Shrine Bowl DL Poona Ford of Hilton Head shook up the recruiting world somewhat Friday when he not only revealed a decommitment from Louisville but also dropped USC from consideration. Ford had said last month he was actually considering the Gamecocks along with the Cardinals. When Charley Strong left Louisville for Texas that set the wheels in motion for where Ford is today…choosing between the Longhorns, Oregon and Missouri. So the question locally is, what happened with USC? “That’s something more for him to comment on than me to comment on,” Hilton Head coach BJ Payne said Friday afternoon. “He’s a damn good kid who’s been put in a tough situation who is trying to make the most of it. He wanted to stay committed to Louisville. He really liked Louisville, a lot of things about Louisville. He kept hoping somebody was going to contact him from there. They haven’t reached out to him. I don’t think you should take officials when you are committed and I said, are you ready, and he said yeah, they’ve had enough time, and I’m going to decommit and totally open things back up. He and his dad and his grandma sat down two nights ago and discussed options and he came up with his list of schools he narrowed it down to and for sure where he was going to take visits and where he was interested in going.” Payne said there was lot of speculation that Ford’s grandmother wanted him to go to certain places but he said that’s not the case. “Grandma wants Poona to be happy. She wants Poona to go where Poona wants to go to school. That is something I heard directly from her the other day. This is a decision an 18 year old kid is making and his family is leaving it up to him to make the decision. It’s not grandma making the decision, it’s not dad making the decision and it damn sure isn’t me making the decision. I’m sick of hearing that I’m the reason and I’m pushing this kid out of the state and I’m doing this and I’m doing that. Well, your dad played at Clemson. Listen, my dad played at Clemson when Frank Howard was there in 1965. I don’t think I own a Clemson shirt or hat. But that’s been the speculation out there that his coach is pushing him away. I don’t do that. My job is to help our kids and help them get recruited and give them as many options as they can. It’s been extremely frustrating from my point of view that I’m getting blamed for all of this.” Payne said he took Ford to USC for visits three times but as it turns out, Ford just doesn’t want to stay in state. “I can say this, Everette Sands has done an incredible job recruiting the kid. The kid just doesn’t want to go to South Carolina. There’s nothing that happened. I do know the kid thought certain family members wanted him to stay close, and when he found out that wasn’t the case…..does that make sense? That’s what changed the whole thing. There was some misunderstanding within the family. It was openly said, we want you to go where you are happy. I don’t care if it’s on the other side of the world. You go where you are happy. If the kid came up to me today and say he wanted to be a Gamecock, I’d be happy as hell for the kid. He just doesn’t feel it’s the right fit for him. It’s nothing against South Carolina or the staff. The kid has just made another decision. I want the kid to go play college football and get an education for free. No matter where he goes.”
Georgia announced Thursday that secondary coach Scott Lakatos had resigned for personal reasons. The Bulldogs and USC are in a battle for DB Wesley Green of Lithonia, GA, so that brings up the obvious question of how much this affects Green’s thinking about Georgia? “I don’t think it’s going to be too big,” Green’s coach Cortez Allen said Friday afternoon. “Coach (Lakatos) wasn’t really in a whole lot on what Georgia has going on with Wesley. Coach Grantham and coach Wilson are pretty much the primaries with Wesley and his recruiting with Georgia. I don’t know that’s going to be a big deal. That may even help.” Allen said Green and his father are planning to drive down to Athens this weekend to take a look at the campus. “His dad hasn’t been there much,” Allen said. “He’s been to USC but he hasn’t been to Athens.” Because it’s still a dead period, Green can’t have in person contact with Georgia coaches. Green will take his official visit to USC next weekend and his official to Georgia the following weekend. He’s expected to make his decision soon after the visit to Georgia.
DL Dexter Wideman of Saluda remains committed to Florida State but will visit USC a week from Saturday and then it’s anybody’s guess what will happen. “He’s not told me that anything has changed,” said former Saluda coach Doug Painter who is now the athletics director at Strom Thurmond. There’s strong sentiment in the recruiting world that Wideman eventually will change his pledge to USC. But Painter said while Wideman was at the Under Armour Game, he got an earful from Seminole pledges. “He got down there and there were other Florida State guys around. You know how 17 year olds are. He talks to two or three other guys and who knows what he might think.” Wideman is also scheduled to visit Florida State January 31st. Unless, of course, he switches to USC and decides not to visit. And Painter said there are some compelling reasons for Wideman to flip. “Knowing more of the kids at South Carolina, more in state guys. He talked to some of those guys at the Shrine Bowl. There’s a little different driving distance for grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins of which he has a number of in Saluda. I think all of that may be a part of his decision making.” Painter said Wideman will wait until National Signing day for a ceremony at his school before announcing his decision.
USC’s chances to land DB Chris Lammons of Plantation, FL improved Thursday night when he decommitted from Florida on the same day DB Jalen Tabor of Washington, DC flipped to the Gators from Arizona. Lammons issued several tweets Thursday night explaining his decision. “5 corners 1 spot,” Lammons wrote. “Got to put myself in the best position for me not anyone else. This been a tough & long process. No I Did Not Decommit Because Of Jalen Tabor Commitment I Decommited To Put Myself In A Better Position. Had to make a decision for myself & my future.” Lammons had been committed to the Gators since August. He is scheduled for an official visit to USC January 24th. Wisconsin and Florida State are the other schools he’s considering. He has visited Wisconsin.
Florida on Friday offered junior LB LaSamuel Davis (6-4 220) and freshman DB Savalas Cann (601 185) of Bamberg-Ehrhardt according to Red Raiders coach Butch Crosby.
Junior WR Freddie Phillips of Pelion has remained in contact with former USC defensive line coach Brad Lawing. Lawing is now at Florida. The two continue to speak and Phillips may visit Gaine
sville. “He wants me to come down for a visit,” Phillips said. “I think I’ll probably go down there and check it out.” Currently, Phillips has offers from North Carolina and NC State. He has yet to visit UNC. “I did go there for a camp but they want me to come up with my mom and dad,” he said. “I want to get up there so I can really take a look at everything. I’m definitely interested and I liked the coaches.” Phillips has visited NC State and the Wolfpack were the first to offer him. “I went up there with my parents and we saw them play Central Michigan,” he said. “It was really nice. I’ve also been to a junior day there.” He plans to visit other schools this spring but has not finalized a schedule. Phillips wants to wait for more offers to see who is interested in his services before deciding on visits. He has not heard from Clemson or USC in some time. There are no favorites.