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  1. Saturday morning recruiting report December 15, 2018 According to the coach LB Tyron Hopper of Roswell, GA, though he’s committed to Florida and hasn’t told him anything different, there is some sense of uncertainty about his decision at this point. USC has been working him trying to turn him. GamecockCentral reported Gamecock coaches were in on Thursday to see WR Jashawn Sheffield of St. Simon’s Island, GA. He has been committed to Auburn and the Gamecocks have been trying to turn him. USC coaches Will Muschamp and OL coach Eric Wolford are in Nokesville, VA tonight for the final in person visit with OL Jakia Moore. Moore’s coach said the Gamecock coaches arrived this afternoon and spent time with Moore’s mother. They will be at his basketball game tonight and will meet with him following that. Coach Brud Bicknell said James Franklin and his entire offensive staff, plus a couple of other coaches who stopped by, were in yesterday for their final visit. Moore will announce Monday at 3:00 PM at the school. USC target CB Shilo Sanders of Cedar Hill, TX is taking an official visit to Colorado State this weekend. He also has taken an official visit to USC and he plans to take one to Tennessee in January
  2. Friday's Gamecock recruiting news December 14, 2018 The coach of OL Will Putnam of Tampa said Thursday night there’s a good chance a decision will come down Friday. Clemson, Florida State and Auburn are the finalists. Florida State recruiters visited Thursday. Penn State coach James Franklin made his in home visit with OL Jakai Moore of Nokesville, VA Thursday night. USC coach Will Muschamp will be at the school Friday, attend Moore’s basketball game Friday night and then meet with him and his mom afterwards. Moore is announcing Monday at 3:00 PM. USC target CB Shilo Sanders of Cedar Hill, TX is scheduled for an official visit to Colorado State this weekend. 2020 WR Da’Quon Stewart (6-2 194) of Huntersville, NC was offered by USC, his first offer. He took his official visit to USC in October. He plans to visit Tennessee in January.
  3. Suicide, Quarterbacks and the Hilinski Family Tyler Hilinski, a quarterback at Washington State, killed himself in January and was posthumously diagnosed with C.T.E. His brother is a star recruit at the same position. It’s raw and complicated.
  4. Gamecocks will get visit from blue chip defensive lineman, along with Penn State, Alabama December 13, 2018 South Carolina defensive tackles coach Lance Thompson visited defensive lineman Jaquaze Sorrells of Winter Park, Fla., last week. Sorrells is not signing until February. He has visited USC unofficially and he plans to visit USC, Penn State and Alabama in January. The Gamecocks visit probably will be Jan. 18. This season, he had 36 tackles, eight for loss, with two sacks, one interception and one fumble forced.
  5. Gamecocks QB commit jumps more than 60 spots in Rivals rankings, local lineman up 35 December 13, 2018 After successful junior season, Myrtle Beach quarterback and South Carolina commit Luke Doty made a splash in the latest Class of 2020 Rivals 250 rankings released Wednesday. Doty moved up to No. 182 in the rankings and is the fourth-ranked prospect in the state. In his first year as a starting quarterback, he helped Myrtle Beach to the Class 4A title last week at Williams-Brice Stadium. The junior finished with 3,037 yards passing, 36 touchdowns. On the ground, he rushed for 701 yards and seven scores. Doty is the only USC commit in the rankings but two Hammond players are part of the list. Defensive end Jordan Burch is ranked as No. 32 ranked prospect in the country and top prospect in SC. Alex Huntley moves into the top 250 at No. 237. The two player helped Hammond to its second straight SCISA 3A title. Burch had 62 tackles on defense and team-best 10 sacks and also rushed for 680 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also caught four TD passes. Huntley, a defensive tackle, had 48 tackles including a team-high 18 for loss. Both Huntley and Burch are being recruited by South Carolina and have other several other Power 5 offers.
  6. Thursday morning Recruiting news December 13, 2018 USC defensive tackles coach Lance Thompson visited DL Jaquaze Sorrells of Winter Park, FL last week. Sorrells is not signing until February. He has visited USC unofficially and he plans to visit USC, Penn State and Alabama in January. The USC visit probably will be January 18th. Florida coaches were in to see CB Chris Steele Wednesday night. That’s the last in home visit for Steele who plans to sign next week but not announce the choice until January 5th. USC, Oregon, Oklahoma and Southern Cal are the others he’s considering. USC offered 2020 SAF Dajeun Gibson of Murfreesboro, TN. He also has an offer from Tulane. USC offered 2022 DT Horace Lockett of Atlanta. 2020 WR Porter Rooks of Charlotte committed to NC State. He had a USC offer and drew interest from Clemson where his brother was once on the basketball team.
  7. Ryan Hilinski’s goal: Be the last voice in Chris Steele’s ear before he signs December 12, 2018 When South Carolina quarterback commit Ryan Hilinski has the likes of Will Muschamp, Dan Werner and Bryan McClendon over for breakfast, what’s a big topic of conversation? The South Carolina football team’s recruiting plans, that’s what. A big part of that: Chris Steele. When the USC coaches saw Hilinski on Monday morning, Will Muschamp had already done his in-home visit with Steele. There wasn’t much social media presence from the visit, but Hilinski, a player already set for the Southern California to South Carolina transition, plays a key role in South Carolina’s pursuit. On Tuesday night, Steele named South Carolina, Southern Cal, Florida, Oregon and Oklahoma as his top five. And Hilinski has got one card he’s hoping to play. “It’s between us and Florida,” Hilinski said in an interview with SportsTalk. “It’s just what Chris really wants out of his college experience. And I know Florida is going to be there on Wednesday for an in-home visit. I’ll be working out, doing runs with Chris Steele Thursday. So I’m going to get a little bit of the rundown on how he feels. “Hopefully I’ll be the last one in his ear before he signs.” He said they’re also trying to turn Florida commit Jaydon Hill, despite the fact that publicly Hill has made statements he’s 100 percent Gators. Steele, the No. 40 prospect in the country, committed to Southern Cal in July and decommitted in August. For the season, Steele is listed as having 32 tackles, one interception, 11 pass breakups and a pair of blocked kicks for one of the top teams in the county. His Don Bosco squad lost to Mater Dei to end the season, a powerhouse it had beaten earlier this season. He would be a big get for a Gamecocks squad with only one committed defensive back (Cam Smith). He plans to make his choice by Dec. 19, the start of the early signing period, but not reveal it until early January. Hilinski will be on him until then. He downloaded his intel from Muschamp after their meeting and now feels ready for the final push. “It was good to get a little rundown of how it felt,” Hilinski said.
  8. USC Gamecocks & Penn State to get final visits with OL Jakai Moore this week DECEMBER 12, 2018 BY PHIL KORNBLUT Link: sportstalk Jakai Moore Nokesville, VA Patriot coach Brud Bicknell said Tuesday his star OL Jakai Moore is down to USC and Penn State. Clemson also was recruiting him and wanted him to visit this weekend but Moore has a basketball game he can’t miss and Clemson didn’t want a 24 hour visit, so that’s off. His coach said he will move on with the Gamecocks and Nittany Lions as his finalists. According to Bicknell, Penn State head coach James Franklin will be in to see Moore on Thursday and USC head coach Will Muschamp will get the final in person visit Friday. Muschamp and his party will have to work around Moore’s basketball game. The rules prevent they from talking to him prior to it. “They like to make a splash and be seen at the school,” Bicknell said. “I know that Coach Muschamp and Coach Wolf (Eric Wolford), I believe their plans are to meet his mom and sit with mom during the basketball game and then talk with him after the game. They also are planning to be in school that day. And Penn State is going to do the same but they don’t have a basketball game to deal with. They are going to come to school and have lunch and then they are going to do the home visit that night.” Moore took an official visit to Penn State last weekend. He visited USC officially back in April. He also visited both unofficially during the season. “He’s hearing very similar things from both South Carolina and Penn State in terms of the love and how he can fit in and potentially play early,” Bicknell said. “All the good things and they are both making the final push.” The plan is, according to Bicknell, for Moore to announce his decision on Signing Day next Wednesday. And the plan is to keep that information under wraps until then. “He wants it to be a surprise on Wednesday. I would imagine it would be early but the logistics of that from what I understand have not been ironed out.” As for his sense on a leader at this point? No idea at all,” Bicknell said. “His mom drives a bus in our school system and stops by from time to time and she’s even harder to read. She’s loving the love they are sending her way.”
  9. Updates on WR Keveon Mullins and RB Eric Gray December 12, 2018 USC coach Will Muschamp and three assistants visited Tuesday with committed receiver Keveon Mullins of Memphis. While in that city, Muschamp also was expected to visit RB Eric Gray who visited last weekend. He will visit Tennessee this weekend.
  10. RB Eric Gray to visit Vol's, Latest on CB Chris Steele December 11, 2018 According to the Tennessee 247 site, RB Eric Gray of Memphis will take an official visit to Tennessee this weekend. The former Michigan commitment visited USC Gamecocks last weekend. Ole Miss and Alabama are two other reported high interests for him. Oregon coaches were in Monday night to see CB Chris Steele. USC head coach Will Muschamp and assistants were in Sunday. Florida assistants are due back in Wednesday. Florida head coach Dan Mullen was in last week.
  11. Pickens’ pick ‘sends a message’ about South Carolina’s recruiting December 10, 2018 Clemson has beaten South Carolina five consecutive times on the football field. On Dec. 19, the Gamecocks are expected to start a one-game, off-the-field winning streak against the Tigers that might help them reverse the dismal results on the field. That’s the day Zacch Pickens, a five-star defensive line recruit from Anderson, is expected to sign with South Carolina on the first day of the early signing period. It will represent a coup of sorts for third-year Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp because he’s taking a top target away from the Tigers, his in-state rival which is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation and headed to its fourth straight College Football Playoff appearance. “To land the No. 1 player in the state when Clemson is playing at such a high level is big,” said Steve Wiltfong, director of recruiting for 247Sports. “Obviously, Will Muschamp is a defensive-minded head coach, but Clemson has had the best defensive line in college football for a couple years now. So for Zacch to want to be a part of building that at South Carolina is big. For South Carolina to get where they want to be as a program, they have to win more of these battles for guys like Zacch Pickens.” Pickens will become the first five-star recruit to sign with South Carolina under Muschamp. He is the top-rated player in the state of South Carolina and the 18th-best recruit in the nation at any position, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. “I think it’s huge for that program,” Rivals.com recruiting analyst Chad Simmons said. “Steve Spurrier had his run with signing the top player in the state. For Will to get that back going and convince Pickens not to go Clemson, not to go to Georgia is huge for the program and really builds momentum. (Muschamp) has shown some good things there. He needs players though to take that next step.” Pickens is projected to be one of those players. At 6-foot-5, 283 pounds, he is expected to begin his collegiate career at defensive end but could play in the middle of the defensive line as well. “You’re looking at a 280-pound defensive end in a year or so who is going to be a terror to deal with,” Rivals.com national recruiting director Mike Farrell said. “He’s a really good player, and he’s just getting better and better. He has been shooting up our list even after he became a five-star. He’s got great size. He’s an athletic kid. He’s good against the run, but he’s an outstanding pass rusher as well. He uses a lot of power and strength to get offensive linemen off balance.” Simmons calls Pickens “an early face-of-the-program type of guy.” “He’s an impact kid immediately, at least we see it that way,” Simmons said. “I think mentally and physically he will come in ready to contribute at South Carolina right away.” Pickens led T.L. Hanna to the state title game this year and had 82 tackles. He is one of the frontrunners for the state’s Mr. Football award, which will be handed out Saturday. During Spurrier’s best run with the Gamecocks, South Carolina signed four consecutive Mr. Footballs in the state. “Spurrier used to get those guys all the time with (Marcus) Lattimore and (Jadeveon) Clowney, and it really did help in recruiting,” Farrell said. “It builds momentum. It sends a message to the rest of the Southeast.”
  12. In-state QB has walk-on offer from South Carolina ... and a choice to make December 10, 2018 Trey Houston has a choice to make. The Greer High School quarterback could take a scholarship, have school paid for and get his chance as a dual-threat quarterback with an FCS team or perhaps a smaller FBS team. Or he could take a bigger swing and join the South Carolina Gamecocks as a walk-on. “I’ve just been thinking,” Houston said, “if I want to take a chance or not.” He spoke while standing on the field at Williams-Brice, a crutch under one arm. After posting a dominant season for the Yellow Jackets as a junior, a knee injury limited him this season. His team persevered and made it to the state title game, where it couldn’t hold off Luke Doty and Myrtle Beach. Houston was sitting on offers from the likes of Wofford, Georgia Southern, Kennesaw State and East Tennessee State. Then came the call from USC. “Matt Lindsey, director of player personnel called me and said, ‘We’d like to offer you a preferred walk-on spot,’ ” Houston said. “Took a chance on me and I’m very blessed they gave me one. They’ve just been recruiting me for a while, been up to their camp, came out to my school.” As a junior, Houston was as productive a dual-threat QB as you’ll find. He completed 71 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,147 yards, 35 scores and no interceptions, plus rushing for 780 yards and 10 scores. He led an offense that averaged 43.6 points a game. But the 6-foot-2, 177-pounder said he’s not picky about his position, even with offers to play QB. “It really doesn’t matter to me.” Houston said. “I can play quarterback, I could play wideout, DB. Just an athlete.” He said the brings a blend of speed, length and power to whatever college team he joins. He also spoke highly of South Carolina, not just as a football program and for its atmosphere, but also for its academics. His plan is to have things locked up by the early signing day in less than two weeks. He had an in-home visit with Wofford before his team’s trip to state. And there still lingers his choice: School paid for and a chance on a smaller stage, or bet on himself and fight for a spot in big-time football. “I’ve still got some school that I have right now,” Houston said. “I’ll probably be making my decision soon, before the signing period.”
  13. One JUCO commit confident he’ll be a member of 2019 class & other recruiting notes of interest December 10, 2018 South Carolina defensive line commitment Jahkeem Green (6-foot-4, 305 pounds) of Sumter and Highland Community College (Kansas) does not graduate until May at the earliest and is not sure if he’ll sign this month. He said he still has some classes to complete but he’s confident he’ll meet the academic requirements to be able to transfer. He said he’s in touch with USC defensive tackles coach Lance Thompson and they spoke last week. He’s also talked with Will Muschamp. He said the Gamecocks are sticking with him at this point. Green said Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi State also have offered but he remains committed to the Gamecocks. He visited unofficially for the Chattanooga game. This season Green had 67 tackles with seven tackle for loss and 2 1/2 sacks. He has three years to play two. Notes: ▪ Pensacola, Fla., offensive lineman Darius Washington said Sunday night he’s not doing any further interviews related to his recruiting. He did acknowledge the Gamecocks are still in contention for him. Washington has been committed to Mississippi State. He’s also considering Miami. He took official visits to all three. USC offensive line coach Eric Wolford visited last week. ▪ Atlanta corner Dequanteous Watts said he hears from USC’s Will Muschamp and Travaris Robinson every day. He said Muschamp texts every morning and then they talk. He’s thinks area recruiter Bryan McClendon will visit this week. USC is in a good place with him. “I feel good about them, they are one of my top schools right now with Ole Miss and UCF,” Watts said. Watts took an unofficial visit to USC for the Chattanooga game. He might go to UCF or Ole Miss this weekend and he plans to visit The Gamecocks in January. He’s also set Jan. 7 for his announcement date but he said he’ll take visits after that. ▪ Calera, Ala. 2020 athlete Trenton Yowe decommitted from Mississippi State Sunday night and reopened his recruiting. He said he’s been in touch with Clemson recruiter Todd Bates and he wants him to visit. He’s also hearing now from USC. ▪ Mullins athlete Xavier Legette of Mullins took an official visit to Coastal Carolina over the weekend. ▪ Roswell, Ga., linebacker Tyron Hopper took his official visit to Florida over the weekend. He has been a Gator commitment and Sunday he told the Florida Rivals site he’s “thousand percent” committed to Florida. He took an official visit to USC for the Akron weekend.
  14. Sunday afternoon recruiting updates DECEMBER 9, 2018 Roswell, GA LB Tyron Hopper took his official visit to Florida over the weekend. He has been a Gator commitment and Sunday he told the Florida Rivals site he’s “thousand percent” committed to Florida. He took an official visit to USC for the Akron weekend. USC offered 2020 WR Kentron Poitier (6-4 190) of Miami. Auburn, North Carolina, Pitt and Syracuse are some of his other offers.
  15. Hometown kicker will be a Gamecock December 09, 2018 kicker Alex Herrera on Sunday announced a commitment to the South Carolina Gamecocks. Herrera (6-0, 175) averaged 41.3 yards a punt in 2018, was 10-of-13 on field goals and 27-of-29 on extra points. He played quarterback for the Vikings early in the season. He threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 240 yards. Herrera will play in the Metro Senior Bowl on Dec. 22 in Columbia and the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl in Tampa, Florida, on Jan. 5. According to the 247Sports composite, Herrera is the No. 23 kicker in the class of 2019 and the No. 64 overall recruit from the state of South Carolina. Herrera doesn’t have a scholarship offer from South Carolina, so it’s unclear if he recently received one or if he’ll join the team as a preferred walk-on.
  16. Sunday morning recruiting notes December 09, 2018 USC offered 2020 WR Kentron Poitier (6-4 190) of Miami. Auburn, North Carolina, Pitt and Syracuse are some of his other offers. USC target LB Tyron Hopper, a Florida commitment, did take his official visit to Florida over the weekend.
  17. Gamecock recruiting notes December 08, 2018 GamecockCentral reported RB Eric Gray of Memphis, the Gatorade Player of the Year in Tennessee and a former Michigan commitment, will take an official visit to USC this weekend. He rushed for 2500 yards and 40 touchdowns this season. According to GamecockCentral, long time USC commitment WR Jamario Holley of Northwestern is no longer a part of the class due to academic reasons. USC offered 2021 QB Brock Vandagriff (6-2 183) of Bogart, GA. Georgia, Auburn, Florida and LSU are among his offers. Four USC commitments are scheduled for official visits with the Gamecocks this weekend…CB Cam Smith, DE Rodricus Fitten, WR Keveon Mullins and TE Keshawn Toney. Other scheduled official visits for this weekend include USC target WR Xavier Legette of Mullins to Tulane, USC target OL Jakai Moore of Nokesville, VA to Penn State, USC target OL Matthew Bedford of Memphis to Indiana and then to Memphis, USC target CB Zay Flowers of Miami to Boston College, TE Jimmy Fritzsche to Connecticut and USC target RB DJ Williams of Sebring, FL to Alabama. Oklahoma was in Thursday to see CB Chris Steele of Bellflower, CA. He’s also a USC target. USC target CB Zay Flowers of Miami will take an official visit to Boston College this weekend. He’s also been to Kansas State and Nebraska and is also looking at NC State.
  18. The statistical quirk that shows something about what USC is getting in Zacch Pickens December 07, 2018 One might look at five-star South Carolina commitment Zacch Pickens’ stats and get a little worried at the sack numbers, only five for one of the top recruits in the land. But if they shift their eyes over to the tackle numbers, something pops out, and the explanation behind it tells something about what the Gamecocks will get in the 6-foot-5, 283-pounder from T.L. Hanna. Some five-stars will rest on their laurels. They’ll rely on talent, run hot and cold in terms of effort. But opponents aren’t giving Pickens anything easy. So he’s had to work in different ways. Heading into Friday’s state title game against Dutch Fork, he leads Hanna in tackles with 82. This stands out for several reasons. First, few defensive linemen lead a team in tackles. Second, he often doesn’t play that much (11 plays in one game) because Hanna is winning games by 34.8 points a game. Lastly, teams are doing everything possible to not let the play get to the big man with a big reputation. “He’s made the most of his opportunities,” Yellow Jackets coach Jeff Herron said. “I don’t think there’s been a pass attempted this year that they haven’t double-teamed him. Everybody has changed how they’re blocking him in passing situations. Nobody runs to his side. So he’s leading the team in tackles, catching people from behind usually.” That’s wheeling off double teams, triple teams and pursuing downfield. That’s finding the angles and flat out chasing folks down. Few top linemen are doing it consistently, let alone ones in the 280-pound range. But Pickens likes doing it. “I want every single tackle,” Pickens said. “If you’ve got the ball, I want to tackle you. And that’s like the best thing I like to do is tackle. My favorite thing to do.” He’s also been a force in the run game in limited use, averaging 8.9 yards a carry with 21 touchdowns, one every 4.5 carries. He’ll enter a crowded room with South Carolina’s defensive line. USC is set to return its top four end/Bucks (D.J. Wonnum, Aaron Sterling, Shameik Blackshear, Brad Johnson) and the top six interior linemen (Javon Kinlaw, Keir Thomas, Kobe Smith, Rick Sandidge, Kingsley Enagbare, Josh Belk). At his size, with the potential to get bigger, he projects as an inside player, assuming the staff continues moving big ends there, as Thomas, Enagbare and injured freshman Tyreek Johnson did. But Herron still feels he has the ability to perhaps be an edge rusher (Pickens plays a lot of end in three-man lines in high school). Herron has him for one more game, and appreciates the motor a player already blessed with talent has shown, even in situations that would frustrate many players. “You see somebody his size running that fast, it can be intimidating.” Herron said. “I wouldn’t want to be on the other side of that, I’ll assure you.”
  19. Friday Recruiting Report December 07, 2018 Four USC commitments are scheduled for official visits with the Gamecocks this weekend…CB Cam Smith, DE Rodricus Fitten, WR Keveon Mullins and TE Keshawn Toney. Other scheduled official visits for this weekend include USC target WR Xavier Legette of Mullins to Tulane, USC target OL Jakai Moore of Nokesville, VA to Penn State, USC target OL Matthew Bedford of Memphis to Indiana and then to Memphis, USC target CB Zay Flowers of Miami to Boston College. Oklahoma was in Thursday to see CB Chris Steele of Bellflower, CA. He’s also a USC target. USC target CB Zay Flowers of Miami will take an official visit to Boston College this weekend. He’s also been to Kansas State and Nebraska and is also looking at NC State.
  20. Gamecocks 5 star DL Zacch Pickens commit named Gatorade South Carolina Football Player of the Year December 06, 2018 | GCF Staff Report South Carolina football commit Zacch Pickens has already piled up the awards. The TL Hanna defensive lineman and five-star added a big one Thursday. Pickens was named the Gatorade South Carolina Football Player of the Year after leading his team to a 14-0 record and a spot in Friday’s state title game. He compiled 82 tackles, 14 for loss, and five sacks, plus 834 yards and 21 touchdowns as a fullback. Pickens is the fifth South Carolina commit to win the award since 2000. Marcus Lattimore won it twice. .mcclatchy-embed{position:relative;padding:40px 0 56.25%;height:0;overflow:hidden;max-width:100%}.mcclatchy-embed iframe{position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%} The full release is below: In its 34th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, today announced Zacch Pickens of T.L. Hanna High School as its 2018-19 Gatorade South Carolina Football Player of the Year. Pickens is the second Gatorade South Carolina Football Player of the Year to be chosen from T.L. Hanna High School. The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Pickens as South Carolina’s best high school football player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award to be announced in December, Pickens joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Emmitt Smith (1986-87, Escambia High School, Fla.), Matthew Stafford (2005-06 Highland Park High School, Texas) and Christian McCaffrey (2012-13, 2013-14, Valor Christian High School, Colo.). The 6-foot-5, 285-pound senior defensive end and running back had led the Yellow Jackets to a 14-0 record and a berth in the Class AAAAA state final against Dutch Fork High at the time of his selection. Pickens had recorded 82 tackles, including 14 for loss, and five sacks through 14 games. A four-time All-Region honoree, who has thrice received All-State recognition rushed for 834 yards and 21 touchdowns, averaging 8.9 yards per carry, entering the state title game. Pickens has volunteered locally with Hemophilia of South Carolina, and he has donated his time as a youth mentor. “Zacch is the most complete player in this state by far,” said Scott Earley, head coach of Westside High. “He has played both sides of the ball and special teams all year. He is a selfless, true team player.” Pickens has maintained a weighted 3.71 GPA in the classroom. He has verbally committed to play football on an athletic scholarship at the University of South Carolina in the fall of 2019. The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year. Pickens joins recent Gatorade South Carolina Football Players of the Year Derion Kendrick (2017-18, South Pointe High School), Dakereon Joyner (2016-17, Fort Dorchester High School), Austin Scott (2015-16, Spartanburg High School), J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (2014-15, Dorman High School), and Shuler Bentley (2013-14, James. F. Byrnes High School) among the state’s list of former award winners.
  21. Gamecock Thursday morning recruiting updates December 06, 2018 2020 OL Ryan Jackson (6-3 290) of Lebanon, TN visited USC for the Tennessee game. He is hearing via text messages from Gamecock offensive line coach Eric Wolford. “He’s great. I really like his energy. He was really honest with me and the line played good against UT. He seems really involved with them personally.” Jackson has not yet been offered but he said several teams are picking up their interest in him. USC offered 2021 CB Jason Marshall of Miami. Some other early offers are Miami, Florida, Florida State and Baylor. USC offered 2021 CB Corey Collier of Miami. He also has offers from Florida State, Baylor, Boston College and others. Dan Mullen and several Florida coaches in Wednesday night to see committed CB Jaydon Hill who has now shut down his recruiting per GatorsTerritory. Gamecocks were attempting to turn him. USC target CB Johnny Dixon of Tampa reaffirmed his plans to commit and sign on December 19th via a tweet. USC commitments CB Cam Smith of Westwood and Rodricus Fitten of Atlanta will take their official visits this weekend. 2020 OL Jake Wray of Marietta, GA decommitted from Ohio State. USC was one of his other offers when he committed. His brother is an offensive lineman at Georgia.
  22. How one of South Carolina’s four-stars is trying to bring a top-50 recruit to Columbia December 05, 2018 Cam Smith has more than just playing football on his mind when he heads down to San Antonio for All-American Bowl in January. The Westwood standout and South Carolina commit will use it as a last chance to persuade Chris Steele to join him in Columbia and play for the Gamecocks. The St. John Bosco (Calif.) defensive back will make his college choice known Jan. 5, the day of the game, in front of a national TV audience. Steele won’t be alone in his persuasion. Fellow USC commit Ryan Hilinski is playing in the game and will be pitching the Gamecocks to Steele. Both Smith and Hilinski along with Joseph Anderson have been on group chat to try and get Steele to come to USC. “I am going to be telling him, reminding him on where he should go and be at,” Smith said Thursday after getting his All-American Bowl jersey. “It is not what you want, it is what you need. We (South Carolina) need him. Florida, Southern Cal just want him. We need him.” Steele isn’t the only one Smith is trying to get into the fold. He also is recruiting four-star recruit and Florida commit Jaydon Hill to South Carolina. Hill had an in-home visit with Gamecock defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson on Thursday night, while Robinson saw Steele on Monday. South Carolina is losing three starters in the secondary and getting Steele and Hill to be Gamecocks would be a huge boost. Smith is the only defensive back commit so far for the Class of 2019. Steele is the No. 42-ranked player in the country according to 247Sports. He originally committed to Southern California but opened up his recruiting back up in July. Steele also is considering Florida Southern Cal, Oklahoma and Oregon. He has visited South Carolina several times and is supposed to have an in-home visit next week. This season, he had 32 tackles, one interception and 11 passes defensed for St. John Bosco, which was ranked No. 1 in the country at times this season. Hill had his season cut short when he tore his ACL on Sept. 26. He had 10 tackles and two passes defensed in four games.
  23. Wednesday Morning recruiting round-up December 05, 2018 LB Tyron Hopper of Roswell, GA a Florida commit who visited USC last weekend, had an in home visit with Florida Tuesday night. USC target CB Jammie Robinson of Leesburg, GA had an in home visit Tuesday night with Kentucky. USC Tuesday offered 2021 DL Payton Page (6-4 295) of Greensboro, NC. Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Duke are some other reported offers.
  24. What does it take to recruit like a CFP team, and can South Carolina do it? December 04, 2018 Asked about the importance of winning his team’s bowl game, South Carolina coach Will Muschamp replied, “I would start with recruiting.” Muschamp always starts with recruiting. And college football always ends with recruiting. The fifth College Football Playoff final four was set on Sunday and will include Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. The Irish are a first-time participant in the sport’s newest system for determining its national champion. In the playoff’s history, 10 schools have filled its 20 available positions. Muschamp was hired to eventually make South Carolina one of those teams, and that, as he said, starts with recruiting. So, what exactly does it take to recruit like a CFP participant? As a general rule, it takes more than the Gamecocks have been doing. An analysis of the recruiting rankings of the 10 CFP participants in the years since 2010 established a clear link between highly regarded signees and success. (The 247Sports Composite rankings, which factor in all networks, were used, and 2010 was the cutoff date because that’s four years prior to the first CFP final four.) Eight of the 10 teams who have participated have an average recruiting rankings of 17 or higher during that period. Washington (24) and Michigan State (28.7) are the only outliers. How do the Gamecocks fit into this picture? South Carolina’s average recruiting ranking since 2010 is 21. The Gamecocks’ current recruiting class, which can sign beginning on Dec. 19, is ranked 20th. Average Recruiting Rankings During CFP Period Alabama (five appearances) 1.8 Ohio State (two appearances) 5.4 Florida State (one appearance) 5.7 Georgia (one appearance) 7 Notre Dame (one appearance) 11.7 Oklahoma (three appearances) 12.3 Clemson (four appearances) 14.5 Oregon (one appearance) 17 Washington (one appearance) 24 Michigan State (one appearance) 28.7
  25. Zacch Pickens will run the ball Saturday at Williams-Brice. He could do it for USC December 03, 2018 Zacch Pickens is having so much fun playing running back that he wouldn’t mind to do some of it in college. And according to Pickens and TL Hanna coach Jeff Herron, South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said the five-star prospect will be part of the Gamecocks’ short-yardage package when he arrives on campus in January. “Coach Muschamp came to one of our games and we were talking in the end zone. He said he was impressed with Zacch running and he said we are going to put in our short yardage stuff next year. I said coach that would be probably a good idea.” Pickens is all for it. ”Coach Muschamp already said they will have something for me (at goal line) so I will play and do whatever I’m needed,” Pickens said. “It has been fun playing running back. I thought I would get tired (playing both ways) but I haven’t been.” Pickens leads the team with 839 yards rushing and he has a pair of 100-yard games in the postseason, including last week against Byrnes. He might have had more yards but he didn’t play much in second half of games with TL Hanna up so big. It is the first time in his career Pickens has played running back in TL Hanna’s wing-T offense. Pickens lobbied Herron for more than a year and finally got a chance to during spring practice and the coach obliged to just to “appease” him. Even though Herron said yes to the 283-pound Pickens, he figured he would give him a carry or two but that would be it. But since the season has gone along, his workload has increased. In the past two games, Pickens has 31 carries. “He has been part of our team on both sides of the ball,” Herron said. “He is a great, special player,” TL Hanna quarterback Alex Meredith said. “He does a lot of work for us, gets tough yards and always falls forward. He is hard to bring down because he is so big. He is great to have back there. I can count on him to get the first down on a crucial third or fourth down late in the game. ... To tackle him for four quarters wears on you so he is nice to have.” Pickens has done a bit of everything for the Yellow Jackets on both sides of the ball. On defense, he leads the team in tackles (82), sacks (5) and tackles for loss (14). The TL Hanna five-star prospect and South Carolina commit will be playing his final high school game at Williams-Brice, the site of where he will be playing his home games of his college career. “It is a huge opportunity and can’t wait to play there with my team there,” Pickens said of Williams-Brice. “It’s exciting and kind of sad at the same time. I’m leaving the team I grew up with to go with another team. But it is all in the process.” Pickens said he received congratulatory messages from the USC coaching staff following TL Hanna’s 57-28 win over Byrnes. Playing in state title caps an amazing senior season Pickens, who began the year with committing to South Carolina during a preseason scrimmage. He has added other honors in the process such as being selected as 5A Upper State lineman of the year, picked for the Shrine Bowl and Under Armour All-American game. But the one Pickens is most happy is helping TL Hanna to its first state title appearance since 1974. “We knew back in the spring this team could be special,” Pickens said. “We just needed to stay focus and we really thank coach Herron. He preached us to it to play one game at a time and here we are.”

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