The University of South Carolina and Clemson football programs scored key commitments minutes apart on Saturday, defensive back Israel Mukuamu going with USC and offensive lineman Jordan McFadden to the Tigers.
Mukuamu (6-feet-4-inches, 180 …
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Mukuamu (6-feet-4-inches, 180 pounds) is the former standout at Berkeley High School in Moncks Corner who played this season in Bossier City, La. He had been committed to Florida State before the coaching change there, and continued recruiting love from USC head coach Will Muschamp convinced him to join USC.
"Just being comfortable with the staff and coming back to the state of South Carolina to play football," Mukuamu stated as reasons for his decision. "It was God's plans. I guess he had to take me out of the state for me to realize that South Carolina is the place for me to be."
Mukuamu said Muschamp recruited him as a cornerback and laid out for him plans to early snaps on the defense and the special teams his freshman season.
"I see a very bright future; I believe I'm going to be a standout player there," he said. "I believe that we can win a SEC (Southeastern Conference) championship as well as a national championship there. I just have to go in, work hard and trust in God. I know I'm going to fit in very well.
"The SEC has a lot of big (wide) receivers, and they like to throw the ball downfield. With my length and speed, I think I match up very well. I just have to put in the work."
Mukuamu also considered Indiana, Purdue and Georgia along with USC and FSU. He will visit USC this weekend to watch bowl practice for the upcoming Outback Bowl. He will be an early signee and will enroll in January.
Mukuamu is USC's 19th commitment for the 2018 class and the fourth for the secondary.
McFadden (6-4, 285) had been committed to Virginia Tech since July 4 and made his flip to the Tigers official after several weeks of strong speculation he would do just that. Clemson had to make up ground on the competition for McFadden because it offered later than others. However, the Tigers had the advantages of McFadden growing up as a fan and the proximity to his home.
"It feels really good. I'm really happy, just to finally make up my mind that this is where I'm going," said McFadden, who played for Dorman High in Roebuck. "It was pretty hard (to tell the Hokies) but I think they understand."
McFadden gives Clemson 12 commitments for the '18 class and the first for the OL. The Tigers lose starting guards Tyrone Crowder and Taylor Hearn, center Justin Falcinelli and backup G Maverick Morris after this season, and it's possible starting left tackle Mitch Hyatt leaves a yearly early for the National Football League.
"Just the opportunity to play early," he said was a major reason for switching. "They were doing everything to try to convince me to come and join them, recruiting me real hard and showing a lot of love. I just think it was the place I want to be."
Given the chance to play early, McFadden said he feels he can handle his own with the Tigers because of his set of his skills. "I think I can come in and work hard and get better each and every day," McFadden said. "Whenever my number is called I think I'll be ready to play. I'll bring some athleticism to the table. I think I do well in space and move my feet well."
McFadden was chosen for the Shrine Bowl, but will not be able to play due to a knee injury suffered in the 5A state championship game. He will sign on Dec. 20 but won't enroll until the summer.
OL Jaylen Nichols (6-5, 290) of Charlotte confirmed on Monday he had committed to USC for the '19 class, giving USC three juniors in that pledge class. Nichols was offered by USC in the summer after attending a camp in Columbia.
Nichols also has an offer from Indiana, plus he has drawn interest from North Carolina, Arkansas and VT. He attended games this past season at USC, VT and UNC.
He said OL coach Eric Wolford along with Muschamp made him feel very comfortable.
"I like the coaches because they are consistent, honest and straightforward," Nichols said. "Coach Wolford said I need improvement, of course, but where I am now he sees a bright future."
Nichols said he primarily plays OT. Right now, he's planning to sign in December of '18. He said he won't shut down his recruiting because he wants to draw in recruiters to see some of his teammates next season.
Nichols joins lineback Ahdarrious Gee of Cordele, Ga., and defensive end Rodricus Fitten of Atlanta as commitments for USC's '19 class.
DB Jaycee Horn of Alpharetta, Ga., made his official visit to USC over the weekend with his father, former NFL star Joe Horn. Horn had visited USC several times for games, but this visit gave him a chance to spend more time with the players and Muschamp.
"They are a real cool group of guys," Horn said. "It felt good being around them and I can see myself being around them a lot."
Horn also got more of an education from Muschamp and defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson on how he would be used in their defense. He said he spent a lot of time with the coaches at the USC football banquet on Saturday.
"They were talking about how they need me on the outside so they'll be able to play more of the scheme they want to play," Horn said. "They were already high in consideration, and the visit didn't do anything but help that at the end of the day."
Horn said he will visit either Ohio State or Alabama this coming weekend. He's also still in touch with Clemson, and the Tigers remain under consideration at this point.
Horn, a former Tennessee commitment, also has heard from new Volunteers head coach Jeremy Pruitt a couple of times, and he will be talking to the secondary coach. However, he said USC, Clemson, Ohio State and Alabama are the four primary schools on his mind with no leader at this point.
Horn said Muschamp and Robinson plan to make an in-home visit with him this week. He does not plan to sign early.
Athlete Bryce Thompson, a Shrine Bowl selection from Dutch Fork High in Irmo, also visited USC over the weekend. He's had USC as one of his favorites along with Virginia Tech, NC State and Marshall. He would like to sign early if he can.
"I'm about to commit pretty soon." That's what LB Channing Tindall of Spring Valley High in Columbia told Lou Bezjak of TheState.com on Thursday after receiving the inaugural Mr. Richland County Football Player of the Year. Last week Tindall had visits from Muschamp and USC assistant Coleman Hutzler, Auburn LB coach and Spring Valley graduate Travis Williams and Georgia inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann.
He did not say when he will decide or if he has a favorite. His only official visit thus far was to Auburn for the Iron Bowl. Tindall was selected for the Shrine Bowl but will sit out the game while resting a bruised shoulder. He plans to play in the U.S. Army All-American Game in January of '18.
DB Trey Dean of Hampton, Ga., decommitted from Tennessee on Thursday, the day after in-home visits with USC's Robinson and with Kentucky. He visited UK over the weekend and will visit Florida this weekend.
With him signing on Dec. 20, Dean said he likely won't visit USC officially though he's been there twice before. He said UK and UF are in the best position with him, and he's also looking at Alabama. He said Alabama coaches probably will visit this week.
USC DB target Asante Samuel told Rivals Miami is making a strong push for him now. He has taken an official to USC and plans to visit FSU, Miami and Ohio State in January. He has been an FSU commitment. USC coaches were in to see him last week.
OL Jovaughn Gwyn of Charlotte told Rivals after his team's championship win on Saturday he will take an official visit to USC on Saturday after the Shrine Bowl. He's been to NCSU and is also talking to Duke.
USC's Robinson made an in-home visit last week with LB Rosendo Louis of Deerfield Beach, Fla., who has been an FSU commit.
USC recruiter Lance Thompson was out last week to see DE Dorian Gerald of College of the Canyons Junior College in California. Tennessee also went out to see him. He also was offered by Mississippi and was contacted by new UF head coach Dan Mullen. Gerald committed to the Vols' previous staff but has been actively looking at other schools. He took an official visit to Louisville over the weekend.
DE Dennis Briggs of Kissimmee, Fla., said last week he will take an official visit to USC. The date has not been set.
USC offered '19 DE Colby Wooden of Lawrenceville, Ga., '19 OL Jakai Moore of Nokesville, Va., '19 WR Jameson Williams of St. Louis, '20 WR James Frenchie of St. Louis, '19 defensive lineman Tymon Mitchell of Nashville, Tenn., '20 DE Fadil Diggs of Camden, N.J., and '20 running back Mookie Cooper of St. Louis.
Clemson hosted OL Jackson Carman of Fairfield, Ohio, for an official visit over the weekend. Carman also has taken an official visit to Ohio State and will visit Southern California this coming weekend. He will announce on Dec. 20. Ohio State and Southern Cal have had their in-home visits and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney is scheduled to visit this week.
Clemson is looking for one RB for the '18 class and two on the board right now are Lyn-J Dixon of Butler, Ga., and Jashaun Corbin of Rockledge, Ga.
Dixon, a former Tennessee commitment, made his official visit to Clemson on Nov. 17. He went to Louisville over the weekend and will visit Oklahoma State this weekend and Alabama in January.
Corbin, who decommitted from FSU on Dec. 3, and before that Tennessee in May, has taken an official visit to Oregon and also plans to visit Clemson.
"They are only taking one running back in the class," Corbin said. "Just to know that I'm one of those guys that they are looking out really says a lot."
Corbin said he will also visit Southern Cal and FSU in January. Texas Christian and Nebraska are two other schools that have been in to see him this month and he was offered by VT last week. He won't sign until February.
Clemson DB target Brendan Radley-Hiles of IMG Academy in Florida, in his latest diary update for Land of 10, said he will take his final official visit to UF this weekend. He visited Clemson officially in November. He's a former Nebraska commitment. He's also been considering Oklahoma, Texas and UCLA and was offered on Sunday by FSU. Swinney made his in-home visit over the weekend.
Ohio State beat out Clemson for DB Tyreke Johnson of Jacksonville.
DB Leon O'Neal Jr. of Cypress Springs, Texas, decommitted from Texas A&M. Clemson was one of the schools he considered before committing to A&M.
Litchfield Ajavon, a '19 ATH from Alexandria, Va., has a final seven of Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, UGA, VT and Wisconsin.
Clemson offered '19 WR Frank Ladson Jr. of Miami. He recently decommitted from UF. The Tigers also offered '19 DB Tyrique Stevenson of Homestead, Fla., a UF commitment, '19 WR Lance Wilhoite of Nashville, '19 OL Caedan Wallace of Princeton, N.J., and '20 OL Paris Johnson Jr. of Cincinnati.
CLEMSON AND USC
Heavy speculation has DE KJ Henry of Clemmons, N.C., picking Clemson when he announces on ESPNU at 4:20 PM on Dec. 20. However, according to his head coach, the speculators have a creative imagination because to his knowledge Henry has yet to make a decision.
"I'm not sure who those people are. I'm not saying he won't, but I wouldn't call it a slam dunk," said Henry's head coach Adrian Snow. "I have been privy to a lot of it in listening to him and talking to him. There are still factors he is weighing. It's going to be a tough decision for him because he has ties to each school. He'll have to put his big boy pants on and make a decision."
USC, Clemson, UGA and VT are the primary four at this point. Henry canceled a visit to Alabama for this past weekend and Snow believes that eliminates the Crimson Tide.
USC, Clemson, UGA and VT each had in-home visits last week. Muschamp and assistants met with Henry and his mother at the school on Thursday morning, a meeting Snow attended.
"He (Muschamp) talked about opportunities and the opportunity he'd have at South Carolina would be pretty quick," Snow said. "The others, you never know because they've got some real good players, not saying South Carolina doesn't."
Swinney and assistants made their visit with Henry in the home on Wednesday night and Snow said that gathering also went well.
"It was not a lot about football, it was more about family," he said. "They were exchanging stories and having a good time, that's about what it was."
Henry, throughout the recruiting process, has never publicly identified a favorite. He is at the Shrine Bowl this week.
DL Damion Daley of Ridge View High in Columbia committed to Colorado State.
LB Kyle Wright of Ben Lippen in Columbia committed to UNC.
DE Antonio Anderson of Lower Richland High in Hopkins has an official visit to South Carolina State set for January. He's also looking at Charleston Southern and Gardner-Webb for visits.
WR Brendan Easley of Palmetto Prep was offered by Marshall and Morgan State, and WR teammate Tyriq Martin, who is from Goose Creek, is hearing from Pittsburgh, Massachusetts, Eastern Kentucky and Samford.
Trey McGowens, a 6-3 point guard formerly of Wren High in Piedmont but playing this season at Hargrave Prep in Virginia, originally was in the '18 class but reclassified for '19 to give himself more time to develop and earn more major offers.
Those offers have poured in and McGowens gave some thought to going back to the '18 class, especially after an official visit to Clemson, but he said he will stay in the '19 class. McGowens' offers include Clemson, Tennessee, NCSU, Seton Hall, TCU, Kansas State, Virginia Commonwealth and others. USC has not yet offered, but remains very interested and McGowens took an unofficial visit for the Clemson football game. McGowens said his upcoming visits will include Clemson, NCSU, Tennessee and possibly Georgia Tech. He does not claim a favorite.
Brenden Tucker, a 6-2 '19 recrurit from Lawrenceville, Ga., was offered by Clemson.
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