April 19, 2014

Gamecocks rise to the top of Washington’s list

Devin Washington

DE Devin Washington of Orlando recently cut his long list of offers to ten. Now, he has a #1. “University of South Carolina is #1 on my list,” Washington tweeted. Gamecock recruiter Everette Sands was by Washington’s school Monday, and Washington plans to visit USC over the Memorial Day holiday. Many other recruiters have been thru Washington’s school this week including ones from Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Illinois, Purdue, South Florida, Mississippi State, Stanford, Missouri and Minnesota. Washington also picked up a new offer from Minnesota.

QB Connor Mitch of Raleigh, NC committed to USC Tuesday night. He announced his pledge on Twitter. “JUST COMMITTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA!!!!!!” is how Mitch put it. His official commitment was made earlier to Gamecock head coach Steve Spurrier who was in Charlotte to speak to a group of fans. “He was real excited for me to join the family,” Mitch said. Mitch chose the Gamecocks over offers from LSU, Alabama, North Carolina, Auburn, Florida and several others. He said the decision came down to USC and LSU. “I was just more and more comfortable and it was the right fit for me,” he said. “I have a great relationship with Coach Spurrier and Coach Mangus. They said they needed a quarterback and wanted me to be a part of the family.” Mitch visited USC for a junior day in late February and made a couple of spring practice visits. He also attended the spring game. He also took visits to Alabama, LSU, Florida, Auburn and North Carolina. Last season Mitch passed for 3900 yards and 51 touchdowns as a junior. “I’m very accurate and I come prepared,” Mitch said. “I live for the film room.” And he said his commitment is final. “My family believes in loyalty,” he said. “When I say I’m committed, then I’m committed.”

USC has been actively recruiting two quarterbacks…Connor Mitch and Kevin Olsen. Mitch committed to the Gamecocks Tuesday night. Does Olsen, an Elite 11 selection from Wayne, NJ, automatically drop the Gamecocks? His father and coach, Chris Olsen, was not aware of the Mitch commitment until contacted for this story. “I think, in that position, it’s best to go where there’s just one in the class,” Coach Olsen said. “One usually ends up leaving. But we’ll see what happens. Coach Mangus is coming in again next week. He still likes Miami, Wisconsin and Auburn.” Mangus visited with the Olsens last week. Alabama was just in to see Olsen and Oregon has also been talking to him. Coach Olsen said he expects a decision will be made in the next couple of weeks.

OL Corey Helms of Alpharetta has picked up several offers in the last two weeks. South Alabama and Troy were the first two schools to pull the trigger. “I’ve waited a long time!” said Helms. “A ton of schools are about to (offer).” A day later, Middle Tennessee joined in offering Helms and on May 1st, North Carolina and Syracuse became the first two BCS schools to offer him. South Florida and Colorado State are the latest to offer. “They offered me today,” Helms said. Clemson and USC continue to show interest in Helms and he has named Clemson as one of his top schools. Other schools showing interest include Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, UCLA, Louisiana Tech, California, Central Florida and Alabama. Helms did not name a leader and is remaining patient. He expects several more offers this summer.

OL Ethan Pocic of Lemont, IL will be visiting LSU and Auburn this Memorial Day weekend. It will be his second trip to Auburn and first to LSU. “I like both schools,” said Pocic. “I just want to check out LSU to see what it’s like.” Though his school does not have spring practices, Pocic is receiving coaches from several schools. Southern Cal, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Oregon have been by his school to talk to the lineman. “They all want me to come visit them,” he said. Pocic is approaching 30 offers making it difficult for him to narrow his list. “I don’t really know when I’ll get to it,” admitted Pocic. “I’m just looking for a place that I feel comfortable. I want to be comfortable with the players and coaches and I want to win some ball games.” Pocic continues to hear from Clemson and would like to  visit the Upstate. “I just got to figure out when I can do it,” he said. “They keep telling me they want me to come down.” He does not have any preferences to conferences and distance to home will not be an issue. Pocic is unsure when he will be ready to make a decision. His offers include Clemson, Illinois, Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, Tennessee, Arkansas, Arizona, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Iowa, Southern Cal, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Florida, Florida State, Auburn, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

LB Kight Dallas of Lithonia, GA committed to USC in early April remains strong with that pledge. However, it will not prevent him from taking other visits. Dallas is planning trips to Houston and Arkansas over the summer and is considering a third trip to Ole Miss. “I’ll visit South Carolina a couple of more times this summer,” he added. Other than the Gamecocks, Dallas has offers from North Carolina, NC State, Houston, Troy, Auburn and Wake Forest with interest from Texas A&M, Arkansas, Southern Cal, California and Mississippi State. His team had their spring game last week and is done with spring drills. “A lot of schools came by to see me,” Dallas said. “Coach (Lorenzo) Ward was there. He couldn’t talk to me too much but he said they’re happy to have me.” 

Basketball News:

6-5 Thaddeus Hall of Brooklyn, who committed to USC last month, has not yet signed a letter of intent with the Gamecocks. That’s likely because he took the SAT May 5th and has not yet received his score, and the Gamecocks want to see how he stands from a qualifying standpoint before signing him. “I have not gotten the letter (of intent) from them,” Hall said. “I’m still committed. I talked to them about a week ago.”