QB Drew Barker of Hebron, KY has been quiet this week as his decision day of Friday approaches. He did confirm via a text message Wednesday night USC quarterbacks coach GA Mangus will visit with him Thursday. Kentucky coaches were in earlier in the week. Barker plans to announce Friday at 3:30 PM for either the Gamecocks or Wildcats with Tennessee a wild card in the race. Barker favored USC after visiting Columbia for the Tennessee game. “Of my offers, South Carolina is definitely number one,” Barker said at the time. “They have drilled into my head that they want me. I really like how the offense was run and how the coaches handle their players.” Tennessee later became a player after Butch Jones took over the program. Kentucky, however, has made the strongest run of late behind new coach Mike Stoops. Barker was ignored by the previous staff but Stoops has made the home state star a priority. The Wildcat staff has flooded his mailbox with notes and letters. Barker spent the weekend in Lexington for the spring game and was given the hard sell about being the next home grown quarterback hero at UK. And his family are strong Kentucky fans. But Mangus was the first to offer, has been recruiting him the longest, and has built a strong relationship. Steve Spurrier has also thrown his weight into the battle even allowing Barker to stand on the field with him and call plays during a spring practice visit. “I could definitely tell coach Spurrier definitely wanted me on this trip,” Barker said at the time. “He spent a lot of time with me and definitely wanted me to know that I was wanted there.” Barker has not tipped his hand. His decision is so airtight the recruiting analysts who cover USC and Kentucky basically are split down party lines on their predictions.
TE Milan Richard of Savannah will have a chance to do something his famous uncle Herschel Walker never did, score a touchdown inside Clemson’s Death Valley. Richard committed to Clemson Wednesday night after narrowing his list to Clemson, USC, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss. Richard visited Clemson for the USC game last November and had the Tigers high up on his list since then. “He and his family have done a very good job from day one evaluating everything associated with somewhere and at the end of the day he just felt like it was the best fit,” said Richard’s coach Mark Stroud. “They use a guy doing various things and he’s a guy that can play in there and give them a situation where they don’t have to change personnel. I think he gives them exactly what they are looking for in the ability to keep him on the field in various places without changing personnel.” Richard had 22 catches for 341 yards and three touchdowns last season. He had five touchdown catches as a sophomore. “He’s got the whole package, size and speed, explosiveness, everything you’re looking for in a player at that position,” Stroud said. “He has great hands, big hands. The kid’s an athlete.” Richard becomes the fifth commitment for Clemson’s 2014 class.
DL Dexter Wideman of Saluda was very happy to receive an offer from Alabama this week, his eighth. “They’re the number one team in the country and I’m ready to get over there and learn more about the program,” said Wideman. “I’ll probably take one of my official visits there.” Alabama assistant Chris Rumph spoke to Wideman. “He told me he saw e on film and likes the way I play,” he said. As for other official visits, Wideman is less sure of his destinations. “I don’t know where I’ll go but it will probably be to out-of-state schools,” he said. Clemson and USC are still very much in the hunt for Wideman but he does want to use his official visits for schools further away from home. According to Wideman, he is not participating in spring practice in order to focus on his grades making it difficult to meet with coaches that stop by practice. “I haven’t talked to Clemson or USC on the phone in a while but I do talk to them by email,” he said. “They’re just keeping up with me and encouraging me in the classroom.” His eight offers are from USC, Clemson, LSU, Alabama, Michigan, Ole Miss, Florida and Florida State. He would like to visit some schools this summer, including Clemson and USC, but has not hashed out the details. There are no favorites for Wideman.
DL Andrew Brown of Chesapeake, VA received a visit from USC assistant Deke Adams Wednesday. The Gamecocks did not make Brown’s top ten list back in February but could be creeping in. “They weren’t really showing me any interest back then,” said Brown. “Since coach Adams has gotten there, they’ve been talking to me. He wants me to call him tonight.” Brown could visit USC in the future. Clemson did make his top ten list after Brown visited the school. “Man, it was amazing,” he said. “I loved the campus and the dorm rooms. It was cool.” Though they have not visited him yet this spring, Brown is expecting the Tigers to drop by his school. His top ten is Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan, Virginia Tech, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Florida State, Alabama and Georgia Tech in no order. He does not have a favorite.
Alabama Wednesday offered Clemson commitment QB Deshaun Watson of Gainesville, GA. Watson recently shut down his recruiting and said he was 100% firm with Clemson.
Clemson and USC have offered OL David Sharpe (6-8 290) of Jacksonville. Some of his other offers are Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Alabama.
Furman signed 6-2 William Gates Jr. of Schertz, TX. He averaged 24 points and 6 rebounds per game last season. His father was one of two Chicago area basketball stars featured in the 1994 documentary “Hoop Dreams.”