Clemson picks up commitment from Alabama WR Williams


Wide receiver EJ Williams (6-feet-3-inches, 189 pounds) of Phenix City, Ala., announced a commitment to Clemson over Auburn, Alabama and Louisiana State on Saturday.

Williams joins Ajou Ajou as WRs in Clemson's 2020 football recruiting class which now numbers 20.

His commitment gives Clemson recruiting victories for three of the most recent major prospects to come out of Central High School. He will join former teammates WR Justyn Ross and safety Ray Thornton in Clemson.

Williams and Clemson have long had a strong relationship. He visited twice for games last season. He made a pair of visits in January for junior days. He was back in March for a spring practice and in April for the spring game. He also camped with the Tigers in June and attended the All-In Cookout in July.

"Coach I have the strongest relationship with is (WR) Coach Jeff Scott," Williams said. "We talk every day about how I would fit in at Clemson. I feel like I can make an immediate impact. They told me I would be the "Nine" man, what Tee Higgins and Ross play. I'd be the boundary receiver."

Williams said all of his visits to Clemson during the recruiting process were for good reasons. He just felt like he had a home with the Tigers.

"I always get the same vibe from Clemson," he said. "I always go up there and they show me a good time. They don't have to put on a face because they see, 'Oh, that's EJ, we've got to act this type of way.' They are going to act like that even when I'm not there. I know that. They give me that vibe every time I go there. I have a good time every time I go up there."

And of course, Clemson's recent history of taking in top-flight receivers and moving them on to the National Football League wasn't lost on Williams.

"They develop players real well," Williams said. "When Justyn was coming out of high school, I wouldn't think he'd go for a thousand yards his freshman year and have the most receiver yards on the team. That just shows that they have a great offense, and they know how to throw the ball and spread the field."

Last season, Williams had 40 catches for 668 yards and eight touchdowns.


SAF DJ Taylor (5-10, 190) of Tampa, Fla., impressed in his opening game this month when he intercepted three passes, broke up another and made a couple of tackles. Among those to take notice of the efforts of the Arizona State commitment was South Carolina defensive coordinator/secondary coach Travaris Robinson. He was so impressed he contacted Taylor's head coach -- and Taylor -- and informed him he had an offer from USC.

"I've been visiting there a lot with my 7-on-7 team," Taylor said of his previous contact with Robinson. "The communication was there and then when I started getting ready for my commitment, it went away. All of a sudden, I guess they saw my performance in my game on Friday with three interceptions, a pass breakup and a couple of tackles. Coach T-Rob (Robinson) is real close friends with my head coach, and they communicated, and he let me know and coach T-Rob let me know.

"They were like, it pays to be patient. He stayed interested, and he let me know it had been awhile, but everything is good now and they were giving me a scholarship."

Taylor took an official visit to Arizona State in May and committed in June. That commitment is still in place, he said, but he has not shut down his recruiting.

"I'm definitely open a lot more," he said. "I went to South Carolina when there wasn't a game, and I didn't get any feedback on the game atmosphere, so I'm definitely going to get a chance to do that and see how that is. Anything can change. Keeping my options open still and seeing who is still trying to build a connection with me."

Taylor has set an official visit to Louisville for his birthday weekend of Oct. 4. He also plans to set a visit with USC. Some of his other offers are Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Duke, Illinois, Central Florida, South Florida, Iowa State, Kansas State, West Virginia and Wake Forest.

He plays cornerback for his high school, but he said USC is recruiting him for SAF. USC has three CBs committed for the '20 class, but no SAFs.

USC offered another SAF last week in Charles Bell (5-11, 195) of Gaithersburg, Md., a Syracuse commitment. Much like with Taylor, the USC defensive and recruiting staff watched recent film on Bell, liked it and offered.

"Nate Hammett (player personnel assistant) and Kyle Krantz (assistant coach) contacted me on Twitter," Bell said. "Krantz told me he watched my film with their DC, and they really liked it. He said I'm physical and fast and not afraid to hit. He got me on the phone and the DB coach said I've received an offer from them."

Bell has been listening to what USC has had to say about a place in the program, and it's been able to open his eyes about giving it a look.

"My relationship feels like it's building," Bell said. "I really like what they are saying. I can't wait to go down and see it for myself, and my recruitment is still open. They say they like my ability to get off blocks, which is something they need."

Bell also holds offers from Boston College, East Carolina, Maryland, Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Temple, Liberty and others.

Defensive end Desmond Evans of Sanford, N.C., named a top five of USC, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina and VT.

USC DE target Reggie Grimes of Brentwood, Tenn., moved his decision day back from Nov. 2 to Thanksgiving. His top choices are USC,

Alabama, Florida State, Tennessee, LSU and Vanderbilt.

Linebacker Desmond Tisdol of Rochelle, Ga., named a final seven of USC, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Nebraska, UF, Georgia Southern and Troy.


Jake Briningstool, a '21 tight end from Brentwood, Tenn., was offered by LSU. He has USC and Clemson offers among many others, and he has visited both.


Georgia head coach Kirby Smart landed a commitment from one of South Carolina's top '21 prospects in SAF Bralyn Oliver (6-2, 190) of Belton-Honea Path High.

He's UGA's first commitment for the class. He had Clemson, Colorado, Louisville and Duke also among his favorites, though Clemson has not offered. He camped with Clemson this summer as well as USC, which also has yet to offer.

Oliver said earlier in the summer UGA and the others liked him because of his versatility in the secondary.

"All of them like the way I'm able to play both corner and safety, and the way I'm able to run being 6-2, 195 pounds," Oliver said.

Some of his other offers are Tennessee , Indiana, Syracuse, Marshall, Virginia, Charlotte and Appalachian State

Running back Marvin Scott, who was offered by USC, committed to Nebraska.


PJ Hall, a 6-9 player from Dorman High in Roebuck who is the state's top basketball recruit for the '20 class, has already started the final phase of his recruiting.

Earlier this month he took an unofficial visit to VT. He was scheduled to take an unofficial visit to Clemson on Thursday, working that in around the football game in Death Valley against GT.

Hall already has his final five officials set as well as two of his in-home visits. New VT head coach Mike Young, the former Wofford head coach, has been close to the Hall family for years. As Hall's status as a national recruit blossomed, Young's chances to keep him home at Wofford diminished. However, at an Atlantic Coast Conference program like VT, Young now has a fighting chance.

"I just went up there to see him," Hall said. "We just hung out on the campus. It was nice, it was fun. I know if I go there it would be a great fit. He would utilize all my skills. You get to coach at that level only if you know basketball."

Clemson is the other ACC school on Hall's short list. Clemson has the advantage of being the in-state school that's still involved as well as being the closest campus to his home. Head coach Brad Brownell and his staff have not let up their pursuit and continue to drive home those points to Hall.

"I hear from them almost every day; we talk a good bit," Hall said.

Hall has official visits set with Clemson for Sept. 6, UF for Sept. 20, VT for Oct. 11, Tennessee for Oct. 18 and GT for Nov. 1. He has no preconceived notion on a favorite at this point, and he wants to keep it that way going into those final visits.

"I don't want to go in there thinking something else, then kind of just close my mind off," Hall said. "That's when you make a mistake. I'm open to anything."

The next recruiting period when basketball coaches can go on the road begins on Sept. 9, and Hall said UF has an in-home visit set with him for that day. He said Clemson will be in the home the next day. No other in-home visits have been set.

Clemson made the top 10 with 6-8 Keon Ambrose-Hylton of Toronto. Also on the list are Arkansas, Arizona State, California, UF, Dayton, Illinois, Saint Louis, Virginia Commonwealth and VT.

USC 6-8 target Earl Timberlake of Dematha Catholic has set an official visit to Miami for Sept. 13, according to EditsRecruiting. He has taken officials to USC and Providence. He's also scheduled for an official visit to Pitt today.

USC 6-11 target Cliff Omoruyi of Roselle, N.J., has set an official visit to Pitt for today, according to PittsburghSportsNow. He recently visited Connecticut unofficially and reportedly has unofficial visits to Temple and St. John's coming up.


Blythewood High right-handed pitcher/infielder Landon Lucas committed to Clemson. He previously was committed to first USC and most recently College of Charleston.

Last season, he had seven home runs and 34 runs batted in to go along with a 7-1 win-loss record and a 1.41 earned run average.

Mississippi State landed commitments from RHP Mikey Tepper of Fort Mill High and '22 INF David Mershon of Eastside High in Greenville.