USC's recruiting class for 2012 is nearly complete with the Gamecocks holding 18 new commitments.
Add the three players they are placing in prep school and planning to re-sign, the number grows to 21. The Gamecocks' recruiting board has shrunk in relation to the available spots. And it may not be much longer before all the spots are taken.
USC has said it is targeting a 20-member class, but the school can sign up to 25 in this class.
Defensive back Chaz Elder of College Park, Ga., looks to be the next likely commitment for the Gamecocks. And that pledge could come sooner than later.
Elder has been on commitment watch for a couple of weeks with USC out in front of Georgia and Vanderbilt. Sunday night, Elder said the end of this watch is near.
“There’s nothing really new here,” he said. “USC leads. I’m looking to end this soon.”
The Gamecocks like Elder as a safety. He has built a strong relationship with recruiter Lorenzo Ward and liked what he saw on his two trips to campus this summer.
No other prospect on the Gamecocks' board appears to be as close to a Gamecock commitment as Elder. Most of those players are big-time recruits who are in no hurry to make their decision.
The Gamecocks are in the best shape with defensive back Elijah Shumate, of Ramsey, N.J., and linebacker Karl Joseph of Orlando, Fla., based on what they have said. The Gamecocks are in the final group with each as they have narrowed their lists.
Shumate is maintaining regular contact with USC recruiter G.A. Mangus and is eyeing the Gamecocks for a possible official visit. Shumate also likes Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgia Tech and Rutgers. He said he’ll make his decision in December after his visits but won’t reveal it until the Army All American Game on Jan. 7.
Joseph is also looking at Tennessee, Florida, West Virginia, Central Florida and Cincinnati. He does not have a timetable for a decision.
Other players USC is pursuing include:
- DL Jonathan Bullard, Shelby, N.C. - has set an official visit with Nebraska for the Ohio State game October 8th. Bullard has not cut his list but he plans to get down to 5-6 schools by the end of summer.
- WR Stefon Diggs, Olney, Md. - Has cut his long list of offers to 15, and USC is still on his list. Diggs told Rivals.com his final 15 schools are USC, Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Cal, Florida, Florida State, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Georgia. Diggs said he does not have a favorite and he will do another cut in another month or two. He has not decided on official visits but he did point out USC, California, Auburn and Florida as four possibilities. He does not plan to announce a decision until the Army All American Game at the earliest.
- DB Jordan Diggs, Cape Coral, Fla. - Plans to narrow his list to his five for official visits before his first game Aug. 20. His father was a linebacker for the Gamecocks. “South Carolina sits pretty well with me,” he said. Diggs does not have a favorite at this point. He said he will choose a school outside of the state of Florida.
- DL Eddie Goldman, Washington, D.C. - Sitting on 15 schools right now, including USC. He plans to cut his list down soon to six or seven schools. Goldman won’t make a decision until after his official visits.
- OL Bryce Kennedy, Southern Pines, N.C. - Has slowed his recruiting process and is looking to take more visits in the fall. USC was the first school to offer. His other offers include North Carolina, N.C. State, East Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest and Stanford.
- OL Alex Kozan, Castle Rock, Colo. - Does not plan to make a decision until October and realizes some of his opportunities, like USC, might not be available then. Kozan has more than 20 offers and plans to narrow his list in August.
- LB Quanzell Lambert, Erial, N.J. - In no hurry to eliminate schools from his list saying, "I'm working on it right now. I'll probably start narrowing it by mid-season." Lambert's offers include USC, Penn State, Alabama, Florida, Auburn, Pitt, Purdue, Rutgers, Boston College, Maryland and Virginia. He has 19 in all. As for possible visits, he is keeping the Gamecocks in mind. He does not have a favorite.
- RB Keith Marshall, Raleigh, N.C. - Remains one of the most heavily recruited players in the country. But outside of cutting his long list of offers to a dozen, Marshall hasn’t done much with his recruiting lately because of track. USC is among his final 12 schools. Marshall is expected to announce his five official visits in August and take them during the season. The rest of Marshall’s 12 are Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Stanford and Southern Cal.
- DE Tyriq McCord, Tampa, Fla. - Visited USC this summer and came away impressed. He is not close to a decision and has not narrowed his list. He will do that in the next three to four weeks and will get down to between five and eight schools. But he does have a top three: USC, Florida and Southern Cal, in no order. “South Carolina is high on my list,” McCord said. He doesn’t have a favorite and will not make his decision until January. Some of his other offers are Notre Dame, Texas Tech, Ole Miss, Rutgers, South Florida, Miami, Oregon and Georgia.
- DB Nate Smith, Warminster, Pa. - Continues to hear from USC, which was one of his early offers. “They have a high interest in me most likely as a safety,” said Smith, who also has offers from West Virginia, Michigan State, Toledo and Temple.
- DE Jhaustin Thomas, Decatur, Ga. - Has USC in his top five and plans to take an official visit to Columbia during the season. "I still talk to them a lot," Thomas said. "They tell me they really want me." His top five are USC, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama and Auburn, in no order. His plans are to take some official visits and commit before the season ends.
- DL Dalvin Tomlinson, McDonough, Ga. - His offers include USC, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Florida State, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, North Carolina, LSU, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Southern Cal and California. He has over 30 in all. Tomlinson wants to narrow his list to 10 schools before the beginning of the season and indicated USC is a school he will strongly consider. He does not have a favorite.
- DL Carlos Watkins, Forest City, N.C. - Plans to schedule four of his official visits with Clemson, USC, Alabama and Florida. He told Scout.com he’s also looking at Nebraska and Arkansas. Watkins, who had one point appeared to be on the fast road to a commitment, now says he will not rush into a decision.
- DE Kenderius Whitehead, Monroe, Ga. - Currently has Georgia way out front for him. Whitehead and his mother made a visit to USC this summer, and the Gamecocks remain on his list. Some of his other offers include Clemson, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Illinois, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Arkansas, Nebraska and North Carolina. Whitehead has not said when he plans to make a decision.