September 1, 2014

Clemson lands in state lineman for 2014 class

Taylor Hearn

Taylor Hearn

OL Taylor Hearn (6-5 320) of Williston-Elko committed to Clemson Monday night just a couple of days after attending the Tigers’ junior day. Hearn also had an offer from North Carolina and drew the interest of USC, LSU, Mississippi State and NC State. Hearn said after being at Clemson Saturday he knew it was right for him. “It’s just the vibe I get from the coaches,” Hearn said. “I can tell they care about me and want me to do great things.” Hearn plays tackle at this school and is excited about the chance to play for a fast paced offense like Clemson’s. “I’ll enjoy that a good bit,” he said. “I’d like to start my freshman year.” Hearn said his commitment is solid and he won’t be looking anywhere else. He becomes the fifth commitment for Clemson’s 2014 class.

ATH Mykal Moody of Conway committed today to East Carolina.

WR Akia Booker of Byrnes will sign eventually with a junior college.

DE Tyson Holcombe of Byrnes will sign with Central Missouri.

OL Isaiah Pinson of Byrnes will sign with The Citadel.

If a single tweet is to be believed, then it certainly appears that LB Jonathan Walton of Daphne, AL plans to sign with USC Wednesday at 1:00 PM at his school. But outside of last night’s Twitter message, there’s nothing else to go on at this point. “I can’t say one way or another because I’m not 100% sure,” Walton’s coach Phil Lazenby said Monday morning. “It sounds like it (a USC commitment). I’m not going to make his announcement for him. I don’t want to take away from his announcement.” Walton has not commented about his apparent decision other than his tweet Sunday night.

DE Carl Lawson of Alpharetta, GA has ended his recruiting.  Lawson will stick with his commitment to Auburn his coach said Sunday afternoon.  “I haven’t seen him but he sent me a text and said he’s sticking with Auburn,” Milton High coach Howie DeCristofaro said.  Lawson made his official visit to Auburn over the weekend.  “I thought he was sort of leaning towards Clemson before he left.  He just wanted to see if things had changed with the new coach.”  Lawson will officially announce his choice of Auburn on ESPNU on Signing day.

USC is down to four players on its uncommitted board after the apparent commitment of LB Jonathan Walton.  A source said Sunday night the Gamecocks stand the best chance of landing LB Skai Moore and DL Keith Bryant from that group.  The source put the Gamecocks’ odds of landing Moore and Bryant at 60% for each.  The source indicated USC had very little chance of turning LB Tyrell Lyons from Florida State at this point, and almost no chance of landing LB Yannick Ngakoue of Washington, DC.

As for Clemson, the Tigers saw DE Carl Lawson come off their board when he reaffirmed his commitment to Auburn.  That leaves Clemson with five targets still on the board.  Of those, OL Tyrone Crowder is the only lock.  He will sign with Clemson Wednesday.  A source who had contact with DL Montravius Adams over the weekend said Sunday night in his opinion Montravius Adams will choose either Auburn or Alabama.  Adams visited Auburn over the weekend and has also been considering Georgia.  DB Adrian Baker is Clemson or Oklahoma while DB Korrin Wiggins is Clemson, North Carolina or Ohio State.  He’s been a UNC commitment.  And DB Mackensie Alexander is choosing between Clemson, Auburn, Mississippi State, Georgia and Florida with no one having a clue about who he’s favoring at this point.

DL Montravious Adams of Vienna, GA will announce his college decision Wednesday morning at 9:45 AM on ESPNU and is down to Clemson, Auburn, Alabama and Georgia. Monday afternoon Adams said the decision is just about finalized. “I’m 75% of the way there,” Adams said. “It’s going to be a surprise. I can’t really tell you a lot.” Adams has a choice of the SEC or the ACC with the schools on his list and he said the league doesn’t really matter to him. And he said no one single visit stood out. “All the visits were good in their own ways,” he said. “I liked them a lot.” Today he heard from recruiters from each of the schools. As for his comfort level with the decision, Adams said it’s pretty high “I’m ready to get it over with and go play ball,” he said. “I feel good about it. I thought it was the best place for me and was what my momma liked. They’ve got everything for me.”

WR James Clark of New Smyrna Beach, FL Monday revealed his final three choices. Using a photo on his Twitter page, Clark held the caps of Clemson, Florida and Ohio State in his hands to identify the finalists. Clark made an unofficial visit to Florida over the weekend and he earlier took official visits to Clemson and Ohio State. He cut Purdue, Northwestern and Nebraska from his list. Most observers feel the decision is between the Gators and the Buckeyes, especially since Clemson coach Dabo Swinney canceled his in home visit with Clark last week. Clark is scheduled to announce at 9:30 AM on Wednesday.

LB Quinton Powell of Daytona Beach, FL won’t get a NLI from USC despite returning the Gamecocks to his short list after Florida dropped him.  A source said Sunday the Gamecocks will not have room for Powell who also listed Southern Cal, Miami and Oregon on his final list.  Powell never took an official visit to USC.  His only official visits were to Southern Cal and Miami.  He  is scheduled to announce on ESPNU Wednesday at 12:15 PM.

DL Keith Bryant of Delray Beach, FL said Sunday his decision is 100% made.  But he won’t reveal his choice  until his announcement on ESPNU Wednesday.  His decision came down to USC, Florida State and Miami.  “All the visits were good, they were all about the same,” Bryant said.  “I’ll air it out on Wednesday.  Everybody is going to be shocked with how I’m going to do it.”  Bryant said he planned to call his USC recruiter Grady Brown Sunday after missing a call from him over the weekend. Bryant went on a visit to Florida Atlantic over the weekend but the visit ended early Saturday morning.  Bryant said the FAU coaches dismissed him after breakfast Saturday deciding that he wasn’t serious about the school, which he never was.  Bryant added that Southern Cal contacted him Saturday and expressed interest but his decision was already made.

OL Donnell Stanley of Latta attended USC’s junior day Saturday, the latest in several trips he’s made to Columbia.  “It was all pretty good,” Stanley said.  “I toured around the stadium and talked to coaches, and saw the basketball game.  I’ve been there a bunch of times.  They want me to just keep on coming to South Carolina and get my family there for a tour.”  That will happen March 13th when he plans to come in for a  baseball game.  At that time he plans to chat with Gamecock baseball coach Chad Holbrook about possibly playing baseball.  Stanley is a first baseman he hit over .430 last season.  Stanley will go to North Carolina for a junior day February 23rd, and he’ll probably go to Clemson for a baseball game.  He  has a top group of USC, Clemson, North Carolina, Alabama and Ohio State with no favorite.  “I’m looking for a good tradition, a winning school,” Stanley said.  “I’m also looking for good academics and a nice atmosphere.”  Stanley said there is no timeline for a decision and he’s not decided on which national all star game he will play in. Some of his other offers are Notre Dame, Florida  State, LSU, Virginia Tech, NC State and Southern Cal.

2014 LB Chris Register of Greensboro attended Clemson’s junior day Saturday and walked away impressed.  “I really liked it,” said Register.  “I got a chance to see their campus and I really liked it.  I’ve seen their facilities but never the campus.  It’s really nice and not that big, actually.”  Register is not necessarily ready to name his top schools but said that Clemson, NC State and North Carolina have shown the most interest.  “Clemson was the first school to offer me and they have kept talking to me since they’ve offered,” he said.  “I’m definitely very interested in Clemson.”  He plans to visit UNC and NC State in the future.  “I’m going to the (North) Carolina-Duke basketball game…that I know for sure,” said Register.  “I think I’m going to NC State’s junior day too because I have a photo shoot up there the same day.”  He does not have a leader stating, “I’m interested in anyone that is interested in me.  I know some schools are still focusing on their 2013 class so when that’s over, I may hear more from those schools.”

2014 RB Elijah Hood of Charlotte had planned to attend the junior day at Clemson Saturday but was unable to make it.  “I couldn’t get the transportation straight so I didn’t go,” said Hood.  “I’m going to try and reschedule it if I can.”  He named Clemson, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and North Carolina as his top five in no order.  Georgia Tech was his first junior day visit.  “It went pretty well and I really enjoyed it,” he said.  “I like the campus…it sits in the middle of Atlanta.  They have pretty nice facilities and I think I would transition pretty easily into their offense.”  His offers include his top five as well as USC, Florida State, Wake Forest, East Carolina, Virginia Tech, Virginia and NC State among others.  As for USC he said,  “I don’t plan on visiting South Carolina.”  Hood has plans to visit other schools this spring including Notre Dame.  He does not have a leader.

Summerville DB Darin Smalls attended USC’s junior day Saturday.  Smalls has been favoring the Gamecocks since getting their offer and that remains unchanged.  “It’s a pretty big lead,” Smalls said.  “We took a tour and saw the campus and facilities.  Overall I liked it.  I talked the most with coach Grady Brown.  He said I have a lot of opportunity to play because there are five DBs on the field at a time.”  Smalls also has offers from Clemson and Virginia Tech.  He plans to visit Clemson in March and he might visit Tech in April.  Smalls said he’s not sure when he’ll make a final decision.  He was joined on the visit by his teammate, OL Zack Bailey, a 2015 prospect.

LB Shaun Hamilton of Montgomery, AL was back at Clemson Saturday for junior day and had another positive experience.  “It went real good,” Hamilton said.  “I enjoyed spending time with the coaches and seeing some new things I hadn’t seen at Clemson before.  I liked walking down The Hill and seeing Howard’s Rock.”  Hamilton said he talked mostly with defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Venables.  “They were telling me how badly they want me and that I would be a priority for Clemson,” Hamilton said.  USC recently offered Hamilton and he has interest in the Gamecocks as well.  He has talked to USC coaches Grady Brown and Lorenzo Ward and he plans to visit.  Michigan State offered him Friday and he also has offers from Auburn, Miami, Tennessee, Florida State, Georgia Tech, UCLA and Texas Tech.  Hamilton visited Auburn Friday before coming to Clemson.  Right now he does not have favorites nor a decision timetable.

RB CJ Fuller of Easley holds a Clemson offer and favors the Tigers, so Saturday’s junior day would have been a perfect time to become a 2014 commitment.  But the two thousand yard rusher fought off any temptation.  “I didn’t feel like I was ready ready,” Fuller said.  “I want to give it some more time.  They never try to pressure me to commit.”  Fuller said the day went very well for him.  “The whole day went smooth,” he said.  “I learned a lot about the program.  I talked to coach Elliott and he said don’t be a stranger, talk to him and stay in contact.  He wants me to grow as a player and as an individual.”  Fuller also plays cornerback and the Tigers told him he could play either position there. He prefers running back.  Fuller said Maryland appears close to offering and he will go to Georgia Tech for a junior day March 9th.

Long time USC lean DE Bryson Allen-Williams of Ellenwood, GA  attended the USC junior day Saturday and the Gamecocks remain his very strong favorite.  “I had a great visit,” Allen-Williams said.  “I spent a lot of time talking with coach Ward.  And I had a good sit down conversation with coach Spurrier.  He was telling me about the things they have done and are going to do and how he wants me to be a part of it.”   As strong as Williams is on USC, he’s not ready to make a commitment because he wants to make other visits and doesn’t ever want to be in a position to make a decommitment.  He will visit UCLA next weekend and Georgia the weekend after that.  Some of his other offers are Clemson, Florida, Southern Cal, Washington, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, NC State, Duke and Missouri.  He has had Clemson, Southern Cal, Florida, UCLA, Washington and Georgia Tech in his top group behind USC.  He has set August 9th for his announcement date.