October 24, 2014

#STRecruiting: Georgia ATH Hardman to see his first game at Clemson Saturday

Mecole Hardman

Mecole Hardman

Clemson and USC are among the top five for junior ATH Mecole Hardman (5-11 170) of Berton, GA. Hardman visited USC when the Gamecocks hosted Georgia and he will take in his first Clemson game Saturday.

“South Carolina was crazy,” Hardman said. “Williams-Brice is one of the best atmospheres I’ve seen. They’re fans are crazy and it was great to see them pull out a big win over Georgia.”

This weekend Hardman returns to the Palmetto State.

“This is going to be my first game at Death Valley and I can’t wait to see them run down that hill,” he said. “I talk to Clemson a lot. I talk to coach (Tony) Elliott about once a week and I’ve talked to Dabo Swinney a few times. I’m really feeling Clemson.”

Tennessee leads for Hardman with Clemson, USC, Georgia and Florida all even after the Volunteers. He plans to return to Clemson for the “Battle of the Palmetto State” in November. It will be Hardman’s third look at the Tigers. He was at Clemson’s  season-opener in Athens.

His other visits this season have been to  Tennessee and Georgia Southern. He also plans to attend the Georgia-Auburn game and the Tennessee-Missouri game this season.

Hardman has been dealing with a knee injury that has sidelined him for most of the season.

“I have only played in two games and got hurt in the first quarter of the third game,” he said. “I’ve been rehabbing and trying to get my speed back up.  Hopefully, I’ll be cleared to play next week.”

#STRecruiting: Clemson and USC sitting in strong shape with Lamar

Tre Lamar

Tre Lamar

Junior  LB Tre Lamar (6-3 230) of Roswell, GA remains strong on USC and Clemson. Both are among his top five. Lamar attended the USC-Georgia game and plans to attend the Clemson-USC game at the end of the season.

“I still talk to Clemson a lot,” Lamar said. “In fact, I talked to coach (Tony) Elliott today. He just wanted to see how I was doing and told me that I need to come up there for a night game against a rival to see what the atmosphere is like.”

It will be his second trip to Clemson. Lamar attended the SC State game at Death Valley earlier in the season.

Lamar spoke of this trip to USC and was very impressed with the fan base.

‘It was crazy there,” he said. “What stood out to me was the insane atmosphere. Even with the rain and the delay, the fans were incredible with their towels. It was a great atmosphere.”

USC, Clemson, Alabama, Mississippi State and Tennessee are his top five in no order. Lamar will visit Tennessee this weekend for the Alabama game.

“I’ve been talking to their coaches and just trying to build a relationship,” he said. “This will be my first trip there, so I’m looking forward to checking out what they have to offer.”

Each of his top five schools has offered. Boston College and Duke are the latest to offer bringing his total number to 16. Lamar does not have a favorite.

#STRecruiting: Major defensive end target to visit Clemson this weekend

Rahshaun Smith

Rahshaun Smith

Clemson will have several prospects on campus Saturday night for its game with Syracuse including highly touted DE Rahshaun Smith (6-3 230) of Baltimore.  Smith has over 30 offers and right now he’s looking the hardest at Clemson, Oklahoma, Alabama, Virginia Tech, Florida, Tennessee and Notre Dame though he’s not closed the door to any school.

Smith camped at Clemson last summer and his experience there turned him on to the Tigers for the first time.

“I loved it,” he said.  “It definitely was an eye opening visit.  It changed my mind about Clemson and got me thinking about them.  Their coaching staff is great.  They work well with the players.  It’s not only about football, it’s a family based program.”

Smith is listed as a defensive end but can play all of the linebacker positions.  And envisions a good fit for himself at Clemson.

“I look at their D and I see my defense” he said.  “Clemson’s defensive is fast, physical, aggressive and they swarm to the ball.”

Smith also has visited Maryland, Penn State twice and Oklahoma this season.  USC also has offered and he has talked with recruiter GA Mangus.  “We’re trying to build a relationship,”  Smith said.

Smith doesn’t plan to make a decision until his senior season and he plans to graduate early.

So far this season he has 53 tackles with 11 tackles for loss and 1 sack.

#STRecruiting: WR Arcega-Whiteside says USC is still of interest to him

JJ Arcega-Whiteside

JJ Arcega-Whiteside

Stanford commit WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside of Dorman was recently named one of the finalists for Mr. Football in South Carolina. Arcega-Whiteside  committed to Stanford earlier this year but expects to hear from USC soon.

“They still send me letters and stuff like that and I think they want me,” he said. “I’m not sure what is going on and what is going to happen, but I am definitely curious to find out.”

Arcega-Whiteside added that he is firmly committed Stanford but will listen to what the Gamecocks have to say. His most recent trip to Columbia was for the Missouri game.

“Nothing really happened (with the coaches), I was really there just to watch the game,” he said.  He has not taken any other visits.

He expects to speak more with USC coaches following the season and said he should have a better idea of their intentions at that point. Arcega-Whiteside also said that he is not speaking to any other schools and is focusing on football. No other visits are scheduled at this time.

“I am just trying to enjoy my season and not worry about those things, to be honest,” he said.

Heading into last week’s game, Arcega-Whiteside had over 900 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns.

#STRecruiting: Gamecocks set sights on talented New Jersey defensive end

Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson

Junior DE Ron Johnson (6-3 235) of Camden, NJ has an offer from USC and has already visited Columbia. Johnson spoke highly of this time in Columbia in late March and  likes what the Gamecocks offer.

“I like the defensive end coach (Deke Adams) and Steve Spurrier,” Johnson said. “They’re telling me that I would have a chance to play early and contribute. It’s a nice area and I like the SEC and Big 10. South Carolina is definitely a school that I am interested in.”

His other offers include Ohio State, Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse, Temple, Penn State, Virginia, Michigan State and West Virginia.

Johnson visited Ohio State last weekend. “It was pretty nice,” he said. “They have a big stadium and I nice program. I am interested in them too.”  His next visit could come this weekend to Penn State.

Johnson did not name any favorites but said he does like USC. He plans to visit the campus again but is unsure  when that trip will occur.

Through six games, Johnson has totaled 50 tackles and six sacks.