DE Shamiek Blackshear of Bluffton, the state’s top prospect in the 2015 class, made a surprise early commitment today to USC. Blackshear announced his pledge via Twitter. At the same time his rising senior teammate DL K.J. Ford announced a commitment to NC State. Blackshear had more than a dozen offers including Clemson, Alabama, Florida and Southern Cal. He was visited recently by Gamecock recruiter Everette Sands and then decided to make his pledge. Bluffton coach Ken Cribb said the timing of Blackshear’s commitment surprised him but not the fact that he chose USC. “He grew up a Gamecock fan,” said Cribb. Blackshear is the second 2015 commitment for the Gamecocks.
It was just a few, short years ago a Clemson running back who went by the initials CJ ran his way into the Tiger record books and into the hearts of their fans. CJ Spiller will forever be considered one of Clemson’s football greats. Now, another running back with the same initialized first name will be joining the Tigers looking to become a fan favorite. CJ Fuller of Easley committed to the Tigers Monday afternoon following the conclusion of his spring practice, and he’s we’ll aware of the comparisons his name will draw to Spiller’s career. “People around here always talk about CJ Spiller and stuff, but I just want to go in there and do my thing and see what happens,” Fuller said. Clemson offered Fuller last season and he has been favoring the Tigers sever since. “It feels great,” he said of the commitment. “It’s just a childhood dream fulfilled. I liked them from day one. I went out and I did my job and did my homework on other schools and came to the conclusion Clemson is on top.” Fuller rushed for over 2000 yards last season in a zone read offense and feels Clemson’s offense will be a great fit. “I like how they put their running backs in space, give them an opportunity to make a move on the linebacker or defensive back,” he said. Clemson has one senior running back in 2013 and Fuller is the second running back commitment for 2014. He’s hoping for a chance to show what he can do right away. “I want to jump in and be a part of it because I feel I can,” he said. “But if they decide to redshirt me, I’m cool with that, too.” Fuller also had offers from North Carolina, NC State and Louisville. He’s the sixth commitment for Clemson’s 2014 class.
USC was the strong, early leader for DL Poona Ford of Hilton Head, and while the Gamecocks are still very much in the hunt, at least three others have caught the fancy of the talented run stuffer. “I think there are still a lot of schools still in play,” said his coach BJ Payne. “The top three he’s listing are Tennessee, Ohio State and Louisville. A lot of people ask me does that mean South Carolina’s out and I don’t think so.” USC visited Ford last Monday and Ford set plans to camp at USC. He will also camp at Ohio State and Tennessee and some other places according to his coach. USC was Ford’s first major offer and that put the Gamecocks in the early lead. But exposure to these other programs has given Ford more options to consider. “I know when he went to Tennessee he really enjoyed their staff,” Payne said. “I know he fell in love with their facilities. And he’s always had Ohio State in his top five, even before Ohio State offered. He went to camp there last year. If you look at his top three or four schools, they’ve all produced multiple defensive linemen, very good defensive linemen. Ohio State, Tennessee, and South Carolina, those three schools are top of the line as far as defensive linemen.” Arizona is another school Ford wants to see this summer. He has 25 offers but Payne says Ford has shrunk the list to eight and will get down to three after camps. Those eight are USC, Ohio State, Tennessee, Louisville, Arizona, Kansas State, NC State and Toledo. Payne said Florida could become a factor with an offer. Ford was going to wait until Signing Day for an announcement but his coach wants him to decide earlier than that so the schools that don’t get him can recruit other defensive linemen. Payne would like him to decide before his senior season but he doesn’t expect that. Ford has told him he wants to take some official visits and go from there.
USC has offered OL Malik Young (6-3 277) of Woodmont. That’s his first major offer. SC State was his only offer before USC and Marshall also has been showing interest. Young told the BigSpur.com he plans to visit USC next Tuesday and a commitment is a “high possibility.” Young camped at USC last summer and that’s when he caught the eye of Gamecock offensive line coach Shawn Elliott who made the offer.
RB Nick Chubb of Cedartown, GA plans to visit his three finalists of USC, Auburn and Georgia one final time before he makes his announcement May 28th. Chubb said Saturday night he has scheduled his visit to USC for Memorial Day Monday, May 27th. He will visit Auburn two days before that and he will visit Georgia May 26th. Chubb last visited USC April 20th. All three schools have been by to see Chubb this spring.
DL Peyton Newell of Hiawatha, KS will release his top five list on June 1st. Right now he has only four spots to fill. “South Carolina is definitely in that top five,” Newell said. “I have a few in mind but I want to make sure I keep in state priorities.” USC recruiter GA Mangus recently visited Newell and plans to return before the contact period ends. “South Carolina is definitely a school I’m interested in,” Newell said. “They’ve been there since the beginning of the recruiting process. I was comfortable around the players (when he visited).” Newell said USC will get one of his visits this summer. He said he doesn’t have a clear #1 right now but “South Carolina is in the mix to be number one.” He will make his decision before his football season. Other schools that have been high up on his list include Georgia, Southern Cal, Nebraska and Kansas.
OL Donnell Stanley of Latta came up a game short in his quest for a state baseball championship Friday when his Vikings lost to St. Joseph’s in the 1A title game. While involved in the baseball playoffs, Stanley basically put his football recruiting on the back burner even though numerous coaches came to see him school and in games. He did not participate in spring football practice. Now, recruiting will move to the forefront with several visits coming up this summer. Stanley had planned to visit USC this past Saturday but after Friday’s game, which was played in Columbia, he didn’t feel like returning. But he will come back to USC in June according to his adviser Chris German. “He hasn’t toured the entire campus yet, so he’ll do that in June,” German said. Stanley will go to Alabama for a half-day camp July 14th and will go to Ohio State July 26th. He’s also going to Ole Miss and Florida State in July, and German feels he’ll visit Clemson as well. Stanley will start to narrow his list this week. “I would say USC, Clemson, Alabama, North Carolina, Ohio State, Ole Miss and Florida State will be on the short list,” German said. There is no favorite and Stanley plans to have a decision in September or October. This spring USC was by twice to watch baseball playoff games and Clemson was in for a practice. North Carolina, LSU, Central Florida, Ohio State and Alabama also were thru the school.
RB Stanley Williams of Monroe, GA has scheduled several visits for the summer, including Clemson. North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama are other schools he plans to visit. “I’m really looking forward to getting up to Clemson,” said Stanley. “I’m just trying to stay humble. I am interested in Clemson and there is some good relationship-building going on there.” Stanley remains interested in USC as well. “They’ve talked to be about using me the way they used Ace Sanders,” he said. “They said that by putting me in the slot, they can take advantage of my speed in the open field.” Williams no longer has a top five but does have several schools of interest that include Clemson, USC and Georgia. “I want to take more visits this summer and then I’ll look at narrowing my list to five and eventually three,” said Williams. He did not give a time frame for a decision.
With its upcoming move to the ACC, Louisville figures to make South Carolina a major recruiting target, especially considering head coach Charlie Strong’s and assistant Brian Jean-Mary’s history in the state. Friday night, following his spring game, WR TJ Foster of Union County committed to the Cardinals. CardinalSports.com confirmed the commitment with Foster who also had an offer from East Carolina. Last season he had 37 catches for 801 yards and 9 touchdowns.
DB Kendall Randolph of Tallahassee has released a top five of USC, Miami, Florida State, Georgia and Alabama. He has Florida State and Georgia as his top two.
Citadel basketball head coach Chuck Driesell announced on Monday that Tom Koopman and Warren Sledge signed their National Letter of Intent to join the Bulldog basketball program. The combination joins previous signees Nate Bowser and Brian White for a total of four future cadet-student-athletes in the fall of 2013-14. Koopman joins the Bulldogs from Weert, Germany, where he averaged 16 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per contest for his Basketball Academy of Limburg program. Sledge gives The Citadel added depth in the backcourt with his 6-3, 180-pound frame. A three-year starter at Keller Central (Texas) High School, Sledge is 6-3 and 180 lbs. As a senior he averaged 12 points, 5.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.