Even though the Clemson men's basketball program lost out on 5-star recruit Zion Williamson to Duke on Saturday and Dontae Grantham saw his season come to an end with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, things weren't all bad for the Tigers.
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They did defeat Notre Dame in front of a sellout crowd at Littlejohn Coliseum. And they had another favorable experience with 6-foot-11-inch 2019 recruit Malcolm Wilson of Ridge View High School in Columbia, who was in for an unofficial visit.
"It was great. The energy was through the roof," Wilson said. "(Clemson head) Coach (Brad) Brownell and (assistant) Coach (Steve) Smith were both talking to me about continuing being a great rim protector and rebounder. They stressed that to be successful I need to play into my strengths and the other things will come."
Wilson also got some personal time with one of the Tigers' all time greats, someone who knew a thing or two about blocking shots and rebounding.
"I got to speak with (Wayne) "Tree" Rollins, who told me the same things and challenged me to come to Clemson and remove him from the No. 1 spot in blocks and rebounds. They made me feel like I could make a good impact on the team."
Wilson also has a University of South Carolina offer and said there's been nothing new with him and USC. Georgetown and Massachusetts are also now showing interest. He was scheduled to visit Wake Forest for its game this past Sunday.
TJ Moss is a 6-4 combo guard from Memphis, Tenn., who attends Findlay Prep in Las Vegas and remains unsigned for the '18 class at this point. His team played in Columbia in December at the Chick-Fil-A Classic and USC head coach Frank Martin got a good look at him. He plans to take an official visit with USC later in the season. Memphis also is involved and Minnesota also has been in touch. Moss is point guard for Findlay this season.
USC is in the mix with 6-4 Anfernee Simons of IMG Academy in Florida. Simons is one of the top players in the '18 class and once was committed to Louisville. He decommitted after the FBI probe broke out and Martin made a move to get involved.
Simons has visited Tennessee and will visit North Carolina State on Feb. 10. He's also considering USC, Sourthern Methodist, Florida and Minnesota, according to 247Sports. Simons said he's also going to consider his options regarding the National Basketball Association Draft this summer.
Jermaine Couisnard, a 6-4 USC target from Montverde Prep in Florida, was offered by Virginia Tech.
DJ Burns, a 6-9 '19 recruit from York Prep in Rock Hill, made an unofficial visit to USC for the Tennessee game. He's been to USC for multiple games this season.
USC offered 6-6 '19 recruit Juwan Gary of Gray Collegiate in Columbia. Gary also holds offers from Clemson, UF, Maryland, WF, Nevada-Las Vegas, Georgia, Connecticut, Texas A&M and NCSU.
Trey McGowens, a 6-3 '19 recruit from Hargrave Prep in Virginia and Wren High in Piedmont, was offered by Rhode Island. He's also a USC and Clemson target.
Christian Brown, a 6-7 standout from Lower Richland High in Hopkins, returned to Clemson on an unofficial visit for the Miami game. Brown said the visit moved the Tigers higher up on his list. UGA, Georgia Tech, UNLV, Florida State, UF, VT and UMass are others on which he's been focused. He's also planning to visit GT and Alabama this month.
The USC women's program is one of the final nine teams with the nation's top-ranked girls player for '19 in 6-2 Samantha Brunelle of Ruckersville, Va.
"South Carolina is, of course, a great program, a great coaching staff and have good intentions for what they want to do in the future," Brunelle said of the offer. The chance to play for (USC head coach) Dawn Staley also is appealing. I think she was named the Olympic coach for a reason. She runs the floor a lot and has a lot of high-low options, which I work well from the high post area and trailing."
This season, Brunelle is averaging 30 points, 19 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots per game. She is focusing on her season before moving forward with her recruiting. The others on her short list are Connecticut, Duke, Kentucky, Maryland, NCSU, ND, Virginia and WF.
Clemson had official visits over the weekend from two defensive back targets in Matthew Hill of Snellville, Ga., and Leon O'Neal of Cypress Springs, Texas. Hill currently is committed to Auburn as a wide receiver. O'Neal is a former Texas A&M commit and he's still considering the Aggies along with Oklahoma and UGA.
Visits for other Clemson targets: DB Olaijah Griffin to Oregon; DB Tayion Palmer to NCSU; DB Mario Goodrich to UGA; offensive lineman Richard Gouraige to Auburn; WR Justyn Ross to Alabama; and DB Pat Surtain to Alabama.
Clemson recently offered quick-rising cornerback prospect Palmer (6-0, 178) of Lawrenceville, Ga., and secondary coaches Mike Reed and Mickey Conn have been in to see him. Reed was back in last week. Palmer visited NCSU over the weekend and also has been to Vanderbilt and Nebraska. He is scheduled to see Clemson on Friday.
Ross, who is from Phenix City, Ala., is one of the last remaining targets for Clemson in the '18 class. The Tigers will have to beat out Alabama and Auburn to land him. He was at Auburn over the weekend and will go to Alabama this weekend. Clemson recruiters Jeff Scott and Todd Bates met with week before last.
"They were about how I can come and compete for a position knowing that Deon Cain just left for the (National Football League) draft. That's the position he's going to put me at so they were telling me about that. It sounds good to me. I still would like to play for my state, but I don't know for sure. It's really a tie down the stretch right now between Alabama, Auburn and Clemson."
He said he probably won't make another visit to Clemson. He made his official with the Tigers in November. Ross said he'll announce on National Signing Day on Feb. 7 on ESPN at his school via a video. He said the decision will simply come down to a level of comfort.
Clemson offered '18 DB Goodrich of Lees Summit, Mo. He was at UGA over the weekend and also has visited Louisiana State. He has visits to Mississippi and UF scheduled.
Clemson ceased recruiting linebacker Dax Hollifield of Shelby, N.C., per Tiger Illustrated due to lack of scholarships on the defensive side with the return of the upperclassmen. Hollifield has been favoring Stanford, VT and North Carolina.
Jaylon Scott (6-2 220), a '19 LB from Shelby, has offers from Clemson, UNC, NCSU, Duke and Maryland. He was at Clemson on Saturday for the junior day. Scott said Clemson and UNC are on him the hardest at this point of his recruiting and he will visit Chapel Hill this weekend. He said the Duke offer was big to him and he also hears a lot from NCSU. Though he has no favorite, he said Clemson is in good shape with him at this point.
Other unofficial visits at Clemson Saturday included quarterback Sam Howell of Monroe, N.C., OL Keiondre Jones of Hoganville, Ga, WR DeMarco Hellams of Hyattsville, Md., DB Sheridan Jones of Virginia Beach, Va., OL Kamren McCray of Berkeley High in Moncks Corner, LB Tra Wilkins of Stone Mountain, Ga., LB Brandon Smith of Louisa, Va., and OL Harry Miller of Buford, Ga.
Clemson offered '19 running back TJ McDaniel of Southlake, Texas, '19 LB Kalen Deloach of Savannah, Ga., '19 tight end Jackson Lowe of Cartersville, Ga., '19 WR Jaelyn Lay (6-6, 210) of Riverdale, Ga., and '20 DB RJ Mickens of Southlake, Texas.
USC had one uncommitted target in for an official visit over the weekend in defensive end Dennis Briggs of Kissimmee, Fla. He also has visited Miami and is scheduled to visit FSU this weekend.
Visits for other USC targets: defensive lineman John Mincey to Tennessee; OL Dylan Wonnum to Tennessee; DL Rick Sandidge to UNC; WR Warren Thompson to UNC;, and DB DJ Brown to California.
Mincey of Homerville, Ga., has become a primary target for USC head coach Will Muschamp, and he spent a few hours last Wednesday meeting with Mincey and his father. USC DL coach Lance Thompson also was part of the meeting. Mincey visited Tennessee over the weekend and will visit FSU on Feb. 2. He's trying to work in an official visit to USC around his basketball schedule.
Sandidge of Concord, N.C., made an official visit to UNC over the weekend. He's also been to UGA and is scheduled to visit USC this weekend. Last Monday, several USC coaches had dinner with Sandidge, his family and head coach to reestablish their position in the competition.
"They were telling me what they can provide for me and what I can do for them, stuff like that," Sandidge said. "I had a good time, had a fun time eating with them."
He won't make his announcement until NSD, but he will decide before then and notify the schools.
USC's new QB coach Dan Werner has jumped right in to the task of identifying '19 targets for his position and one is Garrett Shrader of Charlotte. Shrader was already involved with USC, and he learned more on an unofficial visit on Saturday.
"I'm just getting to know the new guys and trying to figure out what they want to do, (offensive coordinator Bryan) McClendon and Coach Werner," Shrader said. "They say they want to be a pro-style pass scheme with more of a spread style run game with a little bit more tempo. That's what they're going for. That's what I'm looking for.
"I'd probably add the running element, something that's missing right now from the quarterback. Just a little bit more power read, read option, I think I'd be a little bit more of a threat. That's basically what they are trying to do, get Jake (Bentley) to run the ball a little bit more."
Shrader has visited USC several times for camps and games so he's already familiar with the campus, the academics and the program.
"It's hard to beat SEC (Southeastern Conference) football 90 miles away," he said. "I like the school. They have all the majors I'm looking into. I'm just trying to figure out if it's the right fit for me. I'm open, I'm not trying to rush anything. I'm very comfortable with South Carolina. I like what they are doing. They have a positive trend for them right now winning nine games and a bowl game, but there are still some schools I need to check out."
Shrader said he also plans to see Tennessee, Missouri and Mississippi State. He'd like to make his decision this spring. Some of his other offers are Alabama, West Virginia, Syracuse, Penn State, Ole Miss, Vandy, Pittsburgh and WF.
Werner also offered '20 QB Jack Miller (6-4, 210) of Scottsdale, Ariz., regarded as one of the nation's top QB prospects in his class.
"I'm super excited about it. South Carolina is a place I feel like I would fit in and I'm super interested," Miller said. "I'm planning on coming down there this summer."
And that won't be the first time Miller and Werner will connect. He said their relationship goes back a couple of years.
"I first met Coach Werner in the eighth grade when he was recruiting me at Ole Miss," Miller said. "He said he likes that I get better every time he sees me and my size is perfect. And they'll do the same thing on offense."
Other offers for Miller include Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, FSU and Ohio State.
Other unofficial visits to USC on Saturday included OL Riley Simonds of Buford, Ga., DE Curtis Fann of Twin Cities, Ga., athlete Jammie Robinson of Cordele, Ga., and WR Jamario Holley of Northwestern High in Rock Hill.
Jaylen McCollough, a '19 WR from Powder Springs, Ga., has USC on his short list along with Ohio State, FSU, Alabama, Auburn, UGA and Tennessee.
GT offered USC '19 LB commit Ahdarrious Gee of Cordele, Ga.
USC offered '19 DL Calijah Kancey of Miami, '19 DB Christian Williams of Daphne, Ala., '19 DB Tayvion Land of Virginia Beach, Va., '19 WR Tayvion Robinson of Virginia Beach, Va., '19 RB Tahj Gary of Atlanta, '20 OL Avery Jernigan of Blackshear, Ga., '20 RB Miles Friday of Stone Mountain, Ga., '20 TE Dominic Mammarelli of Naples, Fla, '20 DB Joshua Moten of Fort Washington, Md., and '21 OL Micah Morris of Kingsland, Ga.
VT offered '20 QB Luke Doty of Myrtle Beach High. He also has offers from USC, NCSU and Coastal Carolina.
cLEMSON AND USC
RB Michel Dukes (5-11, 195), a '19 recruit from First Baptist in Charleston, was visited last week by Tony Elliott of Clemson, Bobby Bentley of USC and a recruiter from Duke. He did not visit anywhere over the weekend though he plans to attend future junior days at USC, Clemson, VT, UGA and Coastal.
Dukes has offers from USC, WF, Indiana, VT, UNC, Arkansas, Georgia State and Old Dominion. Dukes said there are no favorites at this point and he's not sure when he'll sign.
Last season, Dukes rushed for 2,100 yards and 34 touchdowns. As a sophomore, he rushed for 2,241 yards and 40 TDs.
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