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USC adds a tight end to ’09 class

USC HIT THE Atlanta area for its newest commitment. Tight end Will Middleton (6-feet, 5 inches, 245 pounds) of Marietta committed to the Gamecocks on Friday, one day after receiving an official offer from recruiter Shane Beamer and position coach Ray Rychleski.

“I love the place,” Middleton said. “It’s SEC football; it’s close to home and I love the coaches and facilities.”

Middleton also had a offer from Rutgers and was drawing interest from West Virginia, Georgia and Florida among others.

Middleton’s sister, Victoria, recently completed her freshman year with USC’s equestrian team. He is the third commitment for USC’s 2009 class.

Byrnes sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore (6-0, 200), the state’s top prospect for the 2010 class, has switched his favorite from Clemson to USC.

Lattimore’s sister attends USC, and he plans to spend several weeks in Columbia this summer. Florida State is becoming a major player with Lattimore.

Linebacker Quandon Christian (6-4, 210) of Lake View is drawing the interest of USC and Clemson. Gamecock recruiters David Reaves and Ellis Johnson and Clemson recruiter Dabo Swinney have visited the school. He favors the Gamecocks and Tigers and has visited both schools.

Clemson and Alabama recently offered speedy wide receiver Nukeese Richardson (5-10, 170) of Pahokee, Fla., but USC remains a slight favorite.

Clemson recruiter Chris Rumph visited Columbia High late last week to check on defensive back Damario Jeffery (6-3, 211). Jeffery said Clemson and USC are recruiting him the hardest. Michigan and Kentucky also came by his school last week. He recently added an offer from NC State. Jeffery said he has no favorites.

Rumph also visited Calhoun County where he made an official offer to wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey (6-3, 217). Among Jeffrey’s offers are Alabama, Southern Cal, Florida and Michigan.

Oregon also offered Calhoun County athlete David Sims (6-0, 208), and a Ducks recruiter is scheduled to visit this week.

USC is showing interest in linebacker Brett Johnson (6-2, 206) of North Augusta. Gillespie visited the school last week and picked up some film.

Former Strom Thurmond wide receiver Jakar Hamilton (6-2, 190) will play his first season at Georgia Military JC this fall, and he is hearing from USC.

“South Carolina is waiting to see how I do grade-wise,” Hamilton said. “And I’m doing well with that. I really like South Carolina a lot.”

USC also is interested in a pair of linebackers at GMA, Josh Dickerson (6-2, 205) of Kingsland, Ga. and Tony Straughter (6-1, 210) of Madison, Fla.

Clemson offered athlete Marsalis Teague (5-11, 170) of Paris, Tenn. as a cornerback. The Tigers are among Teague’s six front-runners.

USC and Arkansas are the top two with wide receiver Lance Ray (6-3, 200) of Havana, Fla. Beamer visited the school last week.

Clemson’s Rumph was one of the coaches to check in on offensive lineman Xavier Nixon (6-7, 270) of Fayetteville, N.C. Michigan and Alabama are among those that also have visited.

Nixon plans to trim his list this month after his father returns from Afghanistan. He has visited Ohio State, West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Tennessee. He plans to visit LSU, Florida, Auburn and Georgia before the end of the month. And he might visit Clemson while on that trip.

Clemson is one of the offers for wide receiver Bryce McNeal (6-2 175) of Minneapolis.

“I’m going to visit Clemson the end of this month,” McNeal said.

Among McNeal’s offers are Oklahoma, Michigan, and Auburn.

USC has offered linebacker Daniel Mack (6-1, 198) of Miami. He plans to visit Clemson and USC in July. He plans to graduate in December.

Linebacker Corico Hawkins (6-0, 225) of Milledgeville, Ga., has a top three of Clemson, Auburn and Florida with no leader.

USC has an offer out to defensive end Kedric Johnson (6-4, 220) of Palmetto, Fla. He also has offers from South Florida, West Virginia, Kentucky, Central Florida, Michigan State, Auburn and Wake Forest. Johnson had 19 sacks last season.

Offensive lineman John Coleman (6-4, 275) of West Florence has offers from Coastal Carolina, Presbyterian, Wofford, Newberry and Buffalo.

Air Force is checking into kicker Grant Clayton (5-8, 170) and athlete Carlos McCoy (5-7, 150) of A.C. Flora.

The Tigers and Gamecocks have made unofficial offers to Dorman freshman wide receiver Charon Peake (6-3, 185) according to his coach Dave Gutshall. Tennessee is showing strong, early interest.

Junior quarterback Anthony Boone (6-2, 218) of Charlotte is getting early attention from USC, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest according to his coach.

Basketball news. USC and Clemson are pursuing Lakeem Jackson of Arden, N.C. Coaches Darrin Horn and Oliver Purnell scouted him this spring. Jackson also likes Georgia Tech.

The Citadel signed Bo Holston of Sandy Spring, Md. according to the Montgomery (Md.) Gazette.

Omar Sanders of Spartanburg signed with Spartanburg Methodist JC. Kendrick Robinson of SMC signed with Francis Marion and teammate Anthony Middleton signed with Limestone. Steven Bell of Ridge View signed with North Greenville.

Baseball News. Right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles (6-5, 200) of Hartsville committed to USC and will sign this spring.