Hammond RB CJ Stokes (5-10 190) has set two official visits for June and would like to take all five before he makes a decision. Stokes has scheduled a trip to Missouri for June 11th, and one to Michigan for June 18th. Vanderbilt also is talking with him about an official visit. USC has also been a major player for Stokes, but living 15 minutes from campus, he’s not sure an official visit will be needed.
“I’ve been on South Carolina visits more times than I can count, so I already know how everything looks, how everything feels,” Stokes said. “The only think I really need to get into is the new staff. See what they are about more and meet them in-person. That’s probably not going to happen until June. So, I’m looking forward to that. I don’t think I need an official to get to know the staff really. I don’t know. I’ll play it by ear and see what they want to do.”
Stokes has been talking a lot with USC running backs coach Montario Hardesty as well as tight ends coach Erik Kimrey, his former coach at Hammond. And he’s had text messages from head coach Shane Beamer.
“I’m getting a lot from South Carolina right now as far as recruiting,” Stokes said. “It’s always good to get to talk with them. It’s just been a lot over the phone. Coach Kimrey will call me. Coach Hardesty will call me. I haven’t gotten on the phone with Coach Beamer yet.”
Stokes is building his relationship with Hardesty on the phone calls. Outside of that, he doesn’t have much to go on because he hasn’t seen how the Gamecock running backs will play under Hardesty’s directions.
“Everything speaks for itself as far as the running back room right now,” Stokes said. “They haven’t really gotten any playing done with the new staff. There’s nothing they can show offense-wise, but everything looks great with the culture and all that. I see they are doing that. They talk about that and everything they can control over than playing. He’s (Hardesty) a cool guy, a really upbeat guy. A lot of energy, so I like that out of him. He’s from North Carolina and it’s always cool to talk to another Carolina guy. He’s a real cool guy. I like him.”
One message Stokes is getting clearly from the Gamecocks is how nice it would be for him and his family for his college football career to be played out just 15 minutes from home.
“Just the opportunity to stay close to home really,” Stokes said. “That’s really the biggest thing right now. Just put on for the home team. I was born and raised here. It’s an opportunity not a lot of people have to play for their home team.”
Right now, Stokes plans to take just the two official visits in June and save the rest for November and December. After all the visits, he’ll be ready to make his call. Some of his other offers are Penn State, Minnesota, Duke, Louisville, Wake Forest, Tulane, Appalachian State, Liberty and Middle Tennessee State.