Three-star cornerback Demarko Williams of Atlanta, who committed to South Carolina on Jan. 21, announced a decommitment on Friday.
William had picked USC over offers from Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Wake Forest, Oregon, Tennessee, Maryland, Florida …
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William had picked USC over offers from Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Wake Forest, Oregon, Tennessee, Maryland, Florida State, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and others.
Williams attended a USC junior day in January and soon afterward committed. At that time, he cited the opportunity to play all over the secondary as a primary reason.
"I want to play as much as possible so knowing the whole secondary increases my chances of playing a whole lot," Williams said. "I'm just a DB (defensive back). I know all the positions around the field, and I can increase my chances of playing on the next level."
Williams is ranked as the No. 54 CB in the country in the 247Sports composite and the No. 55 prospect in Georgia. His decommitment leaves USC with three for the 2021 recruiting class to go along with two holdover specialists from '20.
Three-star offensive tackle Jakiah Leftwich of Atlanta has been a target of USC offensive lineman coach Eric Wolford for months. Head coach Will Muschamp offered Leftwich in late November after a visit to Leftwich's school during the open week, and since then Wolford has kept up his interest.
Leftwich has set July 19 for his announcement, and it would shock few if he picks USC.
"Every day, they text me every day," Leftwich said. "They're saying they want me there, stuff like that. Telling me about playing time. The SEC (Southeastern Conference) is the highest division, the biggest division. And with them, the NFL (National Football League) stuff."
Leftwich said the work Wolford and USC have invested in recruiting him is paying off. He's not calling any favorites, but USC is definitely in a plus position.
"I love where they are standing right now in my recruiting," Leftwich said. "I really like Coach Wolford. He's big on the development of his players and sending players to the NFL. I can be a great tackle there if I do choose to go."
Leftwich said he's also hearing a lot from Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, Indiana and Tennessee. Along with USC, he was able to visit Georgia, GT, FSU and Tennessee before visits were stopped. He said three of his official visits will be to USC, Mississippi State and Tennessee.
UGA has not offered Leftwich at this point, but it did get his most recent visit on March 6. Leftwich is confident new OL coach Matt Luke will come through with an offer. West Virginia, Syracuse and Texas Christian are his most recent offers.
There's been a change in the top five with running back Lovasea Carroll of Warrenton, Ga., and IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. On January 17, he named his top five as USC, Florida, UGA, Auburn and Ohio State. However, he has dropped Ohio State from his list and replaced it with Tennessee.
As for the USC, it remains very much in the hunt and very active with its recruiting.
"It's pretty much been the same, just talking to the coaches and stuff like that," Carroll said. "They are still saying that I'm a priority and stuff like that. I've been talking to Coach Mike (Bobo), the quarterbacks coach (and offensive coordinator), and Coach (Bobby) Bentley, the running backs coach. They are saying to go ahead and jump on the train. They are trying to change the program around, and they want me to be a part of it." Recently jumping on that train was quarterback Colten Gauthier of Dacula, Ga. He and Carroll are close friends from their younger football days, and Gauthier has been doing what he can to convince Carroll to join him in Columbia.
"We boys, we talk all the time," Carroll said. "He'll text me. It's not an everyday thing but we talk a lot though. I wouldn't mind going to play right beside my boy at the end of the day."
The end of the day in his recruiting has been set for Aug. 6. Between now and then, when visits are once again allowed, Carroll plans to take official visits to all five finalists. He had scheduled one with USC for the spring game.
UF remains the favorite at this point but is by no means a lock, according to Carroll.
"It's not (a) big (lead); it can be overcome," Carroll said. "All the schools are right there in the same category, it's just that Florida is just a little ahead. It could be anybody still."
Carroll is a 4-star prospect who rushed for over 1,400 yards as a sophomore. A shoulder injury last season limited his playing time and he rushed for 570 yards and eight touchdowns. He did average 10 yards per carry.
Wide receiver Malcolm Johnson (6-feet-1-inch, 185 pounds) is a 4-star, 2-sport prospect from Bryans Road, Md., who attends school in Alexandria, Va. He's an acclaimed track and field athlete in the 200-, 100- and 55-meter dashes. That speed has transferred well to the football field where he's also attracted national attention.
Johnson named a top 12 last week and USC was firmly in the mix.
"I talk to them quite frequently actually," Johnson said. "I mainly talk to (assistant) Coach (Kyle) Krantz. They definitely like my speed. They want to get me down so I can get a feel on how they do things over there. It was actually going to be my first visit there this spring break."
Johnson maintained there's sincere interest on his part toward USC, and he just needs to get the campus to learn more about the football and track programs.
"There's a definite big interest in South Carolina and what they have to offer," Johnson said. "I can get a better feel if I can get down there and see how it actually is. I definitely feel like they really like me."
Johnson also has been talking in detail with USC WR coach Bryan McClendon. He's liked the approach McClendon has taken with him.
"He is a great coach, very sincere, and keeps it real," Johnson said. "He is saying that he can use me in a lot of different ways. It hasn't really been that much about football. It's been about just who I am, and I really appreciate that, something else that's different from the football aspect." USC faces stiff competition for Johnson. The other 11 on his short list are Maryland, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Alabama, Virginia Tech, UGA, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana State, Auburn and Tennessee. He has taken unofficial visits to North Carolina and Maryland.
Johnson is ranked the No. 7 WR prospect in the country in the 247Sports composite and the No. 6 prospect in the state of Virginia. He will not be an early graduate.
USC dipped into south Florida to become the first SEC offer for athlete Tavoris Miller (6-0, 160) of Miami. Miller said USC likes him as a DB. He also plays QB and WR and is on the basketball team.
"I was happy that I got my first SEC offer from South Carolina," Miller said. "I'm planning more to come, I've just got to keep working. I watch South Carolina on TV when they have their football games, and I love to watch them because they are a good team."
Miami is the other Power 5 conference offer for Miller at this point. He also has offers from Coastal Carolina, Florida International, Western Kentucky and Tennessee State.
Other USC offers last week went to 3-star tight end Elijah Arroyo (6-4, 210) of Frisco, Texas; '22 class 3-star CB Joshua Thompson (6-2, 185) of Washington; 3-star CB Devin Moore of Naples, Fla.; 4-star WR Luther Burden of St. Louis; 4-star linebacker Torren Wright (6-3, 210) of Kannapolis, N.C.; 4-star CB/RB Kody Jones (5-10, 165) of Memphis, Tenn.; WR Mari Brown (6-3, 170) of Stuart, Fla.; WR Andre Greene (6-3, 180) of Richmond, Va.; and LB Keaten Wade (6-4, 215) of Spring Hill, Tenn.
USC TE target Bryson Nesbit of Charlotte was offered by Michigan State, USC LB target Raneiria Dillworth was offered by Penn State, and USC ATH target Kamarro Edwards was offered by LSU.
USC RB target Trevion Cooley picked up offers from Syracuse, Mississippi State, Coastal, Georgia Southern, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and Temple. USC RB target Tiyon Evans of Hartsville and Hutchinson Junior College in Kansas was offered by WKU.
USC LB target Bryce Steele was offered by Texas. He has had USC and UNC as his top two with an announcement date of April 9.
USC is in the top 8 with RB AJ Green of Tulsa, Okla. The others are Oklahoma, LSU, Michigan, Baylor, Texas Tech, Arkansas and Oklahoma State.
One of the top OL targets for Clemson in the '21 class is OT Tristan Leigh (6-3, 275) of Fairfax, Va. Leigh carries a 5-star label in the 247Sports composite and is ranked the No. 4 OL in the country and the No. 2prospect in Virginia.
As such, he owns offers from coast to coast. He has not narrowed the field, but Clemson is very much in play, largely due to the work of OL coach Robbie Caldwell.
"I talk mostly with Coach Caldwell, we're pretty tight," Leigh said. "If I had an elite list, they would definitely be high up on it. I like the culture there. They have a winning culture there. And also, Coach Caldwell, he's a real dude."
Caldwell envisions Leigh filling an OT spot, most notably on the left side which likely will be vacated by Jackson Carman after the '20 season.
"He said he likes my length and my size," Leigh said. "He said he likes how violent and aggressive I play. He said I'm right for his style, and I can move really well for a big dude."
Leigh visited Clemson for the FSU game, and he returned for the junior day in late January. It was then he got a better feel for what Clemson would feel like for him.
"I got a better feel than from the game," Leigh said. "I know it was cool to be in the game day atmosphere, but at the junior day, they really showed me how I would be incorporated into their program. And in the business world, I know they take care of their players and try to make enough opportunity for players to have when we retire."
Virginia was the only other unofficial visit Leigh was able to make prior to the recruiting shutdown. His plan is to take his official visits when things reopen, and he has no timeline for a decision.
Some of his other offers include USC, Tennessee, FSU, Ohio State, UGA, Notre Dame, UVa, VT, Oklahoma, Michigan, Southern California, Alabama and Auburn.
The recruiting focus for 5-star QB Caleb Williams (6-1, 209) of Washington has narrowed to five programs -- Clemson, Oklahoma, Maryland, PSU and LSU.
Williams is rated in the 247Sports composite as the No. 1 dual threat QB in the nation. Clemson, which has expressed interest in some other QBs in the class, is holding off on offering others while the Williams situation plays out.
Williams visited Clemson for a game in September and was back for a junior day in January. He also has visited his other finalists with Oklahoma getting the most recent visit in early March.
Williams revealed his final five schools on an on-line blog with SI.com. About Clemson he wrote: Clemson, jeez, (head) Coach Dabo (Swinney), he's a Christian man. He believes in the Man (God), the higher-up, and that's always good. Look what he's been able to do in the past 10 years with Clemson. They have been a good program for a while, but you look at the last five or six years, what he's done, that's unbeatable. Then you go around their coaching staff, their staff is first class.
Clemson is in the top 10 with 4-star ATH Sage Ryan of Lafayette, La. The others are UF, UGA, Auburn, TCU, Ole Miss, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee and Michigan.
Clemson made the top eight with 3-star OL Jared Wilson of Clemmons, N.C. Also on the list are LSU, Auburn, FSU, UGA, UF, Arkansas and UNC. He's a former UGA commitment.
Clemson CB target Philip Riley was offered by Texas, Vanderbilt and ND.
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