South Carolina interim head coach Shawn Elliott and his staff have a lot of work to do in holding together their 2016 recruiting class in the wake of Steve Spurrier’s departure.
Thus far, there’s been only one public decommitment (P.J. Blue), but other commitments are less than 100-percent solid. One of those is defensive back J.J. Givens of Mechanicsville, Va.
“Actually Coach Deke (Adams) is coming out to my school on Monday and he said we’ll talk, and after that talk, I just feel as though I’ll really know whether I’m committed to South Carolina,” Givens said. “I was kind of shocked (about Steve Spurrier’s resignation), but you never know a person’s reasons. He did what’s best for him and I completely respect that 100 percent.”
Even before Spurrier’s announcement, Givens was planning to take other official visits. He hasn’t scheduled any at this point, but he said he’s looking at Arizona State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State for visits. He’s also been talking to Clemson and said the Tigers remain in it with him as well and “still recruiting me pretty hard.”
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Another USC commitment, offensive lineman Lloyd Cushenberry, of Geismar, La., said he remains committed at this point, but it’s not a firm commitment.
“As of now, I am still committed to South Carolina,” Cushenberry said. “Me and my family are still taking about everything and I am keeping my options open.”
USC commitment running back C.J. Freeman, of Greensboro, said he remains committed for now, but will check out the recruiting landscape. Louisville has come after him hard and he’s considering an official visit there.
Quarterback Brandon McIlwain, of Newtown, Pa., is the prize of USC’s 2016 recruiting class and has no plans on backing out of his commitment.
Many of USC’s commitments took to Twitter to express their feelings on Spurrier’s departure.
Wide reciever Kelvin Harmon, of Palmyra, N.J., went on Twitter to say he’s not budging from his pledge.
“I understand about coach Spurrier, all respect for him, but I didn’t choose South Carolina for him. Still content with my decision.”
Wide receiver Bryan Edwards of Conway was not as sure.
“As of now I am verbally committed to USC,” Edwards wrote. ”South Carolina is my home and I have tons of love for it and the University of South Carolina, their program and fans. Obviously the timing of coach Spurrier’s retirement is a surprise and a sad thing to see, however at the same time, I have to do what’s best for me and my future as a student athlete. I will be contemplating my future in the next few weeks in light of recent events.”
Edwards, Freeman, offensive lineman Will Putnam of Harrisburg, N.C., and defensive back Chris Smith of Rock Hill were all at USC’s game against Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Defensive lineman Darius Whitfield, of Mobile, Ala., committed to USC on Tuesday, the day Spurrier unexpectedly resigned. But Whitfield said that news didn’t shake him from his desire to join the Gamecocks who have been recruiting him since his sophomore year.
Whitfield is close with recruiter Kirk Botkin and wants to hang in with the Gamecocks, but he’s still going to move cautiously until the new coach and staff are set.
“I’m going to still look into things but right now that doesn’t concern me,” he said. “They have a good academic program and the fans are crazy. I love the fans. I’m glad to be a South Carolina Gamecock.”