and Clemson. His father, Jonathan, says both schools could be a good fit for Vaughters. Other offers include Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State, Southern Cal, UCLA, Stanford, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee and Ohio State. Vaughters has been visited by Clemson recruiter Chris Rumph.
Defensive end Jadevion Clowney of South Pointe has more than 25 offers as a junior. His offers include USC, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, Notre Dame, and Michigan. He said his top four are USC, Clemson, Florida and LSU.
Junior defensive lineman Phillip Dukes of Manning is heading toward double digit offers. According to his coach, Robbie Briggs, Dukes has offers from Clemson, USC, Alabama, North Carolina, N.C. State, Maryland, Florida, Stanford and Duke.
Two other junior prospects at Manning are running back Marcos Pearson and defensive end Bryan Thames. Both players are looking for offers this summer.
Defensive lineman Deshawn Williams of Daniel was the first junior to commit to Clemson's 2011 class last June. Since then, Williams has heard from USC, UCLA, Tennessee, LSU, Alabama, Louisville, Stanford, and Virginia but is staying true to his commitment.
"I gave my word to Clemson when I committed and I am going to stick to that," said Williams. "I'm not really looking at any other schools."
Offensive lineman Trey Pettis of Deland, Fla., is a junior who committed to FSU in November. His more than 25 offers include USC, Clemson, FSU, South Florida, Central Florida, Georgia, Texas Tech, Miami, Notre Dame, and Memphis. He is strong in his commitment to FSU but says he will listen to other schools.