Defensive back Joseph Charleston of Milton, Ga., got Clemson football's 2019 recruiting class off to a big start with a commitment last week. He chose the Tigers over offers from Alabama, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Ohio State, Mississippi, West Virginia and others.
"His defining characteristic is his explosiveness," said Charleston's head coach Adam Clack. "The way that he can arrive violently from a short space, whether it's at the line of scrimmage and filling backside on a cutback run play, or shed a block and make a play, and then also be back on the hash and play the ball in the air and separate the receiver from the ball, I think that as a coach and an evaluator, those are the things that kind of you have it or you don't, and he has it in spades. That's probably what separates him and attracts a lot of people."
Running back Harold Joiner of Mountain Brook, Ala., has an offer list that includes Alabama, Auburn, Louisiana State, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Syracuse, Central Florida, Missouri, Memphis and others. Clemson also has been recruiting him, but as of now has not offered.
An offer from Clemson would give Joiner something else to think about. Joiner visited Clemson for the Auburn game. He's also been to Alabama three times this season and on Saturday he was at LSU. Joiner said Alabama is recruiting him hard and has invited him to every home game, but he's not one of those instate prospects who feels obligated to go to Alabama and would have no qualms leaving the state. He has not set officials yet and said LSU, Alabama and Auburn are likely, and Clemson probably would get one with an offer. There is no favorite.
RB Lyn-J Dixon of Butler, Ga., is back on the market after de-committing from Tennessee on Saturday. Clemson and Alabama are among the schools he's now considering.
Offensive lineman Richard Gouraige of Tampa, Fla., told the Rivals Florida site that Clemson and Florida are his top two.
OL Jamaree Salyer of Atlanta told Rivals he will announce his commitment on Dec. 15. He's down to Clemson, UF, UGA and Ohio State.
According to Paul Strelow of TigerIllustrated, Auburn commitment wide receiver/DB Matthew Hill of Snellville, Ga., visited Clemson for the Wake Forest game.
Devin Johnson, a '20 linebacker from Paintsville, Ky., was at Clemson's last home game. He camped with the Tigers last summer. Johnson said he's also hearing from UK, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Penn State. He will visit Tennessee on Nov. 4 and Vandy on Nov. 11. He might camp at USC this summer.
Tyreese Morris, a '20 RB/DB of Belmont, N.C., also was at Clemson for the WF game.
CLEMSON AND USC
DB Jaycee Horn of Alpharetta, Ga., was at Alabama on Saturday. He's also been to USC, Clemson, Tennessee and Auburn for games. He remains committed to Tennessee, but USC, Clemson and others remain hot after him. Only USC and Tennessee are locks for official visits. Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson also are possible for officials.
USC, of course, has been on Horn as long as anybody and head coach Will Muschamp and defensive back Travaris Robinson are keeping up their efforts.
"I just like the way they are playing," Horn said of USC. "I talk to Coach Muschamp quite a bit and he sends me faxes and stuff about how they play the most freshmen. It's pretty fun seeing Jamyest (Williams) out there as a freshman making plays and being a big part of their defense. That's a big thing."
Clemson was later to the party with Horn in terms of making an offer. That came just last month so the Tigers are playing catch-up with him. Horn admits schools are coming a lot harder at him because of Tennessee's troubles and the rumors about the coaching staff's future. He's trying to tune out that noise.
"I'm still 100 percent committed," he said. "Schools are coming a lot harder. I'm having a pretty good year and I think that's one of the reasons they are contacting me more and they are seeing I can play a little bit of safety. This season I'm playing most safety and playing pretty good so I think that's been one of the main reasons they are coming a lot harder. Like I said, I'm still 100 percent committed. I'm going to wait until the season finishes out and I'll see where everybody stands. People can say what they want. I'm not going to do anything, I'm not going to de-commit. I'm not going to jump ship like that, but I'll wait until the season ends to see how things play out and move on from there."
Savion Jackson, a '19 defensive end from Clayton, N.C., has USC and Clemson in his top 10. They are joined by Alabama, Tennessee, Louisville, North Carolina, Ohio State, PSU, Virginia Tech and North Carolina State.
USC offered DE Jarrett Jackson of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He's a Louisville commitment but is still drawing a lot of interest from others with offers from Florida State, WF, Pittsburgh, Duke, UK, VT, UNC and Rutgers. Jackson said Louisville has been his only unofficial visit this season. He did not reveal plans for future visits.
LB Dax Hollifield of Shelby, N.C., made his official visit to USC for the Arkansas game. In a video interview with Rivals, Hollifield said a lot of things stood out to him on the visit.
"I really enjoyed it," Hollifield said. "They won pretty big. Their defense is playing really well right now. I really like how Coach Muschamp, Coach TRob (Travis Robinson) and (assistant) Coach (Coleman) Hutzler are making this defense. They are the real leader of the team. They're the reason they win games. I like how they are doing that.
(USC quarterback) Jake Bentley and the offense are coming around. As the year is going on they are getting better."
Hollifield also has been to FSU and UNC officially. He also will take official visits to VT and Stanford.
DE Joe Boletepeli of Wake Forest, N.C., was scheduled for first official to Maryland over the weekend and will visit Michigan State this weekend. He was at NCSU unofficially for the Louisville game. He said USC, NCSU, Maryland and Michigan State are his top schools with UNC, WF, Georgia Tech and Louisville also recruiting him.
Placekicker Cliff Gandis of Christ Church School in Greenville took an unofficial visit to USC for the Arkansas game. He's also been to Stanford unofficially.
LB Connor Shugart of Spartanburg High was offered a preferred walk-on spot by USC. He has a Furman offer. Shugart was selected for the Shrine Bowl.
USC offered '20 WR Jacobi Bellazin of Livonia, La., and '20 LB Isaiah Ratcliff of Ellenwood, Ga. USC also offered '21 WR Quenton Barnes of Nashville, Tenn., according to Rivals.
It appears USC has dropped out of the running for former LSU cornerback Saivion Smith of Gulf Coast Mississippi Junior College. He told the Biloxi Sun-Herald after his game on Thursday he's planning official visits to Alabama, Mississippi State and Auburn.
Tight end Elijah McAllister of Rumson, N.J., said he's not heard from USC since his unofficial visit for the UK game. He's hoping that will change once USC sees his senior film of him playing DE. That's practically all he's played this season and teams are now recruiting him for that. He recently took an unofficial visit to Boston College. He said Rutgers and Purdue are coming to scout him soon.
USC DE commitment Kingsley Enagbare of Atlanta was offered by Notre Dame. Jalen Perry, a '19 DB from Dacula, Ga., told Rivals his top four are USC, UGA, Ohio State and Alabama.
Jeremiah Pruitte, a '19 WR/DB, '19 WR CJ Ogbonna of Marietta, Ga., '19 OL David Bowman of Cumming, Ga., and '19 teammates QB Garrett Shrader and DB Jeremiah Gray of Charlotte were all at USC for the Arkansas game.
According to Hale McGranahan of SEC Country, '19 UGA commits Rashad Cheney and Jadon Haselwood also visited USC for the Arkansas game.
Shrine Bowl WR Sam Pinckney of Greenwood High was scheduled for an unofficial visit to LSU on Saturday and he plans to take an official there in November. He's also going to VT for an unofficial visit this weekend. Pinckney said LSU and VT are on him pretty hard at this point. Both have offered and he hears from them regularly. He said UNC also is showing interest. He's not hearing much from USC or Clemson.
USC men's head coach Frank Martin has been back in Canada this recruiting season for 6-foot-10-inch big man Kaosi Ezeagu, who attends GTA Prep in Mississauga, Ontario.
"South Carolina is in the hunt and he likes South Carolina," said GTA head coach David Cooper. "We keep in contact with Coach Martin. We definitely have a lot of interest."
Cooper said Ezeagu has not set any official visits yet because he's waiting for his NCAA Clearinghouse approval, which he said will come. When that happens, USC will get one of his officials.
His team actually visited USC last week on the way to a tournament in Florida. Some other schools showing interest are Western Michigan, Old Dominion, St. Bonaventure, Princeton, Brown and Creighton. Right now he is looking at signing late, but that is not a definite. In fact, it's not definite he will sign at all for the '18 class because Cooper said there is the possibility of reclassifying to the '19 class since he's only 17 years old.
Per his head coach, USC is still involved with 6-8 Simi Shittu of Vermont Academy. He has visited Vandy and has a visit scheduled with UNC.
Zion Williamson, the 6-6 No. 1 recruit in the country from Spartanburg Day, made his official visit to UK over the weekend. He also has visited Kansas and has upcoming visits scheduled the last two weekends of the month to Duke and UCLA.
He has been unofficially to Clemson and USC and said in a recent interview with Rivals from the USA Basketball mini-camp in Colorado that USC and the Tigers are very much in the picture.
"You should not count out Clemson or South Carolina," Williamson said. "They are showing me a lot of love. I like the messages they're giving me. I might take an official to one of those."
Williamson said he's looking at late November or early December on his decision, "but if it doesn't feel right, then probably longer." The early signing period ends on Nov. 15.
Williamson's good friend and 6-2 Clemson target Devon Dotson of Charlotte announced a commitment to Kansas on Friday.
Clemson offered 6-3 Courtney Ramey of St. Louis. He's a former Louisville commitment.
USC offered '20 shooting guard Jaden Springer of Charlotte and 6-3 '21 prospect Carson McCorkle of Greensboro, N.C.
USC women's targets 5-11 Christyn Williams of Little Rock, Ark., and 6-4 Olivia Nelson-Ododa of Winder, Ga., went to Connecticut over the weekend.
The USC women missed on 6-2 Aquira DeCosta of Sacramento, Calif., when she announced a commitment to Baylor.
Kourtney Rittenberry, a '21 prospect from Snellville, Ga., made an unofficial visit to USC for the Arkansas game.
Pitcher John Gilreath, an '18 commitment from Northwestern High in Rock Hill, announced he plans to graduate from high school in December and enroll at USC in January. That would allow him to join the team for preseason practice in February.
Shortstop George Callil of McLennan JC in Texas committed to USC. He's a native of Australia. Last season, he batted .304 with three home runs and 26 runs batted in.
USC also added commitment from right-handed pitcher Hayden Lehman of Walters State JC in Tennessee and RHP Reid Morgan of San Jacinto JC in Texas. Last season as a freshman, Lehman had an 8-1 win-loss record with three saves and a 1.56 earned run average. He struck out 62 in 51 innings.
Morgan is a transfer from Oklahoma State who is in his first year at the JC. As a freshman last season with the Cowboys, Morgan appeared in six games with no record and a 14.40 ERA.