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Hammond's Burch to reveal school choice with early signing period upcoming

Phil Korblut
Posted 12/17/19

The early national football signing period is Wednesday through Friday, and the plans of defensive end Jordan Burch of Hammond School in Columbia will finally be learned.

Burch and his family orchestrated one of the most secretive recruiting …

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Hammond's Burch to reveal school choice with early signing period upcoming

Posted

The early national football signing period is Wednesday through Friday, and the plans of defensive end Jordan Burch of Hammond School in Columbia will finally be learned.

Burch and his family orchestrated one of the most secretive recruiting campaigns ever for a national level recruit, never tipping their hands on his movements in advance. It's been hard to separate fact from fiction in this case.

Based on a Snapchat posting on Saturday, Burch visited Georgia over the weekend for an official visit. He also took official visits to Louisiana State and Alabama, posting Twitter pictures from both. It's also known he visited South Carolina more than any other school.

His last visit to Clemson was in July. It also is fact that Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and UGA head coach Kirby Smart visited with Burch last week because there are pictures of the two coaches at Burch's basketball games on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Alabama Rivals site reported Alabama head coach Nick Saban visited in the home last Monday, and websites have reported USC head coach Will Muschamp and LSU head coach Ed Orgeron were expected for visits, but there's been no confirmation on those.

Burch has said he will announce on Thursday, but the when and the where have not been announced.

Micah Morris, a 2021 offensive lineman from Kingsland, Ga., has delayed his decision announcement that was set for Monday and has added Clemson back to his list. Clemson joins USC, Alabama, UGA, Florida and LSU on his short list.

Morris plans to revisit all the schools, and he was at UF this past weekend. Morris is one of the top rated OLs in the '21 class. He visited USC and Clemson during the season.

CLEMSON

Clemson added another majestic piece to its '20 recruiting class on Saturday with a commitment from linebacker Trenton Simpson (6-feet-2-inches, 205 pounds). In typical Clemson fashion, the Tigers low-keyed their recruiting of Simpson for much of the season, then they turned up their interest in recent days after apparently moving on from California LB Justin Flowe.

Simpson appeared headed to North Carolina, but then he showed up for an official visit at Clemson on Friday, landed an offer on Saturday and later committed.

"That wasn't my expectation, but I was figuring that they were going to offer me a scholarship because I had my home visit Thursday night," Simpson said. "My personality and how my family is, it fits the program. They just told me to trust them. This has been my dream school since Day 1, so I just knew when he told me to trust them.

"It came down to my home visit and then I had my official visit the next day. I just prayed and let everything take care of itself. I just knew that it would work out for me in a good way."

Simpson and his parents were watching Clemson practice on Saturday when Swinney called him over for a chat. That's when the official offer was made to him, and he gave Swinney his commitment right then and there.

"I didn't waste any time," he said. "Coach Swinney said, 'I know you have a lot of options and I don't know if you're going to come here, but we would love to have you.' I said, 'Coach, I'm coming.' He was very excited. The players were walking off the practice field, and everybody was telling me that they were proud of me, and that I just trusted the process, and that's how it's supposed to be done."

Simpson said he will sign with the Tigers this week and will arrive on campus on Jan. 5.

"I'm just looking forward to getting to work. It's a great feeling. I know my talents and I know what they have," Simpson said. "I love to come to work, and I'll have the same mindset as a lot of the guys coming in because I know everyone is the same caliber as me and wants the same goals that I have. It's a great feeling knowing that I'll be playing with some awesome teammates and great people."

Simpson is one of the top-rated LBs in the country and recently was named the player of the year in North Carolina. He also had offers from USC, UNC, Penn State, West Virginia, Miami, Auburn, UGA, Oregon, Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia Tech and others. He originally was committed to Auburn and decommitted in October. Simpson is the 22nd commitment for Clemson's '20 class.

Clemson had been one of the finalists for Flowe, and he took an official visit, but Oregon and Southern California are making strong moves and may have climbed to the front with him. He visited Southern Cal over the weekend.

Clemson websites reported LSU free safety commitment Malcolm Greene of Highland Springs, Va., was is in for an official visit over the weekend. Greene also visited Clemson in January, as well as for the spring game, but Clemson didn't push for a commitment at that time. He later committed to LSU and has publicly held to that while Clemson has continued to work him.

Wide receiver Xzavier Henderson of Miami also was expected for an official visit to Clemson over the weekend. His visit was delayed due to his team playing for a state championship on Friday. Henderson also visited Clemson in March and for a camp in June.

His 247Sports profile reflects other official visits taken to Alabama, UGA and UF. His brother, CJ Henderson, was a starting defensive back for UF who is leaving early for the National Football League.

Clemson offered '21 WR Romello Brinson (6-2, 190) of Miami. He recently decommitted from Miami.

USC

Placekicker Mitch Jeter of Concord, N.C., landed an offer from USC earlier this month, and that immediately moved it high up on his list with VT, East Carolina and Memphis. Jeter made an unofficial visit to Columbia on Saturday and committed to USC.

Though he is a '20 graduate, the plan is for him to count against the '21 class. Jeter said he may enroll in the second session of summer school in June and pay his own way his first year, or he could wait and enroll in August and have his scholarship count toward '21.

"It's an amazing feeling," Jeter said on Saturday. "I get to live my dreams out by playing football in the SEC (Southeastern Conference). It's super exciting and I'm super honored and grateful for the staff to believe in me."

This season Jeter displayed a strong leg with a long field goal of 57 yards, and all of his deep kickoffs went for touchbacks. He was 8-for-10 on his field goal attempts.

"I'd compete for the job my freshman year on kickoffs and field goals, and they want me to get in the environment so by the time of my redshirt freshman year I can take over the field goal and kickoff job."

Jeter becomes the first recruit who will count for USC's '21 class.

Running back ZaQuandre White (6-2, 205) of Iowa Western Junior College in Coucil Bluffs announced on his Instagram page Thursday night that he is committed to USC. However, there's been no corresponding "SpursUp" from Muschamp to make the commitment official.

White said on Thursday he sees no issue with that. He did not talk with Muschamp immediately after making his pledge public, but from his past conversations with him and RB coach Thomas Brown, he feels good about the commitment.

"I talked to him (Muschamp) a week ago about it, and when I did it today, I told Coach Brown and he informed Coach Muschamp. He (Brown) said he was excited for me to get there."

White was scheduled to visit Tennessee this past weekend, but he canceled that trip. He said his decision to go with USC boiled down to two factors.

"One, the academics," White said. "I talked to one of the players and he told me about the academic staff and how they help you with school and stuff. Two, talking with Coach Muschamp and Coach Brown, they were very personable and it felt like home."

White said he plans to sign this week, though he wasn't sure what day, and he's planning to enroll early. He said his academic standing should not be an issue. "I'm fine, everything's good," he said.

White has finished his academic work at the JC and returned home, and he will take online classes there.

White, who is from Fort Myers, Fla., began his college career as an LB at Florida State in '17. He redshirted his freshman season and played in 10 games in '18. A desire to play RB and lagging grades led him to transfer to Iowa Western. where this season he led the team in rushing with 876 yards and 10 touchdowns.

White will have two years to play two with USC. Once Muschamp makes the commitment official, USC will have 20 in its '20 class and room, at this time, for two more commitments.

USC had several committed players in for official visits over the weekend and committed RB Marshawn Lloyd came in unofficially. Another commitment, defensive tackle Alex Huntley from Hammond, took an official visit to Virginia.

USC DE target Yaya Diaby of Georgia Military College visited WVU and another USC target, WR-Ger-Cari Caldwell of Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, visited Baylor. Neither is signing early.

Diaby just recently emerged on the national recruiting scene with several major offers. However, he has settled on USC, Louisville, Kansas State and WVU as his final four as he goes through his official visits.

He went to Louisville during the season and also has seen KSU and WVU. He plans to visit USC on Jan. 17.

USC defensive line coach John Scott visited Diaby at GMC and delivered the offer. He's never visited USC and is looking forward to getting there next month to learn more about the place and the program.

"It's something I have to go see and witness for myself," Diaby said. "I have a chance to come in and start right away and earn a spot in the starting lineup because they are losing a lot of seniors. That's a plus for me."

This season Diaby had a team high 58 tackles along with 16 tackles for loss and five quarterback sacks.

USC is making a strong push for Caldwell. WR coach Bryan McClendon visited him each of the last weeks, and Caldwell will take an official visit to USC either on Jan. 18 or Jan. 25. The relationship with USC is starting to take hold.

"Coach BMac has been recruiting me, and (assistant) Coach (Bobby) Bentley, and they feel like I will fit in perfectly with what they've got going on now," Caldwell said. "I'm real comfortable with the coaches, so I'm feeling pretty good. I'm looking for the place where I can feel like I'm basically back at home, I can look toward someone to talk to without any problems and things like that."

Tennessee is Caldwell's newest offer and he also took a recent official visit to Wake Forest. He also took his first official visit last weekend to WF. Tennessee and UNC also came by his school.

USC tight end target Jaheim Bell of Valdosta, Ga., will announce on Wednesday. He has had USC, FSU and Oklahoma as his favorites. FSU tossed Bell something else to think about on Friday when his QB, Tate Rodemaker, committed to it. Rodemaker also is the son of the Valdosta High head coach.

USC has a commitment for the '20 class from OL Jazton Turnetine of Hutchinson JC in Kansas, and it has been back in touch with cornerback Art Green, a player it offered and recruited earlier in the year before he committed to Tennessee. He decommitted last week. Looking ahead, USC offered a pair of '21 Hutchinson players in DE Zykeius Strong of Birmingham, Ala., who redshirted this season, and LB Gereme Spraggins (6-1, 229), who is a native of Maryland.

"I believe they came across my film and (USC assistant) Coach Coleman Hutzler reached out to me, and we started texting back and forth, and this past weekend I got on the phone with the head coach and that's when they offered me," Spraggins said. "They like the way I play the game of football, how I can run to the ball and they like my size."

This season Spraggins had 70 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks as an inside LB. He also has offers from Maryland, Oklahoma State, Tennessee and WVU. He did not visit any schools this season, and he plans to get to USC as soon as the rules allow. Spraggins will graduate from Hutchinson in December of '20.

LB Darryle Ware of Fort Dorchester High in North Charleston plans to join the USC program as an invited walk-on, and FS Sheldon Arnold of Loganville, Gq., received a preferred walk-on opportunity from USC.

USC offered '21 LB Ese Dubre of Powder Springs, Ga, '21 CB/WR Nyland Green (6-1, 174) of Covington, Ga., '22 LB Tony Livingston (6-1, 205) and '22 WR/FS Iam Gaines (6-1, 170) of Tampa, Fla., '22 DB Mikeece Jones (6-1, 180) of Nashville, Tenn., '22 athlete Dallan Hayden (5-11, 179) of Memphis, Tenn., and '23 DB Avieon Terrell of Atlanta, the brother of Clemson CB AJ Terrell.

USC also offered FS Cameron Faison, a native of Notasulga, Ala., who will enroll at Dodge City JC in Kansas. He's hoping for a 1-season stay there.

Former Hartsville High RB Tiyon Evans of Hutchinson was the Offensive Most Valuable Player of the Salt City Bowl, rushing for a bowl record 194 yards and 2 TDs. He's a prospect USC has been tracking since high school and plans to follow up on during his sophomore season next year. Evans finished with 538 yards and nine TDs.

USC '21 TE target Bryson Nesbit of Charlotte was offered by VT, and '21 DB/WR Jabari Parker of Highland Springs, Va., visited USC for the Clemson game.