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Sumter DL Boone weighing his options

Phil Kornblut
Posted 12/4/19

Sumter High School defensive end Justus Boone is a 2021 football recruit who did not land his first offer until late August when South Carolina stepped up. Boone wasn't really on the recruiting radar at that point, having played at Laurence Manning …

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Sumter DL Boone weighing his options


Sumter High School defensive end Justus Boone is a 2021 football recruit who did not land his first offer until late August when South Carolina stepped up. Boone wasn't really on the recruiting radar at that point, having played at Laurence Manning Academy in Manning before transferring to the more high profile program at Sumter High School.

Three months later and after dominating in 5A, Boone is becoming a household name. His offer list now includes Oklahoma, North Carolina, Louisville, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Florida, West Virginia, Wake Forest and Appalachian State.

Boone was back at USC on Saturday for the Clemson game, one of four games he saw at USC this season. USC is remaining in regular contact. "All the same stuff, telling me that they want me to come play and stuff like that, still strong in their recruitment," Boone said, adding he gets an inspirational tweet from USC head coach Will Muschamp practically every morning.

He said his Clemson contact has been every "now and then" on Twitter. He also visited Florida in early November and Boone was impressed.

"It was good, a great experience," Boone said. "The coaches were nice and everything was smooth. I felt real comfortable. Those Gators, they're a beast now. The facilities were amazing. They were telling me about redoing them, and I don't see why they need to do that because the facilities looked great to me. The atmosphere was hyped. Everything was smooth, man."

Boone said he's still open with his recruiting at this point and has formulated a list of favorites.

USC is eyeing a potential third running back for the '20 class. One has been Len'Neth Whitehead of Athens, Ga. USC and Tennessee have been his two official visits thus far, though he's scheduled to visit UCLA on Saturday. He was back at Tennessee on Saturday for an unofficial visit.

Another target is ZaQuandre White (6-feet-2-inches, 214 pounds) of Fort Myers, Fla. He is finishing up his time at Iowa Western Junior College and will be a mid-year transfer. White made an official visit to USC over the weekend.

"The visit went absolutely great," White said. "I loved the vibe. No commitment as of now, but I love the Gamecocks. I would say it's a perfect fit. They like to run the ball a lot, so that's pretty good with me."

White said USC started recruiting him in October and later offered. "They just like that I'm an all-around back," White said. "I fit their system. They like their backs to check out of the backfield. They just like me as an all-around player."

This season at Iowa Western he's rushed for 849 yards and nine touchdowns in seven games, an average of 121 yards per game. White said his decision will be between USC and Tennessee. He plans to visit the Volunteers in mid-December and make his decision soon after that. He will sign early and enroll in January of '20.

White committed to Florida State as a sophomore and signed with FSU in '17. He redshirted his freshman season, and in '18 as a linebacker, he played in 11 games and made 22 tackles.

White said he left FSU because he didn't want to play LB and because he let his grades slip some. He will have two years to play two.

USC missed on another of their top targets on Thanksgiving when defensive end Reggie Grimes of Brentwood, Tenn., announced a commitment to Oklahoma.

USC offered '20 DE Yaya Diaby (6-4, 260), a native of Riverdale, Ga., who attends Georgia Military College, last week.

"They (USC) are in the game and he likes them," said GMC head coach Bert Williams. "They definitely have a shot. His recruitment has really taken off the last five to six weeks with many FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) offers. Physically he is a nice combination of speed, length and power in a frame that is still developing.

"He was a wide receiver in high school and only has about 16 months of defensive line training. He had two good years of development here with two defensive line coaches that played professionally. He also has a great attitude and is a work ethic guy too."

Diaby also has offers from Tennessee, Kansas State, Memphis, Louisville -- which he visited officially last weekend -- Arizona, Utah, WVU, Hawaii, Charlotte and Western Kentucky.

Diaby led GMC with 58 tackles this season. He also had a team high 16 tackles for loss along with five quarterback sacks.

USC tight end/WR target Jaheim Bell of Valdosta, Ga., planned to visit UF on Saturday, according to the website Florida Zone. Bell has taken official visits to USC and Oklahoma and several unofficial visits to FSU. Those have been his top three.

USC offered '21 LB/WR Jabril McNeill (6-4, 210) of Raleigh, N.C., last week. The offer seems to have put USC in a good place with McNeill at this point in his recruiting.

"I liked South Carolina growing up. That's what makes this so special to me," McNeill said. "And it's my first SEC (Southeastern Conference) offer. What they like about me is I'm tall, but I can run. And I'm still 16 (years old), so they know I still have a lot of potential in me."

This season McNeill has been to VT, WF, UNC, Duke and North Carolina State. He also has offers from VT and Appalachian State.

USC also offered '21 RB Chance Black of Dorman High in Roebuck. He's rushed for over 1,000 yards this season.

Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins, a '21 DL from Gaffney High, '22 RB/strong safety Nicholas Singleton of Shillington, Pa., and '22 TE Andre Dollar of Mustang, Okla., all visited USC on Saturday and landed offers.

USC also offered '21 defensive back Damond Harmon of Highland Springs, Va.

USC offered '21 offensive tackle Jakiah Leftwich (6-6, 290) of Atlanta. Leftwich had been on USC's recruiting board, and it was just a matter of time before Muschamp and offensive line coach Eric Wolford signed off on the offer.

"They were already looking at me early this season," Leftwich said. "I went to the Florida game, and all the coaches knew me. I talked with the offensive line coach, and he liked me and my film. He told me that a coach will be to my school on their bye week, so the offensive coordinator came and offered me. They like my size and that I'm physical."

Leftwich also holds offers from Georgia Tech, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Indiana and Toledo. The USC offer certainly puts it in a good spot with him in the early going.

"They are up there," he said. "I like what they are trying to do with the program."

Leftwich visited Auburn, GT, Tennessee and UGA this season.

USC '21 OL target Micah Morris of Kingsland, Ga., visited UGA for the Texas A&M game and Auburn this past Saturday for the Alabama game. He announces on Dec. 17. He's also considering Louisiana State, Alabama and UF.

USC '21 OL target Tanner Bivens of Norcross, Ga., visited UGA for the A&M game. He was at Boston College earlier in the month. This season he's also been to games at UNC, Kentucky, WF and Louisville. He visited USC last summer.

Nick Barrett, a '21 OL/DL from Goldsboro, N.C., and '21 OL Cody Bradford of Flowery Branch, Ga., confirmed visiting USC on Saturday and '22 WR/cornerback Jeadyn Lukus of Mauldin High, '22 WR Dakota Twitty of Mooresboro, N.C., and '23 QB Raheim Jeter of Greer High planned to visit.

RB Tiyon Evans of Hartsville High and Hutchinson JC in Kansas, is a prospect USC has been following for the '21 class. This season he's rushed for 344 yards and seven TDs while averaging 7.5 yards per carry.


According to The State, DE Jordan Burch of Hammond in Columbia was at USC on Saturday for the Clemson game. Both of the schools are among his five finalists along with Alabama, LSU and UGA. He plans to announce on Dec. 19.

Clemson and USC '21 RB target Will Shipley of Matthews, N.C., visited UGA for the A&M game and Duke this past Saturday. He was at Clemson for the WF game. He's also been to NCSU, Notre Dame, Alabama and Northwestern this season. He did not get to a USC game this season but has taken multiple unofficial visits.


Clemson remains involved with Miami WR Xzavier Henderson and he might visit later this month.

Bralyn Oliver, a '21 safety from Belton-Honea Path High, announced a decommitment from UGA last week. Oliver committed to UGA in August over his other favorites at the time -- Clemson, Colorado, Louisville and Duke. He camped at Clemson, USC and Georgia last summer. Oliver visited Alabama earlier this month for the LSU game.

Clemson WR target Arian Smith of Lakeland, Fla., posted on Instagram a top three of Alabama, UGA and UF.


Hilton Head High CB Christian Miller was offered by Charleston Southern.

WR Lex Capitano of Tampa, Fla., and DB Ivan Yates of Roswell, Ga., committed to Furman.

RB Fred Jackson of New Mexico Military Institute and Clermont, Fla., committed to Coastal Carolina.