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RECRUITING CORNER

Gamecocks land DE Hemingway, tight end Shaw

BY PHIL KORNBLUT
Posted 8/20/19

Thursday was a bountiful recruiting day for the University of South Carolina football program as it landed commitments from defensive end Tonka Hemingway (6-feet-3-inches, 255 pounds) of Conway High School and tight end Eric Shaw (6-4, 219) of …

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RECRUITING CORNER

Gamecocks land DE Hemingway, tight end Shaw

Posted

Thursday was a bountiful recruiting day for the University of South Carolina football program as it landed commitments from defensive end Tonka Hemingway (6-feet-3-inches, 255 pounds) of Conway High School and tight end Eric Shaw (6-4, 219) of Notasulga, Ala. They both were early targets for the 2020 class by head coach Will Muschamp, and they took their official visits the same weekend of June 15. Their commitments give USC 20 newcomers counting toward the limit of 25 for the class.

Hemingway had more than 20 major offers, and he cut his list to USC, Duke and North Carolina. New USC defensive line coach John Scott quickly went to work on Hemingway after joining the staff in December. Hemingway visited USC for a spring practice in March and got the chance to see Scott work his players.

"I liked how they practice and how it was up-tempo and how they compete every play," Hemingway said. "They got after it every play. I liked how Coach Scott talked with the guys and helped out. And he said he liked how I can play inside and out."

Hemingway said his official visit gave him the chance to see the other side of the coaches, what they're like away from football, and he liked what he saw.

"Just the atmosphere, and how the coaches are without being on the field," Hemingway said. "They are the same in private as they are on the field. I like how they talk to the players (on the field) and explain everything in detail. They feel like I can do many things and help the team out in many ways."

Hemingway is a very athletic defensive lineman who can also slide inside and play over the guard or center. He also plays basketball and baseball for Conway.

Shaw had narrowed his decision to USC, Tennessee and Auburn. Through the process, Shaw also landed offers from Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Florida, Mississippi, Virginia, Texas A&M, West Virginia and others. Shaw also plays linebacker, but USC recruited him strictly as a TE.

"Everything was great, I can't lie," Shaw said after evaluating USC on his official visit. "The facilities, the coaches, the players. I loved everything about it."

Shaw said he talked a lot with Muschamp and TE coach Bobby Bentley during the recruiting process. He said Muschamp made it clear he was a priority for USC in the '20 class and would fill a need at TE.

"He said I'm a great fit for what they run," Shaw said. "I love it. They use their tight end like another wide receiver. They put him in a lot of different spots. The way they use their tight ends, it's perfect."

Last season, Shaw totaled 60 tackles with one quarterback sack and seven tackles for loss. On offense, he totaled 470 yards rushing and receiving and scored five touchdowns.

USC also missed on a top target on Thursday as safety Ja'Qurious Conley of Jacksonville, N.C., committed to UNC over USC, Duke and VT.

USC DE target Desmond Evans of Sanford, N.C., had planned to make a decision in September, but he has scratched that idea. He does plan to announce a top five in a month or so. He has set his first official visit with VT for Oct. 19 when the Hokies will play host to UNC, another of the schools pushing hard for Evans. USC, Tennessee and UF are others Evans said have been on him hard. Evans said he does get regular text messages and other social media contact.

"It's the same old same old," Evans said. "I have a home feeling (at USC). I can come there and develop and compete with the best players in the country, and get a good education."

Evans is slowing down his recruiting and not rushing to a decision. He wants to see his final schools up close, and he wants to do that with a clear conscience.

"I want to go on my official visits, and say I commit somewhere, they won't let me go on my officials," he said. "That was the case with some of the schools."

Evans said USC will get one of his official visits, and he's not sure which game -- or games -- he plans to see in Columbia this season. However, he is planning to be in Charlotte on Aug. 31 for the season opener between USC and UNC.

In an interview with Ryan Wright of RecruitingNewsGuru, USC DE target Reggie Grimes of Brentwood, Tenn., said he's dropped Louisiana State from his list, leaving USC, Alabama, FSU, Tennessee and Vanderbilt as the contenders. He will have his announcement on Nov. 2.

CLEMSON

Clemson could be in line for another commitment when wide receiver EJ Williams of Phenix City, Ala., announces his decision on Saturday. He is choosing between Clemson, Auburn, Alabama and LSU.

WR Xzavier Henderson of Miami told GatorsTerritory he is down to Clemson, UF, Georgia, LSU and Alabama. Those five will get his official visits. He has set Jan. 4, 2020, for his announcement. Henderson visited Clemson in March and was back for a 2-day visit in June.

Ryan Linthicum (6-4 278), a '21 offensive lineman from Damascus, Md., could very well follow the path of his teammate, '20 DE Bryan Bresee, and commit to Clemson at some point. Or, he could land anywhere in the country.

Considered by some analysts as the top center in the '21 class, Linthicum has his pick of the premier programs in the country. Twice he has visited Clemson, including for a camp in June, and the Tigers will be among the top contenders.

"I went to camp so I could work in front of (OL) Coach (Robbie) Caldwell," Linthicum said. "What stood out to me was how awesome the coaches are there. And the facilities are top notch. It's somewhere where you feel like home. It was just a great time, and it's somewhere where I feel at home. I am excited about continuing to build that relationship with Coach Caldwell. He told me that I was one of their top guys. He told me while I was at camp that they might offer, but he said that he had to make sure the entire staff liked me. I went home and I wasn't really too worried about it, but then he called me and he sounded really excited on the phone. I am very thankful because I know what a Clemson offer means."

Other offers from Linthicum at this point include Ohio State, Michigan, Maryland, Nebraska, VT, LSU, Duke, Louisville, UNC, Virginia and Pittsburgh. Linthicum recently tweeted that he's getting close on a top four. He's been looking at the spring for a commitment announcement.

CLEMSON AND USC

Clemson and USC '21 running back target Will Shipley was offered by Southern California.

OTHERS

Cheraw High DE Xavier McIver committed to East Carolina.

Cornerback Christian Miller of Hilton Head has a final five of Toledo, Liberty, Indiana, Colorado State and Florida International.

BASKETBALL

Cliff Omoruyi, a 6-10 USC target from Roselle, N.J., is taking an unofficial visit to Connecticut on Friday, according to New York City basketball reporter Adam Zagoria.

Keon Ambrose-Hylton, a 6-8 Clemson target from Toronto, was offered by Arkansas and VT.

Former Wren High standout and '21 shooting guard Bryce McGowens, who will attend Lincoln Academy in Winston-Salem, N.C., this season, was offered by Wake Forest. USC and Clemson also have offered.

BASEBALL

Dariyan Pendergrass, a '21 outfielder from Hartsville High, committed to USC, according to the Florence American Legion Post 1 program. He's also been a football player for Hartsville.

Infielder Blake Wright of Clearwater, Fla., and '22 shortstop Chris Maldonado of Short Hills, N.J., committed to Clemson. Wright originally was committed to South Florida