Shane Beamer picked up four additional players on National Signing Day, pushing the number of newcomers to South Carolina’s football program to 20 and the number of spots filled in the class to 24.
Beamer signed two previously committed prospects – defensive end TJ Sanders of Marion and linebacker Kolbe Fields of New Orleans. The other two, linebacker Tavareon Martin-Scott of Dodge City (Kan.) JC and La’Dareyen Craig of Mobile, Ala., announced their commitments and signed on Feb. 3.
Clemson’s only activity on National Signing Day was the addition of previously committed quarterback/receiver Will Taylor of Dutch Fork. The rest of Clemson’s recruiting class signed in December.
The Tigers’ signed a total of 19 high school players, and their recruiting class is ranked fifth by 247Sports and seventh by Rivals. This is Clemson’s fourth straight top 10 recruiting class using the 247Sports rankings. USC is ranked 78th by Rivals and 247Sports, a number impacted by the fact the Gamecocks have seven signees from the NCAA transfer portal, which don’t figure into the ratings.
The top 10 classes according to Rivals are Alabama, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Oregon, LSU, Georgia, Clemson, Southern Cal, Michigan and Notre Dame. The 247Sports top 10 classes are Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, LSU, Clemson, Oregon, Texas A&M, Southern Cal, Notre Dame and Michigan.
USC first offered Martin-Scott under Will Muschamp. Shane Beamer and his staff continued their pursuit once they came on board. He picked the Gamecocks over West Virginia and Mississippi State. Martin-Scott said he’s looking forward to a valuable piece in that new program.
“Coach Beamer came to me, and I already had the offer, and once Coach Muschamp was fired, Coach Beamer called me and told me that he liked me to be on board,” Martin-Scott said. “And I like the city really. I want to be down South with that weather. And the weight room, I really want to develop my body and the coaches there are good for that.”
Martin-Scott will play the spring season at Dodge City while finishing up his academic work and hopes to join the Gamecocks this summer. Last season Martin-Scott totaled 42 tackles with 10½ tackles for loss and 3½ sacks.
Craig chose the Gamecocks over Mississippi State, and his high school coach feels the Gamecocks have come away with a player who was overlooked because he was late to get his academics up to a qualifying level.
“He’s very fast,” Baker High coach Steve Normand said. “Not only does he play football, he’s also a hurdler. If he didn’t win the state championship, he was in the top three as far as his speed. His speed is phenomenal.
New Gamecocks secondary coach Torrian Gray was heavily involved in Craig’s recruitment. He’s given him a simple break down of what he likes about him. “My size, my speed and my physicality,” said Craig who had seven interceptions and broke up 16 passes last season.
The Gamecocks missed on safety Juwon Gaston of Montgomery, Ala., who signed with Auburn.
Beamer still has a spot left in the class and a player he’s eyeing is Navy transfer cornerback B.J. Gibson (6-5, 195) of Marietta, Ga.
“He’s excited about it,” Marietta High coach David Brunner said. “He’s trying to evaluate everything right now. He wants to be close to home. I think he’s going to visit there (USC) in the next week or so.”
Brunner talked to Gibson Thursday and said he does have some other things in play, but he was not at liberty to disclose other offers for Gibson.
Some of Brunner’s offers coming out of high school were Army, James Madison, USF, Temple and Virginia. His father attended West Point and his brother played basketball at Alabama.
Clemson is pursuing another top linebacker in North Carolina in Jalon Walker of Salisbury. He’s rated a 4-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite and is ranked No. 4 nationally among outside linebackers. Walker has been working with a short list of Clemson, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama and Auburn. And he was just offered by Miami on Wednesday.
Walker did not have a fall season in 2020 but hopes to play this spring after his basketball season. In 2019 he totaled 121 tackles, eight tackles for loss, eight hurries, six pass deflections, and three forced fumbles.
USC offered 3-star defensive end Quency Wiggins (6-6, 265) of Baton Rouge, La., in January. Wiggins said he’s been talking with new defensive coordinator Clayton White and defensive ends coach Mike Peterson, and he’s been very interested with what they have had to say.
“They want to make sure I’m a player they can get,” Wiggins said. “Make sure I’m comfortable with everything. Make sure I’m not a player who is just going to stay in state. And I told them I’m not. I’m a player who is going to the best school possible, and they are just trying to make sure that I know that that’s the best school for me. I’m getting along good with them and building a relationship.”
Wiggins has offers from other SEC programs, including LSU.
“They are in one of the toughest conferences in college football, so that stood out a lot to me,” Wiggins said of the SEC. ‘I’ve been thinking about all of these schools and South Carolina was one of them. They pull in a lot of recruits and send a lot to the league.”
Wiggins totaled 45 tackles with 11 sacks last season. Louisville and others. He is ranked the No. 31 strongside defensive end nationally in the 247Sports Composite. He’s ranked the No. 24 prospect in Louisiana.
Dequandre Smith of Spring Valley is drawing recruiting interest as a quarterback and a safety. Last week USC offered him as a safety. Michigan also has offered as a safety. His other offer is from Florida Atlantic as a quarterback, and Michigan State, East Carolina, Coastal Carolina and Akron are talking to him as a quarterback.
Smith said the position is irrelevant, but the offer from the Gamecocks was not. “It was very unexpected. I like the offer. It’s my dream school,” Smith said.
USC made several more offers for the 2022 class last week:
• 4-star quarterback Tanner Bailey (6-1, 195) of Gordo, Ala. He’s ranked the No. 8 pro-style QB in the country in the 247Sports Composite. Among his other offers are Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Duke, Florida State, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech.
• Safety Mumu Ben-Wahad (6-0, 180) of Loganville, Ga. He’s a former Cincinnati commitment. Some of his other offers are Michigan State, Arizona State, Arkansas, Kansas, West Virginia, TCU, Minnesota and Virginia.
• Cornerback Jordan Allen (5-11, 182) of Lafayette, La. He’s rated a 3-star and ranked the No. 54 corner nationally in the 247Sports Composite. Some other offers are Georgia, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia Tech and Houston.
• 4-star cornerback Jaeden Gould (6-2, 190) of Oradell, N.J. He’s ranked the No. 16 corner nationally in the 247 Sports Composite. Clemson offered him in January. Oklahoma, Texas, Southern Cal, Minnesota and Mississippi State are some other offers.
• Linebacker Omar Graham (6-1, 205) of Fort Lauderdale. Florida State, Cincinnati, Mississippi State and Indiana have also offered.
• Linebacker Micah Pollard (6-3, 200) of Jacksonville, Fla. Coastal Carolina, Arizona State, Mississippi State, Indiana and Penn State are some other offers.
• 4-star defensive end Wilfredo Aybar (6-4, 240) of Cheshire, Conn. He’s rated the No. 7 defensive end nationally and the No. 1 prospect in Connecticut in the 247 Sports Composite. He has 25 offers.
• 3-star linebacker Javae Gilmore (6-4, 200) of Amite, La. Arkansas, LSU, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Kentucky are some other offers.
• Offensive tackle Grayson Mains (6-5, 265) of Suwanee, Ga. Arizona State, Kansas, Michigan State and Mississippi State are some other offers.
• Defensive end Bryan Thomas (6-2, 215) of Winter Garden, Fla. Maryland, Minnesota and Liberty are some other offers.
• 4-star safety Bryce Anderson (5-11, 187) of Beaumont, Tex. He’s a national recruit with offers from across the country.
• Offensive tackle Leyton Nelson (6-5, 272) of Orlando. Oregon, Pitt, Arizona State, UCF, Miami and USF are some other offers.
USC also made an offer to offensive tackle Markee Anderson (6-5, 280) of Dorman for the class of 2023. He also has offers from Virginia Tech and Florida State. The previous USC staff was the first to offer Anderson.
Clemson target running back Trevor Etienne of Jennings, La., was offered by Penn State. He’s the brother of former Clemson running back Travis Etienne.
Clemson is in the top seven with offensive tackle Julian Armella (6-6, 300) of Miami. The others on his short list are Alabama, Miami, LSU, Ohio State, Florida State and Florida.
Quarterback Cade Klubnik of Austin, TX, who has drawn Clemson interest, was offered by Michigan and Penn State.
Blythewood defensive back Jordan Burrell signed with Army.
North Myrtle Beach defensive end Chase Simmons signed with Syracuse.
Spring Valley running back Braylon Ratcliff signed with Wingate.