RECRUITING CORNER

Conway's Hemingway to announce commitment on Thursday

BY PHIL KORNBLUT
Posted 8/14/19

Conway High School defensive tackle Tonka Hemingway is the next major instate prospect who will announce his college commitment. Hemingway has set Thursday at 3:30 p.m. for his moment with South Carolina, Duke and North Carolina the finalists. He …

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RECRUITING CORNER

Conway's Hemingway to announce commitment on Thursday

Posted

Conway High School defensive tackle Tonka Hemingway is the next major instate prospect who will announce his college commitment. Hemingway has set Thursday at 3:30 p.m. for his moment with South Carolina, Duke and North Carolina the finalists. He also had offers at one point from Clemson, Maryland, North Carolina State, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisville and Vanderbilt.

Hemingway, whose brother played at Michigan and in the National Football League, took official visits to USC and UNC in June. He also visited UNC unofficially in June, and he made unofficial visits to USC and Duke in the spring. After his official visit to USC, Hemingway said the Gamecocks "are in a good place" with him. "I know how they feel about me."

USC safety target Ja'Qurious Conley of Jacksonville, N.C., has set Aug. 23 for his commitment announcement. He is down to USC, UNC, Duke and Virginia Tech. He has an official visit to USC set for Sept. 14. He's also made two unofficial visits to USC this year. However, his most recent visit, prior to the dead period, was to UNC, which made a big impression on him during that visit.

Running back Tank Bigsby of Hoganville, Ga., announced a commitment to Auburn over USC, Georgia and Louisiana State on Friday. Bigsby made numerous visits to USC over the spring and summer, including an overnight stay with his mother. USC recruited him from the angle of coming in and being their primary ballcarrier and, based on numerous reports, looked like the frontrunner.

Then USC landed a commitment from an equally highly regarded RB in Marshawn Lloyd. Bigsby took an official visit to USC in June and continue saying the right things about playing in the backfield with Lloyd. That commitment though appears to have impacted his feelings toward USC.

UGA also has a major RB talent committed for the 2020 recruiting class in Kendall Milton, and Bigsby has not done all that much with UGA. Auburn did not have a '20 RB commitment, and Bigsby's most recent visits were to Auburn, including unofficial and official visits in early June.

USC would like to add a second RB to the class and have offers out to Henry Parrish of Miami, who is committed to Pittsburgh, and Marvin Scott of Port Orange, Fla. And there's baseball commitment Brandon Fields of Orlando, Fla., who, if he makes it to school, also wants to play football.

Cornerback Jahquez Robinson of Jacksonville, Fla., was scheduled for an official visit to USC in July, but that trip was scratched. However, Robinson and USC continue to communicate, and the plan now is for him to take his official visit the weekend of the Alabama game. That will put Robinson in an interesting position. He's been committed to Alabama since February.

"T-Rob (defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson) wanted me to go to that game. I don't know why," Jahquez Robinson said. "If they upset Alabama? That will definitely tighten stuff up, but let's see what happens. I really can't speak hypothetically."

Coach Robinson and USC head coach Will Muschamp are in regular contact with Jahquez Robinson in an attempt to turn him from Alabama. Their argument?

"I can make a name for myself there," the player said. "There's nothing wrong with being a big fish in a good-sized pond. They basically said I could come in there and compete for a spot my freshman year, make plays, and I'll be able to get to the league (NFL) as soon as possible."

Along with USC and Alabama, Jahquez Robinson said he's looking at Texas, Oregon, Michigan and UNC for official visits. All face an uphill battle in pulling him away from Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

"I feel like I'm 100% locked in, but I'm still listening to the other coaches and what they have to say," he said. "They told me I'm the top DB (defensive back) on their board. They show me a lot of love."

Jahquez Robinson made an unofficial visit to USC in June. He also made unofficial visits to Alabama, Florida, LSU and Florida State.

Wide receiver Rico Powers of Hapeville, Ga., camped at USC in June and worked closely with WR coach and offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon. He has built a good relationship with McClendon and area recruiter Mike Peterson, and he considers USC as one of the schools at the top of his list.

"They want me there, so we just keep building our relationship and getting to know each other," Powers said. "They are up there. I like South Carolina. They are in pretty good shape. I should be taking an official visit there this fall."

Powers said his communication with McClendon and Peterson has continued on a regular basis since they first started to recruit him when he lived in Savannah, Ga. He has found one very appealing factor about the USC program.

"My position coach there, the receivers coach, Coach McClendon," Powers said. "I'm very excited about that. I know he really wants me and wants to coach me. I'm not really looking for the school, I'm looking for the school that chooses me."

Powers had wanted to make his decision before the season, but he's been advised to wait until after he takes some official visits this fall, and that appears to be the course he will follow. In May, Powers named a top five of USC, Auburn, UGA, Oregon and Nebraska. However, he recently said USC, Oregon and North Carolina State were the three standing out the most to him because of how hard they have been recruiting him.

Last season, Powers had 17 receptions for 552 yards and six touchdowns. He played mostly in the slot as a junior, but at his new school he expects to play outside and see his numbers go up.

CLEMSON

WR EJ Williams of Phenix City, Ala., has set a commitment date of Aug. 24 at 2 p.m. at his school. His final four are Clemson, Auburn, Alabama and LSU. Williams continues to hear from all of the schools, and said there's really nothing else he can learn from the phone calls. He thinks he'll have his mind made up sometime this week.

"Basically he (Clemson recruiter Jeff Scott) just called to check up on me and see how I was doing," Williams said. "No one needs to show me anything else. I've seen what I need to see. It will be a decision based on what I think."

Williams said he is consulting with his mother regarding his decision. Of his finalists, he has been to Clemson the most, including a June camp stop and a return visit later in the month for the All-In Cookout. He said he enjoyed that weekend, but there wasn't much more Clemson could do or say to advance its position with him.

"I already had a pretty good bond with all the coaches and the players there," he said.

All four schools remain in the running, Williams said, and his decision will be based on a couple of factors. "Having the opportunity to get on the field early and having a great relationship with the coaches," Williams said.

Clemson has landed two commitments out of Phenix City Central High in the last two classes in Justyn Ross and Ray Thornton, but Auburn has a commitment from Williams' current teammate, offensive lineman Javion Cohen.

OL Byron Floyd (6-feet-1-inch, 250 pounds) of Mentor, Ohio, doubles as a long snapper. It's that particular skill that has grabbed Clemson's attention. Floyd comes highly recommended by Rubio Long Snapping and earned its highest rating this spring.

Floyd displayed his skills at camps this summer, including Clemson, and Clemson liked him enough to offer him a preferred walk-on opportunity. That's an offer he is considering.

"I've been to Clemson three times," Floyd said. "First time was at the elite junior day in March. That was an incredible experience. I went back for the spring game. It was awesome to get an idea of what a game day might be like. I got to go into the locker room after the spring game and listen to (head) Coach (Dabo) Swinney. It was also an amazing experience. In June, I went to camp and snapped for them. I was fortunate enough to be asked to snap for Coach Swinney. That went well. I met Coach Swinney at both the junior day and camp. (Assistant) Coach (Danny) Pearman and I chat weekly.

"Clemson is obviously a great opportunity," Floyd continued. "I really love it down there. Coach Pearman is really a great guy. There's details that need to be worked out, and I'm going take my time making the best decision for me."

Floyd also visited Miami (Ohio) and said it also interests him. He also has an offer from Toledo.

BASKETBALL

USC landed its first basketball commitment for the '20 class last week when 6-10, 235-pound power forward Patrick Iriel of A.C. Flora High in Columbia announced a commitment to USC head coach Frank Martin.

Iriel is a player who saw his stock start to rise in his junior season and continue to grow in the spring and summer. He said USC offered him in late July and that made his decision simple.

"They've been with me since the ninth grade, and I've been impressed with them," Iriel said. "Our relationship started to pick up in my junior year, and this summer I started talking with Frank a lot. It just really felt right, it's right at home, and I was just really excited about the opportunity and I wanted to take it."

Iriel will give USC a big body inside, but he has the skills to play away from the basket as well.

"I just think Coach Martin's coaching will really help me get to my goals and give me the best opportunity to be the best player I can be," Iriel said. "They just want to use my athleticism, just going after every rebound, rim protection and being versatile on offense and stretching out the floor."

Last season, Iriel averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds per game. He also had offers from Southern California, Wofford, Georgia Tech and Cincinnati.

Point guard Myles Tate of Dorman High in Roebuck committed to Butler last week coming off an official visit to the school. He had narrowed his decision to Butler, USC, College of Charleston, Pitt, Appalachian State and Ole Miss. Clemson also offered Tate but did not really follow up with much interest.

Noah Collier, a 6-7 player from Norristown, Pa., has Clemson in his final three schools along with Pitt and California. According to Stockrisers, he will take officials to Pitt on Aug. 30, Clemson on Sept. 21 and Cal on Sept. 30.

Ja'Von Benson, a 6-8 player from Ridge View High in Columbia, told The State he has set official visits to Charleston on Aug, 29 and to USC for Sept. 7. He has offers from both along with Ohio, Indiana State, North Carolina Wilmington, USC Upstate, Winthrop, Murray State, Georgia Southern, Presbyterian and South Carolina State.

Obinna Anochili-Killen, a 6-9 player from Chapmanville, Ga., plans to set an official visit date with USC, among others, but no dates have been set. He expects to set some dates soon. He talked with USC recruiter Chuck Martin earlier this month. He said he's also heard from UGA.

Jacobi Wright, a '21 PG from Legacy Early College in Greenville, was offered by Winthrop.