Clemson added the last piece to its offensive line class for 2012 Saturday when Oliver Jones (6-6 315) of Ninety Six made a commitment to the Tigers. Jones contacted recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott Friday night then drove over to Clemson to surprise head coach Dabo Swinney with his commitment in person. “He was shocked and excited,” said Jones who also considered USC and North Carolina. “It’s the family atmosphere and I felt comfortable there. The coaching staff, the players, I felt comfortable.” Jones missed all of last season with knee and leg injuries but is 100% for the coming season. “Oliver is an enormously hard worker,” said his coach Chris Liner. “He was a perfect 57-57 in our spring workouts. Whatever it is they will ask him to do he’s going to go full bore into it. He’s a diamond in the rough. He’s got very good feet for a big guy. And he has the work ethic. He’s smart, he’s got the drive.” Jones made several trips to Clemson during the recruiting process and familiarized himself with Chad Morris’ new offense. “I like the fast pace,” he said. “They need linemen who are agile but who can also put their nose down.” Jones was recruited to play tackle. He’s the fifth offensive lineman commitment and the 16th overall commitment for the Tigers’ 2012 class. Nine are from South Carolina.
OL Joe Harris of Lithonia, GA is steadfast in his intent to announce his college destination at the DeKalb County Football Media Day Wednesday. He has added Clemson to his list replacing Georgia with the Tigers. Harris named USC, Clemson, Alabama and Mississippi State as the schools he will choose between when he makes his decision public at the event. The Gamecocks had led for his services but he currently has these schools even as of Sunday night. “I had a real fun time at USC,” Harris said of his last visit to Columbia. “I met with the coaches and they’re real cool. I still need to look at all of the schools before I make up my mind.” Harris will not make any other visits before Wednesday. Indications are he will announce for USC.
DE Jhaustin Thomas of Decatur, GA is closing in on his decision in the next two weeks and from his top list of USC, Auburn, Florida, Alabama and Tennessee, he’s got one out front on the pack. “I’m really liking Auburn right now,” Thomas said. “I love their head coach and they want me to play both (basketball & football) for them. I’m feeling like Auburn.” Thomas has visited Auburn, Alabama, Florida State and Tennessee this summer. He is scheduled to visit USC Friday along with his teammate He has not determined a date for a decision.
LB Kaiwan Lewis and his family were at USC Friday as the Gamecocks held their Showcase Camp. Lewis did not participate but used the time to further familiarize himself with the program. “I watched to see how Coach (Ellis) Johnson ran things and to take in some things that can help me out,” said Lewis who is being recruited as a middle linebacker. “I spent time with Coach Spurrier, Spurrier Jr., Coach Mangus, Coach Ward and Coach Johnson. It was good.” The USC stop was the last on this trip for Lewis who also checked out Florida State, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee on the trip. It was his second visit to USC. Lewis said he’s not developed a favorites list but is starting to move in that direction. “I’ll be calling some schools letting them know who is in and who is out,” he said adding that he’s not made any of those calls yet. “I’m just in the process. I’m seeing what schools are the best fit for me thru these trips.” Lewis said he’s not sure when he’ll trim his list or when he’ll make his decision.
One of the top targets for the USC basketball staff this summer and fall will be PG Ian Baker (6-1), a Washington, DC native attending Arlington Country Day School in Jacksonville, FL. Baker has the Gamecocks, Miami and Providence as his top three with now leader right now. He has strong interest in the Gamecocks. “They need a point guard to come in and produce,” he said. “It’s definitely a place I’m considering. I’ve been talking with coach Boynton and coach Horn. I will take my time. I want to make sure a school is the right one and feels right to me.” Baker said USC more than likely will get an official visit from him. “They said I’m a top priority,” Baker said. “I’ve seen them play a couple of times. Tre’ Kelly (former USC point guard) is close friends with one of my brothers.” Baker averaged 11 points and 4 assists per game last season. “I can get in the lane and create,” he said. “And I knock down the open jumper.”