Clemson University

Recruiting: Willis: Vols commitment 'medium'

BYRNES DEFENSIVE END Brandon Willis has voiced a commitment to Tennessee since mid-season after de-committing from Florida State. Last week, during a break from practice at the North-South game, Willis said he is taking a look at other options.

Willis plans to take official visits to Miami and Cal in January. He called his commitment to Tennessee "medium."

Manning defensive back John Fulton (6-foot, 180 pounds) had planned to announce his college choice Thursday on ESPNU, but his coach said the announcement will be delayed.

"He may announce at the Under Armour game," Robbie Briggs said. "His dad is coming home from Afghanistan on Dec. 28. I really think he wants to wait for his dad to get here to talk to him face-to-face before he pulls the trigger. And he's not going to miss Shrine Bowl practice."

The Under Armour game is Jan. 2. Briggs said Fulton is down to USC and Alabama. Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban have had their in-home visits.

"Carolina was the leader going in to their visit and Alabama's visit," Briggs said. "He's made no decision. He's got a very good relationship with (USC recruiter) Shane Beamer and a lot of respect for what Alabama has done this year and the history of their program. ... I'd call it dead even at this time."

Clemson nailed two commitments for this year's class and one for next year's. Committing for the 2010 class were offensive lineman Laurence Gibson and defensive lineman Josh Watson of Hargrave (Va.) Prep. Both made their official visits over the weekend. Gibson, a native of Sierra Vista, Ariz., picked the Tigers over Boston College, Auburn, Virginia Tech and Mississippi State.

Watson, a native of Wilmington, Del., went with the Tigers over Duke and North Carolina. Both players will enroll in January.

"It felt right," Watson said. "Clemson is a great place and I didn't want to waste anyone else's time or mine when I knew I would be a Tiger."

Their commitments give the Tigers 20 for the class.

The Tigers gained their fifth commitment for the 2011 class when offensive lineman Shaq Anthony of Wren pledged during church, with Clemson coach Dabo Swinney in attendance. Swinney had been invited to speak at the church months ago.

"A lot of people stood up, clapped and cheered for me," Anthony said. "There's no doubt in my mind I want to go to Clemson."

Anthony is regarded as one of the top prospects in the state's junior class. He is the son of former Tiger Vernie Anthony.

Georgia Tech has renewed interest in Clemson commitment defensive back Darius Robinson of Atlanta. Tech has not offered, but Robinson said he would take an official visit if the Yellow Jackets offered him. He said he is still committed to Clemson.

Shrine Bowl practice begins this morning at Dorman. Most of the state's top senior prospects will be in attendance, led by Byrnes running back Marcus Lattimore, who was named Mr. Football in South Carolina on Friday night. Shortly after receiving the trophy, Lattimore named USC as his fifth official visit. After dropping North Carolina, that opened a spot for a visit with USC. Lattimore will visit Jan . 15, the weekend after playing in the U.S. Army All-American Game. The next weekend he will go to Oregon, and his last trip will be to Georgia. Lattimore has visited Auburn and Penn State.

"I just want to give everybody a fair shot because I haven't been to Oregon," Lattimore said. "I really want to see that place, and I think I'm going to like it. That's why I'm not naming a leader right now."

Athlete Chris Davis of Birmingham committed to Auburn on Saturday. Davis had the Gamecocks in front until Auburn offered late last week.

With Davis gone, that might open a spot for defensive back Kenny Ladler of Stone Mountain, Ga., on the Gamecock board. USC recruiter Lorenzo Ward met last week with Ladler and he set an official visit with the Gamecocks for this weekend.

"There's some momentum now to South Carolina," Ladler said. Coaches from Vanderbilt and Kentucky also met with Ladler. Ladler has been committed to Vanderbilt, but he says from what the coaches tell him it is doubtful that Vandy will allow him to enroll early. Ladler plans to graduate later this month.

Ward also met with Ladler's teammate, defensive lineman Michael Thornton.

USC offensive line coach Eric Wolford met with offensive lineman Morgan Moses of Richmond. Moses played this season at Fork Union (Va.) Prep, where he finished classes Thursday. He took the ACT on Saturday then left on an official visit to Florida. He has visited USC and Virginia and is looking at LSU, North Carolina and Ohio State for visits. Moses also met with new Virginia coach Mike London. He has been committed to the Cavaliers but decided to check other options due to the coaching change. His coach, John Shuman, said Moses will not decide until he learns his ACT score.

Shuman also said that USC commitment defensive back Chris Payne has told him he plans to leave Fork Union at Christmas break and not return. Shuman said Payne is not in position to graduate, meaning he would have to enroll at another school and graduate with the proper course credits to become eligible to play for the Gamecocks next season.

Defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd of Philadelphia is scheduled for an official visit to USC early this week. Floyd was in Hawaii last week for an all star game. Before leaving, he met with USC recruiter G.A. Mangus as well as recruiters from Ohio State and Florida. Southern Cal coach Pete Carroll is scheduled to visit Floyd this week. And Floyd is scheduled for an official visit to North Carolina this weekend. He has visited Florida, Southern Cal and Ohio State.

Clemson, North Carolina and N.C. State have emerged as the choices for defensive lineman Ethan Farmer of Tabor City, N.C., according to his coach Jake Fonvielle. Recruiters from all three schools were in last week to meet with Farmer. Fonvielle said Clemson and State like Farmer as a defensive tackle, while North Carolina is recruiting him as a tight end and defensive line prospect. Farmer has set an official visit with Clemson for Jan. 15. He will go to North Carolina the following week and State on the 29th.

Briggs said his standout junior defensive lineman Phillip Dukes (6-3, 280) has offers from USC, Clemson, Alabama, North Carolina, N.C. State, Maryland and Stanford.

Linebacker Justin Parker of Beaufort has set his final three official visits. He has been to USC and he will visit Clemson on Jan. 8, LSU on Jan. 22 and Georgia Tech on Jan. 29. N.C. State also remains on his list but he's not scheduled a visit with the Wolfpack. Last week Parker had in-home visits with recruiters from Clemson, USC and Georgia Tech.

"They were all great visits because I had my mom there with me," Parker said. "USC has a slight lead over Clemson, then it's LSU, Georgia Tech and NC State. I've just been working out, getting ready for the Shrine Bowl and the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl."

Defensive back Victor Hampton (5-10, 175) of Darlington says he is deciding between USC and Tennessee. He will announce at the Army All-American Game. "I've seen all the schools I've wanted to see, so I don't see any reason to set any other visits," Hampton said.

Defensive end Tavaris Barnes (6-5, 250) of Jacksonville, Fla., made his official visit to USC. Last week, coaches from USC, Clemson, North Carolina and Florida State visited him. Barnes has set official visits to Clemson on Jan. 8 and North Carolina on Jan. 15.

Clemson and USC recruiters had visits with defensive lineman Kyle Woestmann of Marietta, Ga. They have been trying to get Woestmann lined up for official visits. Woestmann has finals this week plus an all star game practice, so he will probably take those visits in January. Woestmann has been to USC, Clemson and Vanderbilt unofficially. He has been committed to the Commodores. He is also looking at North Carolina.

Clemson commitment offensive lineman David Beasley of Columbus, Ga., was visited by his Georgia recruiter. According to Carver High assistant coach Jody Hill, Beasley declined an invitation to make an official visit with the Bulldogs.

"He's sticking with Clemson," Hill said.

Georgia made a strong push for Beasley and his teammate and fellow Clemson commitment, defensive end Corey Crawford. Both players will visit Clemson on Jan. 8 for the Tigers team banquet weekend.

Running back Mustafa Green (6-1 200) of Irmo took his first official visit to Rutgers. He plans to visit N.C. State.

USC is looking at tight end Clive Walford (6-6, 225) of Belle Glade, Fla., who has been committed to Miami since July. Walford has offers from Miami, Indiana, Purdue and Florida International.

Calhoun County offensive lineman Eric Mack has been a solid commitment to USC, but he will take an official visit to Florida.

"Ain't nothing about to change, I'm still committed," Mack said. Mack said he will take his official visit to USC on Jan. 15 and will visit Florida the following weekend. "I just want to go down to Gainesville just to see,' he said. "I've never been to Gainesville before so I just want to see what it's like."

Athlete Lucky Radley of Woodland Hills, Calif., has USC in the top three on his list of seven schools. He has taken an official visit to North Carolina and was scheduled to visit Michigan this past weekend. He is scheduled to visit Utah on Jan. 15.

Defensive lineman Ego Ferguson Jr. met with many coaches, as Hargrave Prep had a combine allowing for college coaches to meet with players. USC coaches Jay Graham and Brad Lawing will make an in-home visit with the Fergusons. Ferguson was scheduled for an official visit to Cal over the weekend. He will visit Oklahoma in January. USC also is in the mix for an official visit. Ferguson also has visited LSU and Notre Dame.

Offensive lineman Max Garcia of Norcross, Ga., has completed all his in-home visits with the coaches of the three schools he is considering. He is choosing between Clemson, Maryland and Vanderbilt.

Clemson is interested in Norcross running back Delino DeShields (5-9, 190), the son of the former major leaguer of the same name. Clemson has not offered but is very interested, according to his coach. DeShields played one season at Norcross and shared time with the established tailback. He is also a baseball prospect and wants to play both in college. Maloof said DeShields likely will be drafted this summer. He has offers from Georgia Tech, Stanford, Ole Miss and Central Florida.

Defensive lineman Jeffrey Whitaker of Warner Robins, Ga., has scheduled an official visit with USC for Jan. 15. Whitaker also is looking at North Carolina, Auburn, Georgia and Miami.

Running back James White of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has visited Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan State and N.C. State. Clemson is the only school he is considering for the final visit. White made an unofficial visit to Clemson for the Florida State game and hopes to make an official visit soon because he plans to decide before Christmas. But he said an official visit to Clemson is not a must for him to choose the Tigers. Coaches from Michigan State and Wisconsin were in last week.

USC wide receiver commitment Sean Tapley of Jacksonville has dropped Miami from consideration but plans to visit North Carolina this weekend. Tapley says his commitment to USC remains strong. He will visit the Gamecocks on Jan. 15.

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