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June 18, 2006
The South Carolina In-State Recruiting Battle
A quick look at the board and we can see what's already gone from the SCVarsity.com Top Twenty Board. Seven of the Top Ten players are committed - three to Clemson, three to South Carolina, and one to Georgia. But the second ten in the Top Twenty seem to be creating their own "circle of friends" in the Valley. Numbers 12, 13, 14, and 18 are all committed to the Tigers already.
The Tigers got two big pick ups this past week from No. 12 Stanley Hunter (5-11,205) of Byrnes and No. 10 Scotty Cooper (6-0,200) of Lake City. These followed South Carolina's committment from T.L. Hanna running back Brian Maddox two weeks ago.
So, how does it look so far? Lets begin with the Cooper commit to Clemson. It was rumored for weeks that Cooper was a Clemson lock, and then a SC lock, and then back to "no favorites". The message boards posters can say what they want, but the Gamecock faithful thought Cooper was a lock and his commitment to the Tigers is huge. It also makes the "no offer" to Charles White look like a "shoulda" in hind-site.
Its hard to argue that the Tigers are winning the in-state battle right now. With seven of the SCVarsity.com Top Twenty committed to their program, it is a huge lean on the scales compared to the three commitments that the Gamecocks currently have. Granted, each have a five star on their list and the Gamecocks have two Top 100 (national) players on their list (Gray and Richardson). But the Tigers have Willy Korn and that is an Ace in any hand.
If you look at what's still on the board from the SCVarsity.com Top Twenty, you've got some very solid players. Two Rivals100 players in Mark Barnes (SCV #2) and Cliff Matthews (SCV #5) remain open. Barnes would be huge for South Carolina, which could get his commitment if he decides to stay in state. Matthews is rumored to be "open" but I suspect he will be a Gamecock. If they could land both of those guys, they could make a very good arguement for it being a fairly even year in the in-state battle. Barnes, in my opinion, is the best football athlete in the state of South Carolina.
Ft Dorchester defensive end Carlos Dunlap is still on the board and the rumor mill has him as a South Carolina lean. Batesburg Leesville wide receiver Dontrelle Inman is a wild card, but I look for him to flee the boarder to another SEC team. Offensive tackle Kyle Fischer of Spring Valley will be an absolute steal for someone (I think ACC out of state) because he has the most upside of any of the OL's in the state this year. The other Spring Valley OL on the board, Mason Cloy, will more than likely be a Tiger when all is said and done. He likes the Tigers and I expect him to drop SC from consideration very soon. Ridge View wide receiver Brandon King is a kid that I've got in the SCV Top Twenty and he's gotten interest from both in-state schools, as well as others. He is taking care of some academic issues right now and when those are cleared up, he'll be easier to read. I know he's gotten strong interest from Marshall, as well. Lindell Stevenson of Marlboro County is still open and I think he's a strong Clemson probability.*yellow highlight indicates an SCVarsity.com Top Ten player. All players on the board are SCV Top Twenty.