High School Sports

Recruiting: Coaching uncertainty sways recruits

THE FALLOUT FROM Clemson’s coaching change continues to reverberate through the Tigers’ recruiting efforts. Offensive lineman J.K. Jay (6-foot-7, 275 pounds) of Christ Church was a solid pledge, but he said last week he will now take all five of his official visits. Jay has scheduled a trip to Kentucky for this weekend. He also plans to set dates with Georgia, Tennessee and Miami along with Clemson. Jay told CUTigers.com he remains committed to Clemson but would serious consider the other schools if the current staff were not retained.

Another Clemson commitment, running back Roderick McDowell (5-10, 175) of Sumter, said Clemson is “keeping me in the loop,” but he’s also now considering setting official visits to USC and Kentucky. McDowell planned to make an unofficial visit to USC for the Tennessee game.

And wide receiver Jheranie Boyd (6-3, 185) of Gastonia, N.C., who at one time favored Clemson, is no longer considering the Tigers. He plans to announce this week for Oklahoma, N.C. State, Illinois, Missouri or North Carolina.

The Tigers apparently don’t have to worry about linebacker Eric Fields (6-3, 215) of Warner Robins, Ga. He recently took an official visit to Georgia but was not swayed from his Clemson commitment.

Clemson commitment offensive lineman Brandon Thomas (6-4, 285) of Dorman suffered a torn ACL in the Byrnes game late last month. He will need surgery and will miss the rest of the season and the Shrine Bowl. Thomas has been holding to his Clemson commitment but he plans to take official visits to USC and North Carolina along with Clemson.

Former Clemson commitment, athlete Larry Raper (5-11, 165) of Shelby, N.C., made an unofficial visit to USC for the Tennessee game. He’s also been looking at North Carolina and Tennessee along with Clemson.

Defensive back Branden Smith (5-11, 65) of Atlanta, has not totally closed the door on Clemson, though he doesn’t have the Tigers in his visit plans. He has visited Tennessee and Florida and has dates set with Auburn, Florida State and Georgia.

Beaufort defensive end Duane Chisolm (6-4, 245) has scheduled official visits to N.C. State Jan. 10 and USC Jan. 24. He’s also looking at Alabama, Florida State and Georgia for visits.

Wide receiver Stedman Bailey (5-11, 185) of Miramar, Fla., has visited Wisconsin and is scheduled to visit West Virginia this weekend. He also plans to set official visits with USC, South Florida and Mississippi. He said his USC visit probably will take place in December.

Rock Hill native defensive back Jonathan Meeks (6-2, 193) of Hargrave prep, Va., has emerged as a major prospect this fall. He has made an official visit to North Carolina and plans to visit Tennessee and Florida. USC and Clemson also have offered and he attended the LSU-USC game on an unofficial visit. He also has offers from N.C. State and Virginia Tech.

USC offered offensive lineman James Carpenter (6-5, 300) of Coffeyville JC, Kan., last week, and he is scheduled for an official visit this weekend. He has visited Iowa State and is also set to visit Texas Tech Nov. 15, Mississippi on the 29th and Alabama Dec. 6. Carpenter is a native of Augusta.

USC is interested in defensive back Pat Burris Jr. (5-11, 175) of South Pointe and is evaluating him for a possible offer. Burris, whose father played at Arkansas and uncle played at Notre Dame and in the NFL, has an offer from Buffalo and is also drawing interest from N.C. State and Coastal Carolina, among others.

Wide receiver Rico Sanders (5-11, 185) of Byrnes planned to be at the USC-Tennessee game Saturday. He getting the most interest right now from USC, Florida, Florida State and Auburn. He’s also talked recently with Clemson and expects the Tigers to get back in the picture.

Calhoun County athlete David Sims (6-0, 215) has loosened up on his commitment to Kentucky and is now looking at Georgia Tech. He took an unofficial visit there for the Virginia game. Tech is recruiting Sims as a quarterback and he feels he would fit in with their option offense. He plans to set official visits to Kentucky, Georgia Tech and Kansas. He’s also looking at Tennessee for a visit. USC has been recruiting Sims as a running back but he said after the Gamecocks got a commitment from Ben Axon, his interest in them decreased.

Defensive back Jonathan Scott (6-4, 185) of Daytona Beach, Fla., has taken official visits to West Virginia and Alabama and is scheduled to visit USC this weekend. He also is looking at Florida State and LSU. Alabama is his favorite.

Timberland offensive lineman Quinton Washington (6-4, 315) has taken an official visit to Michigan and plans to set visits with USC and Clemson. He’s also looking at Miami, Tennessee and Alabama for possible visits. Washington planned to make an unofficial visit to USC for the Tennessee game.

Defensive end Izaan Cross (6-5, 253) of Flowery Branch, Ga., has not set any visits but would like to with USC, Clemson, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Arkansas. Georgia Tech is his current favorite.

USC remains the favorite of running back Travis Ward (5-9, 203) of Fort Lauderdale though the Gamecocks have not offered. Ward talked with recruiter Robert Gillespie last week and plans to set a visit after the season. Ward has offers from Kansas, Troy and Toledo.

Running back Dontae Aycock (5-10, 215) of Tampa has not set his visits but plans to do so with USC, Georgia Tech, Louisville and Mississippi.

Defensive back Mywan Jackson (6-0, 180) of Seffer, Fla., has visited North Carolina and is scheduled to see Michigan Nov. 15. He also plans to visit Louisville and is considering USC, Auburn, Purdue and Illinois for his other visits.

Linebacker Roderick Blunt (6-2, 210) of Miramar, Fla., is planning to make an unofficial visit to Clemson for the USC game. He is considering the Tigers and the Gamecocks but is not sure, at this point, of their interest in him.

USC has interest in offensive lineman Jeff Vinson (6-8, 315) of Lackawanna JC, Pa., but has not officially offered. “They are supposed to scout me at some point, Vinson, said, “and they want to see my transcripts.” Vinson has visited Oklahoma and has offers from the Sooners, Jackson State and Illinois State. He’s favoring Oklahoma.

Defensive back Justin Green (5-10, 180) of Louisville, Ky., had planned to make an official visit to USC over the weekend but had to scratch the trip and hopes to reschedule. Green, who has been committed to Ohio State, is scheduled to visit Clemson for the USC weekend.

Quarterback A.J. Graham (6-4, 202) of Tallahassee continues to hear from Clemson. He has offers from the Tigers, Kansas State, Illinois, Central and Michigan.

USC signee defensive back Darrell Simmons of Atlanta has been at home this semester but will enroll at Butler JC, Kan., in January and play the 2009 season there. He has not heard from USC in a couple of months but still wants to play for the Gamecocks.

Basketball news. USC recruiter Scott Cherry was to be at Keith Clanton’s (6-8) practice in Orlando last Thursday. Clanton is trying to decide between USC, Central Florida and South Florida.

USC and Clemson target junior Ian Miller (6-2) of Charlotte committed to Florida State.