A number of high school players have earned the opportunity to play a game in South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium for the first time during this weekend’s state championships.
Several of them could make it a routine.
South Pointe standouts Jadeveon Clowney and Gerald Dixon Jr. and Northwestern’s Gerald Dixon are Class of 2011 standouts currently holding offers from the Gamecocks. All three will play their final prep games this weekend.
Northwestern meets Greenwood in Friday’s Class AAAA, Division II championship (8 p.m.). Saturday’s games include Byrnes-Dorman in Class AAAA, Division I; Central-Dillon in Class AA; and Myrtle Beach-South Pointe in Class AAA at noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.
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Of all the uncommitted prospects that will take the field in Columbia this weekend, Clowney is, of course, the most-sought-after recruit. The nation’s top prospect and defensive end is considering USC, Alabama, LSU, Ohio State and Florida State.
“It’s going to be pretty fun stepping into that stadium, knowing that it could be somewhere that I’ll play at,” said Clowney, who will play in his second title game but first in Williams-Brice Stadium. “But I’m really just looking to win.”
Perhaps the game means a little more to Dixon Jr., whose father once played for the Gamecocks.
“I’ve been to a lot of games in that stadium,” he said. “I like the stadium. Me getting a chance to play there in high school is a good thing.”
Neither he nor Clowney believe the opportunity will have a significant impact on their looming college decisions. Still, it couldn’t hurt USC’s chances.
The Class AAA game will be a star-studded affair. South Pointe kicker Landon Ard could join Clowney and Dixon as an FBS player one day. Myrtle Beach quarterback Everett Golson switched his commitment from North Carolina to Notre Dame Thursday, and Seahawks receiver Donte Sumpter (East Carolina) and offensive lineman Jason Rexroad (Middle Tennessee State) are also bound for FBS programs.
Here are other prospects to watch in this weekend’s title games:
Class AAAA, Division II | Assuming his commitment doesn’t waver, record-setting Northwestern quarterback Justin Worley will play at least two games in Williams-Brice Stadium. Worley is committed to USC’s SEC East rival Tennessee.
His teammate, the other Dixon, could ultimately end up at USC. He and his step-brother have maintained their desire to play together – they both hold offers from USC – and could end up right beside each other since both project as defensive tackles.
Unlike most years, Greenwood doesn’t boast a major prospect in this year’s senior class, though the Eagles have several talented juniors on the radar of both USC and Clemson.
Class AAAA, Division I | Dorman receiver Charone Peake, the nation’s top receiver, could end up being a thorn in USC’s side. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound playmaker is committed to Clemson along with his teammate and fellow receiver Adam Humphries.
USC remains in the running for Dorman junior offensive lineman Patrick Destefano, who holds a litany of major FBS offers already. He is among the state’s top linemen in the Class of 2012.
After graduating what may have been the most talented class in state history, Byrnes returns to the state championship without any major prospects in this year’s senior class. Keep an eye on junior running back Shakeem Wharton, who has drawn some interest from the likes of USC and Clemson.
Class AA | Dillon and Central are meeting for the third consecutive year in the championship game, though neither figure to send a signee to an FBS school from their senior classes.
Central defensive tackle Josh Covington, a North-South All-Star, has drawn some recruiting interest, but he will likely be an FCS or Division II recruit due to his size (6-foot, 275 pounds).
Dillon’s best prospects are its underclassmen, including electric receiver Kwinton Smith. One of the top junior receivers in the state, the 6-4, 200-pounder is also a standout baseball player.