USC received signed financial aid papers from DT Dexter Wideman and LB Sherrod Pittman on Thursday, the eighth and ninth players expected to enroll in January.
Wideman, who signed with the Gamecocks last year, wasn’t admitted to school and spent the fall semester at Camden Military School to improve his academics.
“We have help coming in January, and the headliner is probably Dexter Wideman,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said after Thursday’s practice. “Dexter is on board now. He’s another defensive player that we think is going to help us a lot. There are several other players on the list also.”
USC received signed letters-of-intent from junior-college players DE Marquavius Lewis, LB Ernest Hawkins and LB Ulric Jones on Wednesday. The program also received signed financial aid papers from WR Jerad Washington, TE Christian Owens, LB Jalen Henry and DB Darin Smalls. The difference between the two documents is the first three are bound to the school and the others aren’t.
Never miss a local story.
Pittman, Washington, Owens, Henry, Smalls and Wideman are free to enroll in January, in the summer, or enroll at another school if they choose. By signing the documents, USC is allowed to speak about them publicly and talk to them during a recruiting dead period, but the players are not bound to USC.
Indications are that all six will enroll at USC in January.
Information on each prospect is below. Star ratings are according to 247Sports' Composite ranking.
Junior college signees
... Marquavius Lewis: Four-star prospect (6-3, 266) originally from Greenwood rated top JUCO defensive end in the country. ... Played at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College; named the Jayhawk Conference Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-conference. ... Credited with 63 tackles in 12 games including 20.5 tackles for loss and 11.0 sacks; had 21 quarterback hurries, forced two fumbles and recovered one. ... Has two years to play two.
... Ulric Jones: Three-star defensive tackle (6-7, 283), a native of Oxford, Ala., picked the Gamecocks over Maryland. ... Played at Butler (Kan.) Community College. Credited with 43 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 2014 for a Grizzlies team that went 8-3. ... Selected Mississippi State out of high school. ... Has three years to play two.
... Ernest Hawkins: Three-star linebacker (6-1, 212) from Baltimore also considered Hawaii and Colorado. ... Played one year at Hartnell College in Salinas, Calif. ... Earned first-team all-conference honors in the Golden Coast Conference for a Panther team that went 9-2. ... Had 56 tackles in eight games played with 12.0 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. ... Originally signed with UTEP, but did not attend school until enrolling at Hartnell in 2014. ... Will have four years to play three.
... Sherrod Pittman: Four-star linebacker (6-0-224) comes from same Florida high school (First Coast) as former USC linebacker Shaq Wilson. ... Missed end of season with broken leg. ... Considered the nation's third-best inside linebacker by Rivals. ... Also considered Louisville and Southern California.
... Dexter Wideman: Four-star defensive lineman (6-4, 270) originally signed with the Gamecocks in February 2014 out of Saluda High. ... Spent the fall at Camden (S.C.) Military Academy. ... Considered the top prep school recruit in the country by 247Sports. ... Was an Under Armour All-American. ... Originally committed to Florida State.
... Jerad Washington: Three-star receiver (5-8, 160) and teammate of Pittman. ... Helped the Buccaneers under head coach Marty Lee to a 12-1 record as a senior. ... Caught 52 passes for 889 yards. ... Also had interest from Kentucky and North Carolina.
... Christian Owens: Three-star receiver and former Georgia commit (6-5, 210) is the tallest of the four receivers USC has in the class. ... At Griffin (Ga.) High School, had five touchdown catches as a senior; three touchdowns as a junior.
... Jalen Henry: Three-star linebacker (5-10, 216) continues USC's recent success in recruiting Alabama. ... Team reached the state 7-A semifinals with a 10-4 record. ... Selected for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game following his senior season. ... Also considered Southern Miss.
... Darin Smalls: Three-star defensive back (5-11, 180) of Summerville was originally a Class of 2014 signee who needed to complete more academic work. ... Played for legendary coach John McKissick at Summerville (S.C.) High School, graduating in 2014. The Green Wave went 11-3 and reached the state semifinals in his senior season. Suffered torn ACL in his final campaign. ... Had more than a dozen major college offers.