It started with cornerback Wesley Green from Martin Luther King High School in Lithonia, Ga. He chose the Gamecocks over offers from such schools as Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Clemson and Ohio State.
“I just felt that it was a good vibe from South Carolina,” Green told Rivals.com. “The academic situation was to my liking. They have everything I need to be successful in college.
“As a student-athlete it’s hectic and you need every resource you can to get by in college. I like the facility as well. It’s not that far from the stadium. I have a chance to play at sold out games. My dad likes it a lot as well.”
Green’s commitment to South Carolina was followed by pledges from cornerback Darin Smalls from Summerville (S.C.) High School and defensive end Jhaustin Thomas from Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.
Smalls, whose offer list included Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Clemson, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech, said he went ahead and committed to South Carolina to ensure he didn’t lose a spot.
“Teams now can only sign so many people, so it’s better to be early than late,” he told Rivals.
South Carolina appears to just be getting started with its 2014 class. The Gamecocks have eight commitments, which is ahead of only Arkansas (five commitments) in the SEC.
That shouldn’t alarm South Carolina fans. The Gamecocks have plenty of quality in their class, which includes linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams from Cedar Grove High School in Ellenwood, Ga.
Allen-Williams, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 20 outside linebacker by Rivals, predicted after he committed in April that he would be able to help South Carolina land several highly-touted prospects, including Green.
“That boy Bryson, he would just come out of nowhere with ‘GamecockNation, GamecockNation,’” Green told Rivals. “We went to a lot of camps together and took like three trips together. He’s a pretty cool dude. We’re pretty tight.”
South Carolina could see another addition to its class next week.
Wide receiver Shaq Davidson from Gaffney (S.C.) High School will announce his choice on Tuesday. His friend, basketball prospect L.J. Peak, will also announce on Tuesday and hinted via twitter that he and Davidson might choose the same school. That would signal good news for South Carolina.
Another defensive prospect, tackle Abu Lamin from Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College, recently named South Carolina his leader. A trip to Arkansas on July 19 appears to be the only thing standing in the way of a commitment.
“They are going to try to flip my mind but right now the Gamecocks are my number one,” Lamin said. “It’s a really, really strong lead.”
That goes with a strong week for South Carolina, which eight days ago looked like it was struggling on the recruiting trail, at least in terms of its commitment list. Green’s commitment – and statement that followed – helped ease that concern.
“If not this year, but next year when we come in hopefully we can bring South Carolina its first SEC championship and first BCS championship and just make our fans proud,” Green said.
Carter working on his Top 10
Highly-touted defensive end Lorenzo Carter from Norcross (Ga.) High School has a scholarship offer from almost every school in the country.
That’s probably one reason Carter has had a difficult time narrowing his options. He told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he hopes to have a smaller list of schools by the end of July.
“I’m trying to get a Top 10 out,” Carter said. I think I’m pretty close. Hopefully I will get that down after some more visits. Actually, it might be less than 10. It might be like a Top 8 or 7.”
Carter said Alabama and Georgia are sure to be on the list.
Florida has also made a strong push after a recent visit from Carter. He told the AJC he’s impressed with Florida head coach Will Muschamp and defensive line coach Brad Lawing.
“With Florida, I just had a great time when I went,” Carter said. “I think my parents have a good relationship with Coach Muschamp. They like him. And I feel like (Lawing) can make me a better defensive end. I’d be honored to work with him.”
Florida is off to a good start recruiting the defensive line, landing commitments from tackles Khairi Clark from Hollywood, Fla., and Anthony Moten from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. A defensive end like Carter would be a nice complement to the class.
Other schools in the mix for Carter include Florida State, Ohio State, Oregon and Notre Dame.
Scarbrough planning visits
Bo Scarbrough is still committed to Alabama, but that isn’t keeping the running back from Tuscaloosa County High School in Northport, Ala., from considering other schools.
“I’m also looking at Florida and Georgia,” Scarbrough told ESPN RecruitingNation. “I will visit Georgia next month and I’ll visit Florida on July 26 for Friday Night Lights.”
Scarbrough, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 2 running back by ESPN, was the first prospect to commit to Alabama’s 2014 class. His cousin, tight end C’yontai Lewis from Northridge High School in Tuscaloosa, Ala., is committed to Florida. Scarbrough said Lewis has pressured his cousin to take a stronger look at the Gators.
“He’s on me kind of tough,” Scarbrough told ESPN. “If Alabama were to offer him, of course I’m going to recruit him to come roll with the Tide.”
That should make Alabama fans feel better. And really, Crimson Tide fans have very little reason to worry. Alabama signed a strong class of running backs in 2013 and have been active recruiting the position despite Scarbrough’s commitment.
One of Alabama’s top targets is Leonard Fournette from New Orleans. The nation’s top running back according to ESPN has shown strong interest in Alabama, although there’s plenty of competition. Fournette has indicated he will take his time before making a decision.
More hype for Moses
The hype surrounding eighth-grade football prospect Dylan Moses has been well documented.
Expect it to grow even more now that he’s landed the cover of ESPN The Magazine.
The athlete from Baton Rouge, La., has offers from schools all over the country, including Alabama, Florida, LSU, Florida State and Texas.
Moses, who will enter the ninth grade this fall, is currently the face of a growing trend of offering prospects before they reach high school. But he isn’t the first prospect to receive a scholarship offer before playing a down of high school football.
Quarterback David Sills from Elkton, Md., committed to Southern California in 2010 when he was in the seventh grade. The rising junior is still committed to USC and is considered one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2015 class.
The decision by college coaches to offer scholarships to middle schoolers has bothered some people. David Climer of The Tennessean called the idea a “bit absurd” last week.
In some ways it is. But don’t lose perspective with it.
These scholarship offers are not binding.
Moses could go ahead and give his commitment to LSU coach Les Miles, but he wouldn’t be obligated to honor the offer if Moses doesn’t progress the way he’s expected to in the next four years. And Moses certainly wouldn’t have to honor his commitment. Both sides know that.
The practice of offering a prospect when he’s in the seventh, eighth or ninth grade is not hurting schools’ recruiting efforts. These kids are going to attend camps whether they receive unofficial offers or not.
There’s very little the NCAA can do about it. There’s already a rule in place telling schools when they’re allowed to send an official offer in writing. It would be difficult to punish a school for giving a prospect a verbal invitation.
And that hype surrounding Moses? It could turn out to be real. The ESPN piece explains why.