Tampa defensive back Johnny Dixon recently trimmed his list to a top five of USC, Penn State, Alabama, Miami and Ohio State. That's some heavy company the Gamecocks are competing with but in their favor is the fact they were the first to identify Dixon as major college talent worthy of an offer.
"South Carolina was offer number one for me and they've stuck with me throughout the whole recruiting process," Dixon said. "They've always recruited me hard ever since they offered me. And Coach T-Rob (Travaris Robinson) is one of my best relationships with the coaches out of all the coaches."
Dixon said Robinson, who has been by the school this spring and will return soon, is very high on him as a player and has him penciled in for early playing time should he decide to play for him.
"He expects to play me early. He thinks I'm the No. 1 corner in 2019," Dixon said. "I'm athletic and I'm really good at reading plays. If I'm in zone I can see what's coming and in man, I can lock down my receiver. Last year they only threw to my side like twice and I got one interception. The county knew about me so they threw it to the other side. I'm not trying to sound cocky but really that's how it was. They wouldn't throw it to me or kick it to me."
Dixon has been regular at Gamecock football camps in recent summers and he plans to return this summer. So, he's paid close attention to what Will Muschamp has been doing in Columbia.
"The program, since Muschamp got there, it looks like it's been going up," Dixon said. "It's getting better and better with the recruits that are coming in. I think if I were to go there I'd fit in because of the relationship I have with Coach T-Rob. I know he'd use me as a corner."
Dixon has taken no visits this spring but he's been in the past to Florida, Florida State, Alabama and Tennessee. He will take more visits this summer and official visits in the fall before deciding. He said USC, Miami and Penn State are showing the strongest interest.
Dixon said he will not be signing early.
▪ Palm Bay, Fla. 2020 RB Larry Hill was offered by USC.
▪ According to Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Corey Johnson, linebacker Tra Wilkins plans an announcement of some type Friday after the spring game. Wilkins tweeted a commitment to South Carolina on April 13, and that tweet remains pinned to his page. But USC coach Will Muschamp has not publicly acknowledged the commitment with his "SpursUp" tweet. Wilkins has tweeted several new offers in recent days including Texas A&M and Purdue and he visited Minnesota last weekend.
▪ USC tight end commit KeShawn Toney was offered by Middle Tennessee State. He said he's still "110 percent" to the Gamecocks. He plans to take his official visit sometime soon.
▪ Gamecocks offensive line commit Jaylen Nichols was offered by Tennessee.
▪ South Carolina offered wide receiver Darrel Harding of Winter Garden, Fla. Some other offers are Missouri, Duke and Kentucky. He said the offer puts the Gamecocks at the top of his list and he will set an official visit with them.
▪ USC offered 2020 DL Marquis Black of McDonough, GA.