RECRUITING

Florida DB Smith impressed with USC visit

By PHIL KORNBLUT
Posted 9/27/17

Defensive back CJ Smith of West Palm Beach, Fla., made an official visit to the University of South Carolina over the weekend, departing campus on Sunday night.

"Everything went great," Smith said. "The people, the atmosphere of the (Louisiana …

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RECRUITING

Florida DB Smith impressed with USC visit

Posted

Defensive back CJ Smith of West Palm Beach, Fla., made an official visit to the University of South Carolina over the weekend, departing campus on Sunday night.

"Everything went great," Smith said. "The people, the atmosphere of the (Louisiana Tech) game, the coaching staff, it was all great. Lot of good facilities. It bumps them up higher. None of my other visits should be better than South Carolina."

Smith talked with head coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson about their defense and how he would fit in.

"They said they would play me where I feel comfortable," said Smith, who can play safety and cornerback.

Antoine Wilder served as his host. Smith also has official visits set with Oklahoma on Oct. 6 and Mississippi on Oct. 20 and has been focused the most on the USC, the Sooners and Ole Miss. He had been favoring Oklahoma, but the USC visit changed that.

"Now that I've visited South Carolina, there's nobody in front right now," Smith said. He plans to make his decision in November.

Other official visits of note scheduled for the weekend: USC DB target Israel Mukuamu of Bossier City, La., to Indiana, USC linebacker target Dax Hollifield of Shelby, N.C., to Florida State and Irmo High School defensive end Trajan Jeffcoat to Missouri.

Mukuamu also plans to visit USC, Georgia, Louisville and FSU. He remains an FSU commitment at this point. He's looking at the Arkansas weekend of Oct. 14 for his USC visit.

USC DB target Saivion Smith of Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College added offers from Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

DE Joe Boletepeli of Wake Forest, N.C., has not yet lined up official visits, but when he does it's a strong likelihood USC will be on his list. USC offered Boletepeli in late August and is keeping in touch through defensive line coach Lance Thompson. Boletepeli said he does not have favorites from an offer list that also includes Maryland, Rutgers, Syracuse, Louisville, North Carolina, UGA, Wake Forest, Michigan State, North Carolina, Arkansas, East Carolina and Miami.

USC offensive line coach Eric Wolford was in touch with OL Jerome Carvin of Cordova, Tenn., last week, still trying to land his final official visit on Nov. 11. He's also looking at Michigan, Indiana and Memphis for the fifth official. Carvin has official visits set with Tennessee on Sept. 30, Mississippi State on Oct. 13, Alabama on Oct. 20 and Arkansas on Dec. 1. Carvin said he does not have any favorites at this point.

Tight end Elijah McAllister of Rumson, N.J., was at USC for the Kentucky game. USC has not yet offered McAllister, but he's hopeful for one after his senior film is reviewed.

USC wide receiver commitment Josh Vann of Tucker, Ga., also was in Columbia for the UK game. He recently took an official visit to Kansas State, but said his commitment to USC remains firm after the visit. Vann said he has no other visits planned at this point. He expects to take his official to USC in January.

DB Jaycee Horn of Alpharetta, Ga., is a Tennessee commitment, but he visited USC for the UK game with his dad for his first game at USC. Horn got chance to talk with Muschamp and Robinson and they continued to push for his services.

"It was the same message; just come in and have an opportunity to start off the bat," Horn said. "They start the most true freshmen out of all the colleges. They've got Jamarcus King, he's a senior DB. Chris Lammons, he's a senior. And Rashad Fenton might come out (for the National Football League draft), so it's a good opportunity to play there and their program is on the rise."

Horn said he remains firmly committed to Tennessee, but he will take all of his official visits after the season, and he's not yet decided where.

USC is among the top teams with 2020 athlete Johnny Dixon of Tampa, Fla. The others on his list are Auburn, Alabama, South Florida, Oregon, FSU, Ohio State, Florida and Tennessee.

DL Rick Sandidge of Concord, N.C., made an unofficial visit to USC for the UK game. He stayed over Saturday night and met with the coaches on Sunday. Sandidge also has been to UNC for a game and no future game visits are set. He's not ready to release official visit plans, but said he's been talking to UGA, UF and Michigan out of his topseven for three of those. He said USC might get an official visit.

CLEMSON

The recent talk of Clemson DE commitment Xavier Thomas of Florence and IMG Academy in Florida potentially reopening his recruiting and taking other official visits did have merit. His father posted on Facebook last week that he was encouraging his son to take visits, but he no longer is.

Ezra Thomas wrote in part: "Za has made it passionately clear that his heart is with Clemson and that he is very much "all in." His willingness to still do the official visits at my desire speaks volumes to me of his character and the strength of his resolve. He may decide to respect my concerns and still take advantage of his official visits. But I will not ask that of him nor demand it of him. He and I have agreed that he will not be decommiting his verbal commitment from Clemson. There is no doubt in my heart nor mind about his commitment to play at Clemson and I will support that commitment completely without any complaint."

The younger Thomas later tweeted: "This is true facts. & I'm not taking the visits. We are ALLIN."

Clemson offered Auburn WR/DB commitment Matthew Hill of Snellville, GA. The Tigers also continue working Auburn DB pledge Quindarious Monday of Atlanta. Clemson secondary coach Mike Reed remains in regular contact, trying to convince Monday picked the wrong set of Tigers.

"I know I love both of the schools and I've got to keep thinking it out," Monday said. "I know it will be a hard decision and I've got to think it out and see what's best for me. Clemson does have a chance." Monday said he's not sure when he'll make his final decision.

OL Jamaree Salyer of Atlanta told Rivals that Clemson and UGA are his top two at this point with Ohio State, Notre Dame and Stanford also on his short list. He plans to make his decision known on Dec. 20.

Khris Bogle, a '19 DE from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is a hotly recruited prospect in his class and Clemson is one of his offers. Bogle also has offers from Miami, FSU, UF, Louisiana State, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon and others. He hopes to visit Clemson this season if he can work it into his schedule.

Clemson offered '19 OL Pierce Quick of Trussville, Ala. He's committed to Alabama.

Clemson offered '19 WR Trey Knox of Murfreesboro, Tenn. He visited for the Boston College game.

CLEMSON AND USC

DE KJ Henry of Clemmons, N.C., made his first official visit over the weekend to UGA. USC, Clemson, Alabama and Virginia Tech are his other finalists.

BASKETBALL

Clemson hosted 6-foot-7-inch Hunter Tyson of Monroe, N.C., for an official visit over the weekend, and he committed to the Tigers on Monday. Tyson also has visited Davidson.

He averaged 27 points and 10 rebounds per game last season.

USC women's head coach Dawn Staley hosted three highly coveted uncommitted prospects over the weekend in 6-2 Aquira Decosta of Sacramento, Calif., 5-11 Christyn Williams of Little Rock, Ark., and 6-4 Olivia Nelson-Ododa of Winder, Ga.

Decosta has visited Southern California and Louisville and also has visits scheduled with Tennessee and Baylor. Williams has been to UCLA and has other visits scheduled with Tennessee, Texas and Connecticut. Nelson-Ododa also has Stanford, Duke, UConn, UGA and FSU on her short list.

Zion Williamson, the 6-6 No. 1 prospect in the country from Spartanburg Day, was scheduled for an official visit to UK over the weekend, but did not make it. Williamson's stepfather, Lee Anderson, said there was a death in the family, but did not say at the time he wouldn't be making the visit. He is expected to reschedule. He also is scheduled for officials to Duke, UCLA, Kansas and possibly UNC. He has taken unofficials to Clemson and USC.

Jericole Hellems, a 6-7 player from St. Louis, made an official visit to USC for the UK weekend. "What stood out was the family spirit the Gamecocks have and the bonds that are created after people graduate or go to the next level," Hellems said. "(USC head) Coach (Frank Martin) tells me he likes my passion and how hard I play and that I love to win. I know Coach Martin is a great coach and he also likes to win. It was a great experience, just fun, and I enjoyed myself."

Hellems also has visited NCSU and also has on his short list Mizzou, Arkansas, VT, Georgia Tech and UF. Last season, Hellems averaged 22 ppg.

USC assistant Chuck Martin visited GTA Prep in Mississauga, Ontario, last week where USC has offered 6-10 Kaosi Ezeagu.

Point guard Anthony Nelson, a Clemson target from South Kent, Conn., visited Dayton over the weekend. He is scheduled for Seton Hall this weekend and Clemson the following weekend.

USC target 6-8 Simi Shittu of Vermont Academy set three of his official visits as Vanderbilt on Oct. 6, Arizona on Nov. 3 and UNC on Nov. 10. He's not sure whether he'll take two more visits during the season or after. He told 247Sports USC is the only other school he's considering right now.

Clemson offered '19 7-0 center Balsa Koprivica of Windermere, Fla. Assistant coach Steve Smith was at his school, Windermere Prep, to scout him and the offer came following that evaluation.

Clemson also offered 6-5 Marcus Watson of Clemmons, NC, a '19 prospect.

Aaron Nesmith, a 6-5 player from Porter-Gaud in Charleston, committed to Vanderbilt last week. He chose Vandy over USC and UF. Nesmith said the academic opportunities and the chance to develop into an NBA prospect were the primary reasons he chose Vandy. He averaged 19 ppg last season.

Jake Lanford, a 6-9 player also from Porter Gaud, committed to Yale.

BASEBALL

USC is ranked third and Clemson 11th in the recruiting rankings by Baseball Collegiate for the '17 class. Vandy is No. 1 and UF No. 2.