November 25, 2015

#STRecruiting: DL Rashan Gary considering Clemson and others for visits

Rashan Gary

Rashan Gary

DL Rashan Gary of Paramus, NJ has taken official visits to Michigan and Ole Miss.  This weekend he will take visited number three to Auburn for the Iron Bowl.  According to his mother, Gary is set for Southern Cal January 16th.  That leaves one official visit spot to fill, and he may take that and some more unofficial visits. Clemson is in line for one of those stops.

“We only did a day trip to Clemson and he needs two full days,” said Gary’s mother Jennifer Coney whose brother lives in Anderson.  “We plan to take a couple of days in January to come down to Clemson, Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State on our own.  We want him to be comfortable.  We want to do what we want to do and see what we want to see…the campus, the students, the coaching staff when things are normal.”

LSU is another school Gary visited spending three days there.  His mother said she doesn’t expect a return visit to Baton Rouge.

Ms. Coney said they won’t take any December visits because Gary will be focusing on academics and getting ready for the Under Armour All American Game.

At this point, Gary’s mother does not see a favorite emerging for her son.

“He has a lot of schools he likes but he doesn’t have a favorite,” she said.  “I want him to have a favorite.  I want him to go on a campus and say, ‘this is it.’  It’s not easy.”

USC had been involved with Gary early on and he visited there in April, the same time he visited Clemson, but his mother said they haven’t heard from the Gamecocks.

Gary has said he will make a commitment announcement at the Under Armour game on January 2nd.


Talking Tuesday: Swinney is serious about his concern over USC (AUDIO)

The Tigers hope to celebrate another win over USC

The Tigers hope to celebrate another win over USC

Number three on the list of Dabo Swinney’s team goals as posted on the wall of the big meeting room in the West EndZone is “win the state championship.”  The first two goals,  “win the opener” and “win the Atlantic Division”, have been checked off.

The Gamecocks are up next and the Tigers are big favorites to win the Palmetto Bowl for the second year in a row. On paper, there is no comparison.  Clemson, the number one team in the country, is highly ranked in most major offensive and defensive statistical categories.  USC, which is 3-8 and losers of four in a row including last week to FCS opponent The Citadel, is ranked near the bottom nationally in those same categories.

None of that means a hill of beans to Clemson coach Dabo Swinney as he prepares his team for the state championship.  At his weekly press conference, he was full of praise and knowledge about the Gamecocks and made his respect for the opponent abundantly clear.

Some key comments from Swinney:

  • This has been a team that’s easy to coach. Great leadership. But it’s about what’s next.
  • There are a lot of challenges for their defense in getting ready for USC. They do a lot in terms of their play calling.
  • Pharoh Cooper is as good a player as there is in the ACC and around the country.
  • They have good players on offense and good up front. Said they have a lot of depth on their defensive line.
  • Thinks they are good at linebacker and the secondary has gotten more aggressive down the stretch and has made some plays.
  • USC went to A&M and Tennessee and had a chance to win and had a chance to be Florida so they have plenty of respect for them.
  • They are in good shape health wise and has everybody ready to go. Had a good practice last night.
  • McCloud was tested in practice yesterday and will get more work today. Crowder actually practiced yesterday and Gallman will play.
  • Just lose this game and realize how special it is. And he has players who have lost to USC so his team knows how big it is.
  • There is no more consistent program in the nation on and off the field than his.

AUDIO: Dabo Swinney

AUDIO: Jordan Leggett

AUDIO: Wayne Gallman


Clemson leads the series 66-42-4 including 49-32-3 in Columbia.

Clemson’s last win in Columbia was in 2007 23-21.

USC has won five of the last six in the series, Clemson broke a five game losing streak last season.

This will be the 107th consecutive year of the rivalry game, second longest in the nation.

Clemson’s 66 wins over USC represents 9.4 percent of Clemson’s all time (700) wins.

The eight game disparity in wins between the teams is the largest ever in the series.

Clemson’s #1 ranking makes this the first time one of the teams is ranked #1 going into the game.

Clemson has won 68% of the games when it goes in with the better record.

Clemson owns the nation’s longest active winning streak at 14.


#STRecruiting: OL John Simpson won’t attend this weekend’s Palmetto Bowl

John Simpson

John Simpson

USC’s chance to entertain Fort Dorchester OL John Simpson for one more home game has gone by the board with his decision not to attend this Saturday’s season finale against Clemson.  Simpson confirmed his plans Monday night.

“As of right now I’m not going,” he said adding that he’s not sure if his touted teammate 2018 QB Dakereon Joyner will attend.

The primary reason for not going to Columbia is that he’s missed the last two weekends of work at the restaurant where he works in downtown Charleston.  But Simpson also said the staff turnover at USC, including the possibility former offensive line coach and current interim head coach Shawn Elliott won’t be back, has diminished his interest in the Gamecocks.

“I really like Coach Elliott and that’s the only reason why I’m still like focusing on Carolina because Coach Elliott is such a good coach like I’ve been saying,” Simpson said.  “I’m not really sure who is going to be there next and stuff like that.”

Simpson has taken an official visit to LSU and he plans to set trips to Florida and Clemson.  Florida will be the next official visit but he hasn’t set the date.   He said Florida and Clemson are 50-50 at the top of his list.  He visited Florida for the spring game and wants to get another close up look at the Gators.

As for USC and the new coach, Simpson said he will be willing to give them the opportunity to recruit him and he will wait on a decision until after he gets to meet with them.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” he said.  “I want to stay open and see everything.  I’m not trying to rush or make any wrong decisions.”

Simpson is scheduled to announce his decision January 9th at the US Army  All American Game.


#STRecruiting: New USC staff has some work to do with WR Dre Massey

Dre Massey

Dre Massey

USC once led for Mauldin native and Holmes JC, MS WR Dre Massey.  Now in a field of three, the Gamecocks rank third.  Massey said Monday night he’s favoring Florida with Oklahoma second and USC third on the list.  He’s coming off an official visit to Oklahoma and headed to another this weekend at Florida.

He said his USC official is set for December 4th when he’s expecting to meet the new head coach. That visit could be delayed if no coach has been named but the Gamecocks can’t wait too long to bring  him in because he is graduating in December.

“Oklahoma was nice, I enjoyed it, it was a good experience,” Massey said.  “They made sure I knew where I stand with them and now bad they want me.  They let me know I’m taking Shep’s (Sterling Shepard) place and showing me all the things I’ll be doing.”

Massey said he also was impressed by the facilities and the ongoing renovation of the stadium.  The visit proved to be an eye-opener for him.

“It was a lot better than I expected,” he said.  “I didn’t know too much about Oklahoma. Growing up on the East Coast you don’t really see them on TV.  Everybody knows about them but I wasn’t too highly on them.”

Massey said he talked recently with USC receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr. and he’s doing his best to keep him in the loop with the Gamecocks.

“He’s just making sure we’re still good and basically seeing where my head is at and just talking,” Massey said.  “He was just kind of touching base.  I don’t think he knows too much about what is going on.”

Massey said everything remains the same with him following the Oklahoma visit though the three schools may be bunched a little tighter.

“I want to see how these next few weeks go because I haven’t visiting the schools,” he said.  “I just visited Oklahoma. I’ll know pretty much after these visits what’s going on.”

Massey added that Auburn is still in the mix but “not too much.”


#STRecruiting: Official visit to Wisconsin has RB CJ Freeman thinking

CJ Freeman

CJ Freeman

USC commitment RB CJ Freeman of Greensboro, NC made an official visit to Wisconsin over the weekend and the result was a somewhat weakened USC commitment though committed he remains.

“It was a great visit, something I enjoyed,” Freeman said.  “I’m thinking about a great opportunity.  They do not have a running back commitment at the moment.  They are really short at running back.  The coaches are all telling me they want me.  I’m a top priority.  They are only offering three running backs.  They are trying to get me to come on board and be an early impact, the first one helping out.  It’s something I’m definitely thinking about and talking to my parents about.  My thought process will be better after I take all of my visits.”

Freeman also has taken an official visit to Georgia Southern.  He plans to visit Louisville and USC in December and then finalize is plans because he’s an early graduate.

Freeman visited USC for the Florida game and he’s been contacted by athletics director Ray Tanner who has been encouraging the Gamecock commitments to hold true to their word.

“He told me they plan on knowing who the coaching staff is by the first or second week in December,” Freeman said. “He told me they definitely want me.  He feels like the program is turning around and they need me to be a part of it.  I still feel committed but this visit made me think about possibilities.  But I’m still committed to them.”  Freeman said he plans to make another visit to USC Saturday for the Clemson game.

Freeman had a career high 304 yards on a career high 34 carries and scored two touchdowns in a playoff win last Friday night.  He has rushed for 1581 yards and 19 touchdowns this season.