USC holds its first big junior day of the 2018 recruiting campaign Saturday, but the quarterback thought to be highest up on the Gamecocks’ board won’t be there. Dakereon Joyner of Fort Dorchester said Tuesday night one of his friends was shot Tuesday and is in the hospital, so he plans to stay in Charleston to be close to him. Joyner said he might get to USC for some spring practices and definitely would be in for the spring game April 1st. “I talk to the coaches often,” he said. “I’ve always liked South Carolina, but I’m starting to hear from a lot more schools. I’m just taking advantage of all my opportunities right now. But they are still recruiting me really hard. I talk with Coach Muschamp as often as I can. Nothing has slacked up at all. They are recruiting me hard and I still have interest in South Carolina.” Joyner has had a stated top five of USC, Louisville, Georgia, NC State and Virginia Tech, but he said he’s not talking with Louisville any longer, and with recent offers from Oregon and Mississippi State, he’s not limiting himself to those five any longer. He’s also been talking with Ole Miss. “I just really don’t have a definite top five anymore,” he said. Joyner is coming off a visit to NC State last weekend and the Wolfpack has emerged as a major player for him because of what he has seen from their offense. “It went well, I enjoyed it,” Joyner said. “I spent some one-on-one time with the head coach. They get under the center as well as in the shotgun. Their offense is very explosive. They’ve got a little bit of rinky-dinkies like trick plays they run sometimes, but they throw the ball a lot and they also run the ball.” Joyner also visited Virginia Tech in January. He said he will be going back to Virginia Tech and NC State soon and he is also going to visit Georgia and Oregon. As for Clemson, Joyner said he’s decided to move on from the Tigers and is no longer considering them.
Florence native DE Xavier Thomas of IMG Academy in Florida Sunday attended The Opening tryout in Orlando and for the first time in several weeks spoke on his recruiting. Thomas told Jeff Sentell of SECCountry's DawgNation he is 99% certain he will go to either USC or Clemson with Alabama holding the final 1% chip. Thomas visited Clemson for a junior day late last month and got the red carpet treatment from the Tigers. He also got the chance to check out the Tigers' new home for their players. He plans to visit USC next Thursday while on a bus trip to various schools with some of his IMG teammates. Thomas told Sentell the two are basically 50-50 with him at this point. "I haven’t been to South Carolina for a while, but everyone expects me to go to Clemson because they have the new facilities and they just won a championship. I already knew about the facility. I already expected them to win the championship,” Thomas said. “I’m just looking forward to seeing South Carolina and how they do with this upcoming season. USC has been my dream school, so them telling me I can come there and be the face of the program is big." USC defensive line coach Lance Thompson is recruiting Thomas for the Gamecocks. Thomas has said he plans to make his decision right before the season or during it, or he might wait until his birthday December 20th.
LB Channing Tindall of Spring Valley is becoming one of the hottest recruited players in the state for the 2018 class. Georgia was his most recent offer and he picked that up last weekend while on a visit to Athens. USC was his first major offer and he’s also picked up tenders from Colorado State, Wake Forest and Auburn among major programs. Tindall continues to hear a lot from USC and is returning to campus Saturday for a junior day. “I am building really good relationships with the coaches. South Carolina is making me feel like I am a priority the most right now, so they have the edge. I am building a great relationship with Coach Hutzler and Coach Muschamp.” Tindall was invited to Clemson’s junior day late last month, but had a prior commitment and he plans to visit during spring practice. This past weekend he was at Duke. He will also visit Tennessee and Florida in March.
WR Sam Pinckney (6-4 205) of Greenwood visited Florida State over the weekend and left Tallahassee with his second major offer. ”It was the best experience I’ve been to so far,” Pinckney said. “They’re definitely competing for the top spot.” Pinckney’s other big-time offer is from USC. Gamecock receivers coach Bryan McClendon scouted Pinckney last season and it didn’t take long for the Gamecocks to offer after that. “I most definitely really like South Carolina,” he said. “They gave me the offer first. South Carolina is my priority right now. I hear from South Carolina pretty much every day. I hear from Coach Hutzler and he’s telling me that they are really interested in me and they would like me to come visit anytime, like a second home.” Pinckney has been to USC in the past and he plans to attend the junior day there this Saturday. He also has offers from Georgia State and Appalachian State and has drawn interest from North Carolina, Tennessee, Wake Forest, Louisville and Notre Dame. Pinckney said he does not plan to make a decision anytime soon and is a possible early graduate. Last season, Pinckney had 72 catches for 1200 yards and 14 touchdowns.
DL Darnell Jefferies (6-3 265) of Covington, GA said he was impressed with his visit to USC Monday. “If I had to rate my visit, I would give it a 10,” Jefferies said. “The facilities were nice and I felt like everything was very organized.” Jefferies said he got the opportunity to talk with several of the USC coaches, including head coach Will Muschamp, defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson and defensive line coach Lance Thompson. He said he liked getting a chance to meet with the coaches in person and enjoyed seeing the academic facilities and weight rooms. Prior to his visit to USC, Jefferies visited Georgia and Georgia Tech. He said those two visits compared similarly to his visit to South Carolina. “At the moment, it compared kind of the same,” Jefferies said. “But I’m not trying to compare schools. I’m just trying to enjoy the recruiting process.” Along with offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Colorado State, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, Jefferies said he’s received interest from Alabama, Kentucky and Clemson. He will visit Alabama on February 25th and Clemson on March 4th for junior days. He also plans to return to USC March 2nd. Jefferies said he is currently hearing the most from the coaching staffs at Georgia Tech and South Carolina. Jefferies said his commitment decision will come down to two key qualities: the school’s coaching staff and academics. He plans to announce his decision in the beginning of February 2018 around National Signing Day.
OL Maxwell Iyama (6-6 290) of Murfreesboro, TN counts USC, Tennessee, Louisville and Memphis among his top offers at this point. USC recruiter Bobby Bentley and new offensive line coach Eric Wolford have been in regular contact with Iyama and he plans to see them in person March 25th for a spring practice. “I appreciate the way they are recruiting me and I can trust them with what they are telling me,” Iyama said. “They are pretty high on my list.” Iyama visited Tennessee Saturday and has also been to Louisville and Memphis. He does not have a current favorite, but USC has worked its way into a prominent place in his mind. Iyama is being recruited as an offensive tackle.
Last week USC offered DB Jaycee Horn (6-1 170) of Alpharetta, GA. He’s the son of former NFL star receiver Joe Horn. “My dad got his first offer from there in high school and he told me it’s a great school. Coach McClendon just said he loved my film and the way I play.” Some of his other offers are Minnesota, Duke, Indiana, West Virginia, Maryland, Ole Miss, Wake Forest and Syracuse.
USC offered former Army All-American and former Oklahoma State signee OL Tramonda Moore (6-6 330) of Independence CC, KS and he’s interested in following up with the Gamecocks. Moore is a native of Oklahoma City who signed with Oklahoma State in 2016 but did not qualify. He played this past season at Independence with the hope of only needing one season in junior college, but as things turned out he will need another season there in 2017. He is on track to graduate in December. Moore also has had offers from Mississippi State, Oregon, UCLA and Iowa State and they all like his size and overall talents. “They love that I’m explosive off the ball and that I’m easily a first round draft pick in the next couple of years,” he said. New USC offensive line coach Eric Wolford is recruiting Moore for the Gamecocks. He also plans to visit Oregon for the spring game and other schools this summer and during the season.
DL Dantrell Barkley (6-4 295) of Independence JC, KS last Thursday talked with Will Muschamp and defensive line coach Lance Thompson and landed his first offer from the Gamecocks. “Coach Muschamp talked to me about how he likes my film, how athletic I am for my size and how well I move,” said Barkley, who redshirted last season at Independence. “They seem pretty strong on me and want to get me down there. I’m somewhat familiar with them and I’ve watched them on TV. I like where they are starting from scratch and he’s trying to build a powerhouse back where it used to be.” Barkley said he will visit USC when he returns home to Kannapolis, NC in May or June. He won’t graduate until May of 2018 and he will have three years to play at the next level. In high school, Barkley said he drew interest from USC, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Virginia. He said besides USC, he’s not hearing from any other schools at this point.
Muschamp was busy last Thursday doling out no less than seven other offers according to tweets by the individual prospects: DE Dennis Briggs II (6-4 250) of Kissimmee, FL, ATH Richard Jibunor (6-4 206) of Athens, GA, OL John Campbell (6-5 290) of Orlando, DB Divaad Wilson (6-0 185) of Miami, who committed to Florida earlier this month; DL Tayland Humphrey (6-5 350) of Hutchinson JC KS, DE Andres Fox (6-5 230) of Mobile, and DL Darnell Jefferies (6-3 265) of Covington, GA. He also plans to visit Clemson March 4th for a junior day.
Friday, Muschamp offered LB Michael Harris (6-2 213) of Tucker, GA and DB Verone McKinley III of Plano, TX.
Last week USC also offered RB Harold Joiner of Mountain Brook, AL, DB DeMarvion Overshown of Arp, TX, who also was offered by Clemson, and 2019 RB Paris Brown Jr. of Sandy Springs, GA.
USC is on the short list 7 with WR Tykee Ogle-Kellogg of Alcoa, TN. Also on the list are Tennessee, Texas San Antonio, Ole Miss, Missouri, Memphis and Louisville. He was at Tennessee Saturday.
Georgia State and Florida State offered Greenwood WR Sam Pinckney. He visited Florida State Saturday and will be at USC’s junior day this Saturday.
USC target Byrnes WR Demarcus Gregory picked up offers from Indiana and Minnesota.
Ben Lippen LB Kyle Wright has offers from East Carolina and Colorado State. He’s also talking with USC and will visit February 27th.
USC target Saluda DL Kelijiah Brown picked up an offer from Colorado State.
Wilson DB Zion Keith picked up an offer from UCF. He will be at USC’s junior day Saturday.
Branchville DL Torrion Stevenson will attend USC’s junior day Saturday.
**Phil Kornblut's latest "Recruiting Roundup" for Spurs & Feathers (photo by Allen Sharpe). Catch Kornblut every night on SportsTalk and get more of his statewide recruiting news at SportsTalkSC.com and on Twitter @SportsTalkSC**