The prospects already committed to South Carolina have reached a critical part of the season.
Most states have reached the crux of their prep football seasons, with the Palmetto State's three smaller classes set to open the postseason this week. Teams in South Carolina's Class 4A, North Carolina, Georgia and New Jersey will play their regular-season finales on Friday, while Florida has two games left before the postseason.
Only one commitment will open this postseason this week: Lake City tailback Shon Carson leads his second-seeded Panthers into a Class 2A playoff battle against No. 3 Loris. To emerge from the Lower State, Lake City will likely have to defeat 9-1 Silver Bluff, which has won nine straight games.
USC's other tailback commitment, Blythewood's Brandon Wilds, may be playing his final game. At 3-7, the Bengals, who meet Ridge View in the regular-season finale, seem unlikely to have enough points to make the Class 4A playoffs. It's been a tough season for Wilds, who has rushed for 602 yards (4.6 per carry) and six touchdowns.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
USC corner commitment Ronnie Martin of Spartanburg may have already played his final game. The shutdown corner, who doubles as an electric special teams ace, suffered a concussion last week and isn't expected to play in Friday's meeting with Gaffney. The Vikings have more points than Blythewood, but they still may need a win (and possibly more help) to get into the playoffs.
A game to watch in Class 4A includes USC's newest commitment, offensive tackle Brandon Shell. He leads Goose Creek (10-0) into a meeting with 9-1 Beaufort. Both teams figure to be tough outs once the playoffs began Nov. 12.
USC's three postgraduate players, Kelcy Quarles, Brison Williams and Brandon Golson of Fork Union, play their final game of the season Friday against Hargrave. They are expected to enroll at USC in January. Georgia Military offensive tackle Kaleb Broome has two weeks remaining in the regular season.
Clemson commitment DeShaun Williams anchors the defensive line at D.W. Daniel, but his junior linemate, Shaquille Lawson, is starting to attract plenty of attention. The defensive end is an intriguing prospect in the Class of 2012.
Lawson, a 6-foot-3, 250-pounder, leads the Lions with 11 sacks and has been a terror for opposing defenses all season. At times he'll slide inside to defensive tackle when certain matchups make it advantageous.
"He's a talented guy," Daniel coach Randy Robinson said. "His upside is going to be something special. He gets a lot of mail, and several schools are already calling about him. I think he's going to get on the radar pretty quick."
Lawson had a solid season in 2009 for Daniel, but he began to realize this offseason that football should probably become his priority. That has made all the difference, Robinson said.
"Like a lot of our kids, he thought he was headed to the NBA," the coach said. "But there aren't many 6-3 post players, so I think he's figuring out he could really do something special in football. He's really worked hard."
USC and Clemson are both showing interest in Lawson. He camped at Clemson last summer, and Robinson said the members of the program's coaching staff were impressed. However, Lawson does not yet have any offers. Robinson believes most teams are waiting until next spring to evaluate him.
In other Daniel recruiting news, Robinson said senior receiver Antonio Cannon is still committed to Kentucky, though East Carolina is trying to make a late push for his services. The Wildcats scouted him and immediately offered him at Daniel's spring game, and it took only a few hours for him to commit.
Williams remains firmly committed to Clemson, Robinson said.