High School Sports

Bowden fallout hits Clemson class hard

THE RESIGNATION OF Clemson coach Tommy Bowden continues to impact the recruiting world.

Last week, three former Clemson commitments turned their attention elsewhere: defensive back Devonte Holloman (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) of South Pointe, defensive back Craig Loston (6-3, 210) of Aldine, Texas, and athlete Larry Raper (5-10, 160) of Shelby, N.C.

Holloman visited USC over the weekend. He plans to visit LSU this weekend and North Carolina next weekend. Holloman, who also visited Tennessee, said he had a very good visit with the Gamecocks, but after being set with Clemson, he is uncertain.

“I don’t know what to think,” Holloman said. “I’m just looking for the best place for me.”

Loston, who had previously reopened his search but kept Clemson on his list, now is focused on LSU, Oregon, Texas and Texas A&M. Raper is looking at USC, North Carolina and Tennessee along with Clemson. Clemson and Duke are his two offers. He plans to make an unofficial visit to North Carolina this weekend for the Boston College game.

Among other players committed to the Tigers, running back Roderick McDowell (5-10, 175) of Sumter, offensive lineman Brandon Thomas (6-4, 285) of Dorman and running back Ben Axon (6-2, 190) of Bradenton, Fla., said last week their commitments remain — but they are shaky at best. McDowell said he likely will visit USC, Kentucky and two others. Thomas said he would look at USC and others.

Axon set a visit with West Virginia and plans to set one with USC.

“I’m let down by the (Clemson) coaching staff,” Axon said. “I don’t think (interim) coach (Dabo) Swinney will be back. I think they are going to clean out the whole offensive staff. Right now, it’s not looking pretty for me and Clemson. I’m going to wait for two more weeks and see how things work out.”

For his part, Swinney and his staff are doing all they can to hold the class together.

“What we will do is talk to all of our committed guys and all the guys we are recruiting actively and let them know, don’t give up on Clemson,” Swinney said. “This is a football program that is in good shape. Whether it’s me or whoever else that comes in here, it’s going to be a great opportunity to build a big-time winner here.”

Defensive back Branden Smith (5-11, 170) of Atlanta canceled his visit to Clemson and replaced it with a trip to Florida State for the Florida game. He has visited Florida and is scheduled to visit Tennessee and Auburn.

Defensive lineman Deion Roberson (6-3, 258) of Tucker, Ga., likes Clemson, and Bowden’s resignation has not changed his feelings. The Tigers have kept in touch but have not offered. Roberson is scheduled to visit Louisville on Nov. 22 and West Virginia on Dec. 6. He also has offers from N.C. State, Memphis, Maryland and East Carolina.

Wide receiver Jheranie Boyd (6-3, 185) of Gastonia, N.C., remains very interested in Clemson despite the coaching change.

“I don’t think it affects my decision,” he said. “It all depends on who they get as a coach.”

Boyd has visited Oklahoma and N.C. State. He also is looking at Illinois for a visit.

Calhoun County wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey (6-3, 217) made an unofficial visit to USC on Saturday for the LSU game. It was his third unofficial visit with the Gamecocks this season. Jeffrey said last week he remains “95 percent committed” to Southern Cal, but he plans to set visits with South Carolina and Kentucky. Jeffrey was noncommittal when asked if he will stick to his Southern Cal commitment.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s just going to come down to signing day.”

Daniel defensive back and Virginia Tech commitment Jerrodd Williams (6-0, 185) is still interested in the Gamecocks and is considering an official visit. He has offers from the Gamecocks and Hokies.

USC-bound linebacker Tony Straughter (6-1, 211) of Georgia Military JC plans to visit Mississippi on Nov. 1 and West Virginia on Dec. 6.

Straughter’s teammate and fellow USC-bound linebacker Josh Dickerson (6-2, 220) said he will visit West Virginia and Tennessee.

Alabama-bound defensive end Anthony Orr (6-5, 260) of Harvest, Ala., said he is considering visits to Clemson, LSU and Tennessee.

Linebacker Mike Marry (6-3, 210) of Largo, Fla., remains interested in USC, and he plans to visit Michigan and Iowa State.

Defensive end Justin Jones (6-8, 250) of Conyers, Ga., made an unofficial visit to USC for the LSU game and is very interested in the Gamecocks. He plans to visit USC, Alabama and possibly Vanderbilt.

Defensive back Justin Green (5-10, 180) of Louisville, an Ohio State commitment, has set a visit to USC for Nov. 1.

Running back Rodney Scott (5-10, 195) of Cross City, Fla., an Auburn commitment, has scheduled a visit to USC for Dec. 13.

Offensive lineman James Carpenter (6-5, 300) of Coffeyville (Kan.) JC was scheduled for a visit to Iowa State during the weekend. He continues to talk with USC and is sending new video to line coach John Hunt this week. He hopes to set a visit with the Gamecocks. He plans to visit Texas Tech on Nov. 8.

Wide receiver Eric Williams (5-11, 185) of Bradenton, Fla., plans to visit with USC, Mississippi and Purdue.

Tucker, Ga., linebacker Jonathan Davis (5-9, 205) made an unofficial visit to USC on Saturday. He includes USC and Clemson among his top five.

Greenwood defensive back D.J. Swearinger (6-0, 200) made an unofficial visit to USC for the LSU game. Despite being committed to Tennessee, he is giving the Gamecocks a hard look. He said he will set visits with USC and Tennessee. He will go to Knoxville this weekend for the Alabama game and will return to USC when the Gamecocks play the Vols.

Basketball news. Keith Clanton of Orlando plans to have a decision this week. His top teams are USC, Central Florida and South Florida.

Baseball news. USC landed a commitment from infielder Adrian Morales (5-9, 175) of Miami Dade (Fla.) College.

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