USC Recruiting

Bios: Meet USC's class of 2015 signees

South Carolina signed off on its 2015 recruiting class Wednesday. Here are the highlights of things to know about the new signees.

Toure Boyd

1:40 p.m.

DB, 5-11, 180; Chaffey College (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.)

Name

Expected to play safety. This past season Boyd had 80 tackles, two interceptions and broke up 10 passes. He also blocked four kicks. Was going to go to Boise State out of high school before a two-year detour through junior college. Grew up in Birmingham before moving to California at age 13. ... Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating.

He said it: “It's always been my dream to play in the SEC so when this opportunity was brought to me, I felt it was a dream come true and a blessing.”

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Dexter Neal

11:20 a.m.

WR, 6-2, 195; Stephenson High (Stone Mountain, Ga.)

Name

Had 17 touchdowns and more than 700 receiving yards as a senior. ... Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... On May 16, 2013, became the first to commit to USC for 2015. ... Also had offers from Clemson, Auburn, Tennessee, Michigan State, among others. ... A baseball standout and potential MLB Draft pick, Perfect Game ranks Neal the No. 116 overall prospect in the nation and the No. 26 outfielder

He said it: “I felt like I fit in around their program. I think I'll be able to make big plays.”

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Zack Bailey

11:20 a.m.

OL, 6-5, 330; Summerville High (Summerville, SC) Name

Shrine Bowl selection ... As a senior, 17 pancake blocks and 37 knockdowns. He graded out for the season with a 79 percent average. ... Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... Chose USC over Clemson, Florida State and Florida, among others.

He said it: "I like coach [Shawn] Elliott a lot. I'm going to work every single day and those few days when I'm going to be tired and don't want to do stuff, he's going to force me to do it and at the end of the day it's for my better good."

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Octavis Johnson

11 a.m.

ATH, 6-0, 185, Clinch County High (Homerville, Ga.)

Name

Four-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... Picked the Gamecocks over Tennessee and Kentucky, among others.

He said it: "I feel like that’s the best place for me to continue my football career and get a good education."

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Dante Sawyer

10:40 a.m.

DE, 6-3, 280; Suwanee, Ga.

Name

Played last season at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, Miss. ... The Suwanee, Ga., native helped lead the Lions to an undefeated record and the JUCO title this past season thanks to his 21 tackles (10.5 for loss), 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles ... Four-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... He was offered out of high school by Alabama, Auburn and Arkansas, among others.

He said it: “I feel like I can come in and work hard and be starting against North Carolina the first game of the season.”

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Antoine Wilder

10:40 a.m.

DB, 5-10, 180, Hapeville Charter (Atlanta)

Name

Played three games, missed much of season with torn meniscus. ... Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... Also considered Louisville, Mississippi State and Kentucky.

He said it: "In 2015 I really believe we're going to shock the world."

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Ulric Jones

10:10 a.m.

DT, 6-5, 275; Oxford, Ala.

Name

Played at Butler (Kan.) Community College. ... Credited with 43 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 2014 for a Grizzlies team that went 8-3. ... Picked the Gamecocks over Maryland. ... Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... Selected Mississippi State out of high school. ... Has three years to play two.

He said it: "I'm a strong run stopper. What I need to work on is my pass rush ability. I was the team's sack leader so I would say I'm not too bad at it."

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Rashad Fenton

9:50 a.m.

DB, 5-11, 180, Miami Carol City High (Miami)

Name

As a senior, had 50 tackles, five interceptions and five return touchdowns on special teams. ... Picked South Carolina over Florida and Louisville. ... Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... Playing this week in Texas in the International Bowl.

He said it: "The free safety spot is something I think about. It seems like the right scheme for me up there at South Carolina."

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Devante Covington

9:45 a.m.

DE, 6-4, 235, Rockingham, N.C.

Name

Played two seasons at Georgia Military in Milledgeville, Ga. ... Originally signed with USC in 2013 out of Rockingham County High. ... This season Covington had 39 tackles with 14 tackles for loss and 5 sacks.

He said it: "I'm a pass rusher. That's my job when I get here. That's what I'm going to do - give them what they wants."

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Quandeski Whitlow

9:45 a.m.

DE, 6-4, 220; Opelika High (Opelika, Ala.)

Name

As a senior he had 50 tackles (17.5 for loss), 5.5 sacks and 27 quarterback hurries. Whitlow had 43 tackles and 1.5 sacks as a junior, his first season as a full-time starter at defensive end. (He handled the team’s kickoffs as a sophomore.) ... Picked USC over Louisville and Florida.

He said it: “I love passing rushing. I love playing the run. I just like to be aggressive coming off the edge.”

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AJ Turner

9:20 a.m.

RB, 5-10, 185; Centreville High (Clifton, Va.)

Name

Missed early part of season with wrist injury. In six games, had 64 carries for 743 yards (123.8 average) with 11 touchdowns. ... Considered a three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite. ... Also had offers from ... Participated in Nike's The Opening camp in Oregon. ... Playing in this week's International Bowl in Texas. ... Had offers from Clemson, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin, among others.

He said it: “This place is unbelievable, the people around here. The family atmosphere is unbeatable.”

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Mon Denson

9:10 a.m.

RB, 5-10, 225; LaGrange High (LaGrange, Ga.)

Name

As a senior, 1,300 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. ... Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... Also had offers from North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas and Wisconsin. ... Represented his state in Florida vs. Georgia High School All-Star Game.

He said it: "I just get it and go. Make one move and I'm gone. I can see myself fitting into their offense."

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Kyle Markway

8:45 a.m.

TE, 6-4, 235; St. John Vianney High (St. Louis, Mo.)

Name

As a senior, had 32 catches for 456 yards and four touchdowns. On defense, had 38 tackles (16 for loss), nine sacks and an interception he returned for a touchdown. ... Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... Had offers from Cincinnati, Iowa and Illinois, among others.

He said it: “I couldn’t pass up playing in the SEC playing for the most passionate fans against the best players in the country.”

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Daniel Fennell

8:45 a.m.

LB, 6-2, 205, Grayson High (Loganville, Ga.)

Name

This season he finished with more than 100 tackles, three sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception. ... Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... Chose USC over Georgia Tech, also had offers from Michigan State, Missouri, Wisconsin and Texas A&M, among others.

He said it: "They're in the SEC. They're close. They're good. I saw it as a big opportunity and I wanted to take it."

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Joseph Charlton

8:45 a.m.

PK, 6-4, 190; A.C. Flora High (Columbia, SC)

Name

As a senior, had 26 Kickoffs for touchbacks, a 39-yard punting average and was 4-for-8 on field goals with a long of 48. ... Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... Also had interest from Connecticut, North Carolina and Baylor.

He said it: “It’s an honor to know I’ll be playing for the team I grew up loving.”

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Cory Helms

8:40 a.m.

OL, 6-4, 315; Alpharetta, Ga.

Name

Helms also considered Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Penn State after deciding to transfer from Wake Forest, where he was a freshman All-American center in 2013. Last season he played some guard along with center, but the Gamecocks like him as a center.

He said it: "I have a really good relationship with the players I was around and the recruits who were there. And it's the closest school to my home."

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Christian Pellage

8:30 a.m.

OL, 6-6, 305; Nature Coast Technical High (Brooksville, Fla.)

Name

Under Armour All-American. ... Expected to play tackle for Gamecocks. ... Four-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... Made final decision between USC and Florida.

He said it: "South Carolina just felt right deep down in my heart."

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Jalen Christian

8:30 a.m.

WR, 5-9, 170, Damascus High (Damascus, Md.)

Name

Played in Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl. ... As a senior, had 51 rushes for 434 yards and two scores, as well as 19 catches for 274 yards and five touchdowns. Had 15 tackles, two interceptions on defense. ... Four-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating.

He said it: "I'd be like a Bruce Ellington, a Damiere Byrd type of guy, positions where I can get the ball. And they plan to use me as a punt returner."

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Lorenzo Nunez

8:30 a.m.

QB, 6-2, 190; Harrison High (Kennesaw, Ga.)

Name

As a senior, 68-of-142 passing for 803 yards, two touchdowns, five interceptions; 150 carries for 1,193 yards and 14 touchdowns ... Four-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... Chose USC over NC State and Ohio State.

He said it: "I can extend a play. My first option is to throw but I can move the pocket."

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Trey Derouen

8:30 a.m.

OL, 6-3, 325; Parkview High (Lilburn, Ga.)

Name

Expected to play guard. ... As a senior, average blocking grade for the season was 87 percent. Had 42 pancake blocks and gave up zero sacks. ... Former Mississippi State commitment. ... Also considered Florida, Louisville and Kansas State.

He said it: "Gamecock Nation feels right to me. Plus, the academics are top notch."

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Blake Camper

8:30 a.m.

OL, 6-7, 295; Frank Cox High (Virginia Beach, Va.)

Name

Penciled in as a tackle ... Father played offensive guard for Steve Spurrier's Duke teams ... Former Rutgers commitment. ... Also had offers from Louisville, Maryland, Miami, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia, among others. ... Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating.

He said it: "I've got power now and pretty quick feet. Playing for Coach Spurrier, I just couldn't say no."

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Shameik Blackshear

8:30 a.m.

DE, 6-5, 240; Bluffton High (Bluffton, SC)

Name

Under Armour All-American. ... Had 5 tackles, 2 for loss as a senior but tore an ACL in second game of season. ... Four-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... Also had offers from Clemson, Florida, Florida State, among others. ... Also battled injuries as a junior but had 59 tackles (11 for loss), 5 sacks. ... As a sophomore, 97 tackles, 17 for loss, with 5 sacks. ... Committed to USC on May 21, 2013, as his sophomore year at Bluffton came to a close.

He said it: “When I get on the field, whether I’m the No. 1 player in the country or the last player in the country, I’m going to give it all I’ve got.”

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Connor Redmond

8 a.m.

TE, 6-4, 215; Archer High (Lawrenceville, Ga.)

Name

Limited by injuries early in senior season. In six games, had 12 catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns. ... As a junior in 12 games, had 37 catches for 383 yards and six scores. ... Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... Also had offers from Virginia, Louisville, Kansas State, among others.

He said it: “I grew up with a defensive mindset. When I’m on offense I just want to knock the mess out of somebody.”

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SIGNED - ALREADY ON CAMPUS

Ernest Hawkins

LB, 6-1, 210; Baltimore

Name

Played last at Hartnell College in Salinas, Calif. ... Earned All-Golden Coast Conference defensive honors thanks to 58 tackles, three sacks and three pass breakups. ... Also considered Hawaii and Colorado. ... Originally signed with UTEP out of high school. ... Will have four years to play three. ... Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating.

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Jalen Henry

LB, 5-10, 215; Foley High (Foley, Ala.)

Name

As a senior, had 126 tackles (16.5 for loss), four sacks, two forced fumbles. ... Played in Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game. ... Also considered Southern Miss. Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating.

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Marquavius Lewis

DE, 6-3, 265; Greenwood High (Greenwood, SC)

Name

Played two seasons at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kan. ... As a sophomore, had 63 tackles in 12 games, including 20.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks. He had 21 quarterback hurries, forced two fumbles and recovered one. ... Named the Jayhawk Conference Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-conference. ... Also considered Auburn. ... Four-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... Has two years to play two.

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Christian Owens

WR, 6-5, 200; Griffin High (Griffin, Ga.)

Name

Had 31 catches, 641 yards, eight touchdowns as a senior. ... Tallest of the four receivers USC has in the class. ... Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating. ... Former Georgia commitment.

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Sherrod Pittman

LB, 6-0, 215; First Coast High (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Name

Had 97 tackles (21 for loss), four fumble recoveries and three interceptions his senior season prior to broken leg. ... Comes from same Florida high school as former USC linebacker Shaq Wilson. ... A high school teammate of USC receiver Jerad Washington. ... Also considered Florida, Louisville and Southern California. ... Four-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating.

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Darin Smalls

DB, 5-10, 170, Summerville High (Summerville, SC)

Name

Originally a Class of 2014 signee who needed to complete more academic work. ... Played three games as a senior in 2013 before season-ending ACL injury. Had 10 tackles, returned an interception for a touchdown. Also scored on a 76-yard reception and scored twice on punt returns. ... As a junior, had 58 tackles and five interceptions, including three returned for touchdowns. He also had more than 600 return yards and three scores. ... Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating.

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Jerad Washington

WR, 5-8, 160; First Coast High (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Name

Caught 52 passes for 889 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior. ... Teammate of USC linebacker Sherrod Pittman. ... Helped the Buccaneers under head coach Marty Lee to a 12-1 record as a senior. ... Also had interest from Kentucky and North Carolina. ... Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating.

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Dexter Wideman

DT, 6-4, 295; Saluda High/Camden Military

Name

Originally signed with the Gamecocks in February 2014 out of Saluda High. ... He dislocated his elbow in his third game with Camden Military ... Considered the top prep school recruit in the country by 247Sports. ... Shrine Bowl selection and Under Armour All-American. ... Originally committed to Florida State. ... As a senior at Saluda, had 71 tackles (10.5 for loss), five sacks, 11 quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, three pass breakups, two blocked kicks. ... Four-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating.

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