The University of South Carolina football program reached into a familiar place on Monday -- Georgia Military College -- to land another defensive piece for the 2021 recruiting class.
USC offered cornerback Marcellas Dial (5-feet-11-inches, 180 …
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USC offered cornerback Marcellas Dial (5-feet-11-inches, 180 pounds), and the Woodruff native wasted little time in responding to head coach Will Muschamp, defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson and assistant coach Bobby Bentley with a commitment.
"It means the world to me," Dial said. "Since I was a kid, I wanted to go play at South Carolina, and now that it's come true, it just means the world to me. I just want to keep making my mother proud."
USC's recruitment of Dial goes back to his senior season at Woodruff High School when Bentley went through to check on him.
"Coach Bentley came and watched me work out once, and that was when I was already committed to GMC," Dial said. "After my first season at GMC, Coach Muschamp, Bentley, T-Rob (Robinson), all of them starting texting me and calling me. That's when they started to recruit me heavy."
Dial contributed last season as a freshman and finished with 10 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery.
"I can play anywhere on the field, anywhere in the secondary," Dial said. "Anywhere I play, I make plays."
"He's a damn good one," said GMC h8ead coach Bert Williams. "He had a great year for us. Long, physical. Did a great job for us. I'm excited for him to make that decision. He's a very intense guy, in a good way. He loves to compete. He's just dialed in, dialed in on coaching, dialed in on instruction, on making himself better each and every day in practice."
Williams said more schools were beginning to show interest in Dial in January, but USC has been on him longer and kept an eye on his development on the field and in the classroom.
"They've known about him really since the start of the year when they were looking at some of our other guys," Williams said. "Once they got the film and got what he's been doing in the classroom and saw where he was, it kind of spurred up a little bit."
Williams said Dial should be in good shape to graduate in December and enroll in January. He will have three years to play two with USC.
Dial gives USC four new commitments for the '21 class, including the second for the secondary.
Running back Tiyon Evans (5-10, 200) of Hutchinson Junior College in Kansas was one of the state's most dynamic RBs in '17 and '18 at Hartsville High. USC was very interested in him at the time, and he liked USC. However, his grades were a barrier for an offer at the time. That's no longer an issue.
On Thursday Evans got the call from Bentley, the USC RB coach, with the good news.
"He was telling me how I would have had an offer, but they needed to make sure I was going to be a grad(uate) in December and qualify, so I guess they found that out," Evans said. "We had a conversation last night, and he told me I had the offer.
"I was excited. Coming out of high school, it was the only school I knew. I was heavy on that school and I always wanted that offer and I never got it. I finally got it and I feel great now."
The offer also proved to Evans all his hard work on and off the field is paying off.
"I put myself in this situation to having to go JUCO, so I would have had to put in the hard work no matter what," he said.
Evans also has offers from Tennessee, Maryland, Auburn and East Carolina and more are certain to come. As happy as he was with the USC offer, however, he doesn't want to rush into a decision.
"I'm going to take my time," Evans said. "I know USC is one of my tops, no matter what. As of right now my top schools are USC and Tennessee."
Last season at Hutchinson, Evans rushed for 538 yards on 68 carries, averaging 8.8 yards per carry. He had nine rushing touchdowns and another TD on a reception.
USC offered RB Trevion Cooley (5-10, 200) of Knightdale, N.C. He has a 3-star rating in the 247Sports composite. Duke, Georgia Tech, Utah, Maryland, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Louisville are some of his other offers. The last two seasons Cooley accumulated nearly 2,000 rushing yards and 21 TDs.
USC offered defensive tackle Will Thomas (6-3, 286) of Raleigh, N.C., last week, knowing he won't be part of the '21 class. Thomas said he will have to go JUCO first, and the plan is to go for a year and a half before moving on to a 4-year school. It's the same plan former DT Javon Kinlaw used to get to USC, and the Kinlaw story has ended up with him being a likely first-round pick in the upcoming National Football League draft.
Thomas said he's been talking primarily with new defensive line coach Tracy Rocker and new director of player personnel Drew Hughes. Both came from Tennessee, which is also one of the offers to Thomas.
"He (Rocker) sent me an invitation to their spring practice (before it was canceled) and the times that I can come in their practice schedule," Thomas said. "He was just checking up on me and hoping that everything is staying safe. He's just been checking up on me to see how I'm doing. I'm really excited about the offer. It's going to be one of the top five that I have, one of the main ones I might pick. I like that they are close to home. They have a nice facility that I've seen. I hope in the future I'll visit."
Thomas has not yet visited USC. He has been to Coastal Carolina, ECU and Duke. Coastal and Duke also have offered along with Tennessee and Liberty.
Last season, Thomas said he was in on around 65 tackles with five quarterback sacks. He is rated as a 3-star prospect by 247Sports and the No. 32 prospect in his home state.
USC also offered '22 defensive end/tight end Eli Hall (6-3, 250) of Shelby, N.C. He also has an offer from Akron.
USC offered '22 CB Jeadyn Lukus of Mauldin High. He also has offers from Kentucky, Louisiana State, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Duke, Florida and Appalachian State.
USC also offered '22 safety Jaron Willis (6-2, 210) of Leesburg, Ga. Tennessee also offered on Saturday. He also has Oklahoma State and Pittsburgh offers.
DT Taleeq Robbins of Philadelphia plans to release a top 15 soon. USC is among his offers and looks good for making the list. Some of his other offers are Tennessee, Michigan, Washington, Mississippi, North Carolina State, Texas A&M, Duke, WVU and GT.
USC targets who received other offers include offensive lineman Dylan Fairchild by Central Florida, linebacker Trenilyas Tatum by Minnesota, LB Raneira Dillworth of by Michigan State, and DE Jahvaree Ritzie by LSU.
Offers continue to roll in for TE Robbie Outzs of Rock Hill High. His updated offer list includes USC, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Virginia Tech, WVU, NCSU, Louisville, Duke, Maryland and UNC.
The 2021 QB search for Clemson is a work in progress as QB coach Brandon Streeter continues to evaluate and keep his offers in his pocket.
The only known QB offer for the class is held by Caleb Williams of Washington, and he could be bound to Oklahoma. One prospect Streeter has taken a more-than-casual interest in is Kyron Drones (6-2, 195) of Pearland, Texas.
"We still keep in touch, and they just say as soon as the NCAA lets people back on visits, they are going to get me up there," Drones said. "He said I'm a leader and a winner, and he likes the way I carry myself on the field, how I like to extend plays and I have an arm. He just said I've got to get to the school and throw in front of him."
Drones had planned to visit Auburn on Wednesday and Clemson three days later. Those visits were canceled and not yet rescheduled. He's hoping things will return to normal soon, so he can get the opportunity to show Streeter what he can do.
"I think it's a good opportunity," Drones said. "I didn't really think I would even get that because I just started with this offense. It's just a big opportunity for me and that's why I want school to get restarted so I can have spring ball so they can see me."
Drones has offers from Pitt, Vanderbilt, Indiana, Texas Christian, Ole Miss, Auburn, Northwestern, Arkansas, Southern Mississippi, Utah State and Houston. An offer from Clemson would certainly change up the inner workings of his recruiting.
"They would be high on my board, like top schools for sure," he said. Drones also has Clemson among his favorites along with TCU, Auburn, Arkansas, Vandy and Northwestern. His only visit thus far has been to TCU. He wants to make his decision this summer and he will graduate early.
Drones passed for 3,390 yards and 46 TDs against 10 interceptions last season. He also rushed for 825 yards and 18 TDs.
Clemson already can lay claim to one of the top prospects in Georgia in CB Jordan Hancock of Suwanee. He committed this month after attending the junior day on March 7. His teammate, 4-star LB Barrett Carter (6-1, 210), was also at that junior day with his parents. He's not as far down the road on a decision as Hancock was, but the visit put Clemson in a high spot with Carter as he works through the 11 finalists on his list out of 54 offers.
"When we got to Clemson, I knew where I was already because we have been there three times already," Carter said. "I am very comfortable with Clemson and the city. I felt at home at Clemson. It's a great environment there. The coaching staff is so welcoming. I love how (head) Coach (Dabo) Swinney is very Christ-based. That sticks out about a coach."
Carter sat down with Swinney for a 1-on-1 conversation. He also got time alone with DC and LB coach Brent Venables, who told him he sees a lot of former Clemson LB star Isaiah Simmons in him.
"I am not 6-4, I am just 6-1, but I am a shorter version of Isaiah because of how versatile and athletic I am. That is a huge compliment to me," Carter said. "I would say that I am very versatile. I can cover anybody on the field. I can also play in the box. I am sideline to sideline and I am pretty fast. I can cover a lot of ground and make plays all over.
"My versatility is what sets me apart. I can make plays all over the field. It's my dream to play in the NFL, so to see how he develops linebackers speaks volumes to me."
Along with Clemson, Carter now is working with a short list of UGA, Alabama, FSU, Auburn, UF, Duke, GT, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and LSU. Recruiting visits are on hold for now but when they return he plans a return visit to Clemson.
"I do have my top group, but I prefer to keep that private," Carter said. "Everyone thinks that Clemson is this big football school and it's just football, but they are so much more than that. But Clemson has offered something like 60 kids in my grade, and it shows how having that offer is so prestigious and a blessing. They are very picky in how they recruit, and it's just a blessing to have an offer from them." Carter had 76 tackles with nine tackles for loss, nine QB sacks and seven QB hurries last season.
One of the instate prospects to make it to Clemson's junior day earlier in the month was Greer High OL Jaydon Collins (6-6, 270). At Greer, he is coached by former Clemson standout OL Will Young.
Clemson hasn't offered Collins, but there appears to be strong interest and a connection there.
"Clemson was a beautiful school -- awesome campus, awesome coaches and just a family environment," Collins said. "I talked to all the coaches, and they just said to keep working hard on the field and in the classroom. Clemson is an amazing school, Power 5 national championships two out of three years."
Collins met with Clemson OL coach Robbie Caldwell on his visit. He did not wish to disclose the extent of the discussions relative to a potential offer, but there certainly is a lot of interest there.
"As a player, they really like me," Collins said. "One thing Coach Caldwell told me is that he likes that I'm lengthy and long, and I move real good. He said you can't teach height."
Collins has offers from Louisville, Duke, Syracuse, App State, WF, Old Dominion, ECU, Coastal, Liberty, Illinois and WVU. He also took unofficial visits to WVU and WF prior to the Clemson visit. He wants to visit Illinois when recruiting goes live again.
Clemson offered 4-star SAF Kendal Daniels (6-4, 190) of Beggs, Okla. He also has Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, LSU, Notre Dame, Oregon, Michigan State and Auburn among his offers.
Clemson also offered 3-star SAF Andrew Mukuba (5-11, 180) of Austin, Texas. Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas and Arizona are some of his other offers.
CLEMSON AND USC
Five-star OL Amarius Mims of Cochran, GA, rated the No. 1 prospect in Georgia and the No. 2 OT in the nation in the 247Sports composite, has Clemson and USC on his short list and has set Oct. 14 for his commitment announcement.
The other schools he's listing are Auburn, LSU, FSU, Alabama, A&M, Oklahoma, Southern California, UGA, UF, UNC, Tennessee and Oregon.
USC and Clemson are in the top 12 with 3-star RB Malik Newton (6-0, 223) of Norfolk, Va. The others are Pitt, Penn State, Nebraska, Temple, Syracuse, WVU, Maryland, Louisville and ODU. He's also a baseball prospect.
Clemson and USC CB target Ryan Barnes was offered by WVU.
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