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4-star QB Gauthier commits to South Carolina

Phil Kornblut
Sports Contributor
Posted 3/21/20

The University of South Carolina landed a commitment from 4-star QB Colten Gauthier (6-feet-3-inches, 205 pounds) of Dacula, Ga., on Wednesday.

Gauthier was offered by USC last year while Dan Werner was the QB coach, and new offensive coordinator …

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4-star QB Gauthier commits to South Carolina

Posted

The University of South Carolina landed a commitment from 4-star QB Colten Gauthier (6-feet-3-inches, 205 pounds) of Dacula, Ga., on Wednesday.

Gauthier was offered by USC last year while Dan Werner was the QB coach, and new offensive coordinator and QB coach Mike Bobo picked right up on his recruiting once he arrived in December.

Gauthier made at least five unofficial visits to USC for recruiting and camp purposes over the last year and had kept it high on his list along with Florida State, Mississippi and Central Florida. Some of his other offers are Boston College, Duke, Virginia Tech, Colorado, Michigan State, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami, Georgia Tech and Indiana.

Gauthier last visited USC on March 5, and he got the chance to go inside the offense and the QB position with Bobo.

"I met with Coach Bobo for two hours and talked about life and football," he said after that visit. "And I met with (USC head) Coach (Will) Muschamp and Bobo In Muschamp's office for about an hour and discussed how interested they are. I am a top priority. I told them they are definitely a top school and I'm looking to make a decision soon."

Gauthier passed for 2,401 yards, 20 touchdowns against eight interceptions. As a sophomore, he passed for 2,088 yards, 19 TDs and 14 INTs.

Rivals rates him as a 4-star prospect and the No. 14 pro-style quarterback in the country. He's ranked as the No. 26 prospect in Georgia by Rivals. He is rated as a 3-star prospect by 247Sports, the No. 18 pro-style quarterback nationally and the No. 38 prospect in Georgia.

Gauthier is the third new commitment for USC's 2021 recruiting class, which now counts five members with two specialists carried over from the '20 recruiting season.

Former USC running back commitment Lovasea Carroll of Warrenton, Ga., and IMG Academy in Florida is ready to dance the dance again with USC. He committed last May and then decommitted the day after USC lost to UNC. There wasn't much contact between the two for the next three months, but conversations resumed in January and remain regular to this day.

"I talk to Coach Muschamp a lot," Carroll said. "He sends me a quote every day, and we'll talk almost twice a week, or I'll talk to (offensive coordinator) Coach Mike (Bobo). We talk about like how I'm a priority for them and they would love to have me."

There have been significant changes in the USC offense since Carroll's initial commitment. Thomas Brown no longer is the RB coach. Bobby Bentley is back coaching RBs and Bobo is the new OC. The changes are something Carroll said he'll have to sort through.

"I feel like this was a big move, and I really hadn't flipped through it yet," Carroll said. "I'm going to go on my visit, and I hope I get more Intel on it and stuff like that." Carroll's only unofficial visit thus far this year was to UF. He had set an official visit to USC for April 3, but that will have to be rescheduled. He also plans to take officials to, Auburn, Tennessee, UGA and UF. Carroll said UF is the team to beat right now.

"I've visited there a lot and visited there recently," Carroll said. "I feel like I can come there and play early."

Carroll missed much of his junior season with a shoulder injury, which he said is fine now. The year before he rushed for nearly 1,500 yards.

USC recently offered WR Chauncey Magwood (6-feet, 187 pounds) of Leesburg, Ga., the same school that sent DB Jammie Robinson to USC. Magwood said he has been hearing from USC since the offer and the next step for him is to get to Columbia for his first visit. That's something in the works, but it has not been set yet.

"We're trying to set up a visit and all that, so I'll be coming down there," Magwood said. "I look for a great experience when I get there, see how it fits me. I talk to them a little bit. I talk to Coach Bobo and (WR) Coach (Bryan) McClendon. I've got to go there and experience it. I've got to go there for a visit."

Magwood visited FSU two weekends ago. He also has been to Tennessee and Troy. Coming up he plans to take visits to Central Florida, UF, Ole Miss, UK and Arkansas. Earlier this month, Magwood released a top list of USC, Nebraska, WVU, Arkansas, FSU, Louisville, Texas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, UK, Cincinnati and GT. He is looking at later this summer on his decision.

Linebacker Trenilyas Tatum of Jonesboro, Ga., named a top eight of USC, Tennessee, Louisville, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi State, GT and Virginia. He visited USC the last weekend of January, and he talked on the phone with Muschamp recently. Muschamp, Tatum said, reaches out to him practically every morning.

"He sends me inspiration quotes to get the day started and stuff," Tatum said. "I hear from Coach Rocker, Coach (defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson) T-Rob. I hear from all of them. Sending me stuff with their spring ball getting started and inspirational sayings and good morning and stuff. I'm most definitely going to try to get up there for the spring game."

Mississippi State and UGA, Tatum said, also are keeping up strong contact. He was supposed to visit UGA last Wednesday but couldn't make it. From his top eight, Tatum has settled on no outright favorites, but he is strong with USC.

"They are definitely top three," Tatum said. "Not many head coaches reach out like Coach Muschamp. It's a school for defensive players. I know there are a lot of defensive players every year going to the (NFL) Draft, and I know Coach Muschamp will help make that happen for me."

Tatum is a Mike linebacker and is ranked 15th nationally in the 247Sports composite. Last season, he had 91 tackles with 31 tackles for loss and 14 QB sacks.

QB Kaidon Salter of Cedar Hill, Texas, visited USC last Wednesday. He was at Auburn on Monday, GT on Tuesday and Tennessee on Thursday. He visited Arkansas and Ole Miss earlier in the month.

New USC offers went out to 4-star RB AJ Green of Broken Arrow, Okla., DL Dejon Robinson of ASA College in Brooklyn, N.Y., and DL Will Thomas of Raleigh, NC.

USC WR target Raheim Sanders was offered by South Florida.

CLEMSON

Clemson has had no trouble attracting 5- and 4-star quarterbacks over the last 10 years. This seasons' room is filled with two 5-stars and a highly regarded 4-star, and with their ages, Clemson is set at the position through 2023. So, attracting another high level QB for the 2021 recruiting class could be a challenge.

Four-star Christian Veilleux of Ontario in Canada, however, views the Clemson QB roster as a positive in his recruiting.

"I don't see much as a negative," he said. "There's definitely pros and cons to it, but I think it's a great thing. It demonstrates how well they've been doing things. Obviously, wherever you go you have to compete, and competition is always great, especially for me. I love competition. So, that part of Clemson is something that I like. I don't shy away from it. Knowing that they get the best of the best every year shows that they are doing something right, so that's a good thing."

Clemson has not offered Veilleux as head coach Dabo Swinney and assistant coach Brandon Streeter wait a bit to see how things play out with their lone '21 QB offer, 5-star Caleb Williams of Washington. He just visited Oklahoma, which makes it the perceived favorite. That doesn't mean Clemson hasn't recruited Veilleux with a lot of effort though. He was in for a visit in January.

"It was a good visit," Veilleux said. "I spent a lot of time with Coach Streeter and a lot of people surrounding the quarterback position. I went through the facilities and the campus and saw the academic support. It was a great visit. The facilities stood out. Those are amazing. Something else that stood out was the academics, just how good academically Clemson is. I didn't know that beforehand. That's really what I took away from that visit is that Clemson is real competitive in the classroom as well."

Veilleux was looking at a return to Clemson late this month, but that obviously is in peril at this point as the school has shut down all activities due to the coronavirus. The communications with Streeter have continued.

"He's keeping in contact," Veilleux said. "He lets me know how highly he thinks of me. He really wants to get me back on campus to come watch practice and stuff like that. That's pretty much what he's been saying."

Veilleux's most recent visit was to Duke last weekend. Duke is making a strong push, as is Penn State where he camped last summer and has visited multiple times. He's also been to Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia. He said the schools he's visited would count as the ones in which he's most interested.

Veilleux, who threw for 1,700 yards and 17 touchdowns last season at The Bullis School in Potomac, Md., would like to make a decision before his season, and he's looking into the possibility of graduating early.

Three-star cornerback Ryan Barnes of Gaithersburg, Md., and his parents made the trip down to Clemson for the junior day earlier this month. It was Barnes' first visit with Clemson, so he got the full academic and athletic tour of the school.

"I loved the place overall," Barnes said. "Campus was amazing. There's a lot to do. The academic portion we got to see kind of surprised me. I knew a lot about the football program. I did a little research on the academic program, but what they do have to offer was a lot more than I expected, which is definitely a great thing. It was a great experience to meet the coaches, see a little bit of the practice. It was just fun for me." Barnes met with the coaching staff and got a good idea from them what he could look forward to if he decides on Clemson.

"Their plan is to develop the incoming classes to be a great team overall," Barnes said. "Develop us as players and develop us as men. Make sure we have a plan after football just in case the NFL (National Football League) stuff doesn't work out. The whole coaching staff is just great people who wants the best for their players. They just don't want to win, they want to win while developing everybody."

Barnes also got some one-on-one time with Swinney and found that to be a fulfilling experience as well.

"He's a great guy, fun to be around," Barnes said. "You can tell that he loves what he does, and he's great at what he does. He just expressed how the coaching staff loves me, he loves me, my film, how they could see me playing there and how I could be a great fit for the team."

Barnes hasn't taken many visits. He checked out Duke in January. His plan is to see as many of his offers as possible, but he said Clemson has set the bar high for the rest to meet.

"My parents just were moved by the amount of things they have to offer to help develop me as a person, not just a player," Barnes said. "They are definitely a big school in my mind right now. Clemson is definitely somewhere I'm going to head back down to. You never know what these schools have to offer until you get there. Being able to get to Clemson was a great experience and definitely opened my eyes to opportunities and what each school has to offer compared to each other."

Barnes also visited Tennessee last week. South Carolina also is an offer, and he is working on a date to visit USC. Some of his other offers are Georgia, Oklahoma, Florida, Florida State, Louisiana State, Michigan, Louisville, Maryland, Southern California, Georgia Tech, PSU and UK.

"I just want try to get to as many places because you never really know a school until you get there. Getting to these places is going to help me continue to work on the list, try to narrow it down some. Just trying to get to as many places that I can to see what everyone has to offer."

The 247Sports composite ranks Barnes as the No. 42 CB in the country and the No. 19 prospect in Maryland for the '21 class.

Five-star offensive tackle Nolan Rucci of Lititz, Pa., and his family got a 2-day look at Clemson from an academic and football angle earlier in the month. He and his family spent two days checking out the classes, the campus, the facilities, and most important to Rucci, the coaches and players.

"It was cool for me to see," Rucci said. "For me, a big part of my process is going places and watching coaches and their guys, obviously those people that matter. Obviously, you are going to be coached by the guys around you that are playing, and you've really got to get a feel for them."

Rucci got a chance to see Clemson practice and much of the time he was focused on OL coach Robbie Caldwell and his interaction with his troops.

"Coach Caldwell is a really cool dude," Rucci said. "I appreciate a coach who is willing to tell you what you're doing wrong and how you are supposed to fix it. I could definitely see myself in that room with those guys. I got the chance to sit down with the guys -- no coach and no parents or anything -- and I could definitely see myself around those guys. They are all super dudes."

Rucci is a left tackle, and with the possibility of Clemson starting left tackle Jackson Carman leaving for the NFL after his junior (2020) season, he knows there's chance for a quick start for him in the program.

"We talked about it," he said. "It would be a pretty good fit for me, especially a left tackle coming into that program. It's definitely a factor."

Rucci and his family also got the chance to sit down with Swinney, and that turned out to be a production session both ways.

"It was really cool," Rucci said. "We talked about 45 minutes about football. We appreciated the time he took out of his day to spend with us. I feel really good about them. They are definitely one of my top schools at this point. I haven't made any decisions as far as lists or putting out a top 10 or a top five. I think right now I'm just trying to get back to places. I'm in kind of the information-gathering period where I'm just trying to get to places I haven't seen before and get back to some schools. Once I do all that this spring, then hopefully I'll be able to make a decision by the end of spring, or late June or early July."

After leaving Clemson, Rucci and his family stopped at Tennessee on their ride back home. Rucci's father played at PSU and in the NFL, and his brother is a tight end at Wisconsin, so those Big Ten Conference schools figure to be in the mix. Notre Dame, Michigan, Miami, Stanford, LSU and Texas A&M are some of his other offers.

Clemson safety target Dakota Mitchell of Winter Park, Fla., has set an official visit to Alabama for June 18.

Wide receiver Troy Stellato of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., posted that he is down to Clemson and Ohio State. He visited Clemson in November and again in March. He's also been to Ohio State, Alabama, UK, Tennessee and Michigan.

CLEMSON AND USC

Gaffney High School defensive lineman Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins has taken unofficial visits to USC, Clemson, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and UGA. His most recent visit was to Tennesse on March 8. Once recruits are allowed to return to schools for unofficial visits, he plans to go back to USC and Tennessee and take other visits to Mississippi, VT, North Carolina and North Carolina State.

USC has made Ingram-Dawkins a recruiting priority with head coach Will Muschamp keeping up a steady line of communication.

"Me and Coach Muschamp talk every day," Ingram-Dawkins said. "He texts me every day, checks up on me. Sometimes he calls. No specific thing every day, different things every day. We've got a tight relationship. I keep up with them. They are recruiting me hard, like the home school should."

Ingram-Dawkins also is in touch with new USC D coach Tracy Rocker. Their relationship dates back to when Rocker was at Tennessee.

"I already had a relationship with Coach Rocker when he was at the University of Tennessee," Ingram-Dawkins said. "They were recruiting me, and they still are recruiting me. He was there, so I've already had a relationship with Coach Rocker, so that just made it better when he came to the home state school. We have a real tight relationship that is still the same."

It would appear things look good for USC with Ingram-Dawkins. But he's not at the point yet to name it - or anyone -- as a favorite.

"I really don't have a special feeling for anybody right now," he said. "I'm just really concerned with enjoying the recruiting process and get some good things out of it and just find out what's best for me. So, really right now, I'm really not leaning nowhere. I'm just enjoying it. No school is over another school right now. I like South Carolina. It's my home state. It's a great school with great coaches and great atmosphere and great tradition. I like that place."

Clemson, Ingram-Dawkins said, has not shown much interest to this point, and that's not a problem for him.

"Not really worried about. If they come, they come," Ingram-Dawkins said. "That's my home state school too. If they show love, I'll show love back. As of right now, I haven't heard from Clemson."

Ingram-Dawkins also has offers from Syracuse, WVU, VT, UNC, Michigan, Oklahoma, Kansas, PSU, Arkansas, A&M, Ole Miss and FSU. He said he will be graduating early and is looking to make his decision in late summer or midway through his senior season.

USC and Clemson OL target Micah Morris of Kingsland, Ga., plans to release his top five in the near future. Both were on his top seven list along with Auburn, Alabama, UGA, UF and LSU. This year he has taken unofficial visits to USC, UGA, FSU and UF. He has also visited Clemson. Morris is rated as a 4-star by the 247Sports composite and the No. 11 prospect in Georgia.

Dillon High WR Ahmari Huggins-Bruce visited Clemson last week. He also has visited USC, Tennessee, UNC and Wake Forest this recruiting season.

WR Mario Williams of Plant City, Fla., who has Clemson and USC offers, did not include them in his top five of UGA, Alabama, LSU, UF and Oklahoma.

USC and Clemson CB target Nyland Green was offered by UF.