South Carolina added another gem to its recruiting class last week, while in the fallout over the resignation of head coach Tommy Bowden, three Clemson commitments reopened their recruiting.
South Pointe defensive back Stephon Gilmore (6-2, 195) cast his lot with the Gamecocks over Alabama and Tennessee.
“They think I can be a great corner, and they are going to put me on the offensive side at quarterback,” Gilmore said. “They compare me to Captain Munnerlyn a lot.”
Gilmore’s teammate, defensive back Devonte Holloman (6-3, 210), was one of a trio of Clemson commitments to de-commit last week.
Holloman made an official visit to USC over the weekend. He also has visited Tennessee and will visit LSU this weekend and North Carolina the following weekend. Holloman said he had a very good visit with the Gamecocks, but after being set with Clemson, he’s now in a state of confusion.
“I don’t know what to think,” Holloman said. “I’m just looking for the best place for me.”
Also de-committing from Clemson were DB Craig Loston (6-3, 210) of Aldine, Texas, and ATH Larry Raper (5-10, 160) of Shelby, N.C. Loston is now focused on LSU, Oregon, Texas and Texas A&M. Raper is now looking at USC, North Carolina and Tennessee. Clemson and Duke are his two official offers. He had talked about coming in for the USC-LSU game but didn’t make it. He plans to make an unofficial visit to North Carolina this weekend for the Boston College game.
Other players committed to the Tigers, like RB Roderick McDowell (5-10 175) of Sumter, OL Brandon Thomas (6-4, 285) of Dorman, and RB Ben Axon (6-2, 190) of Bradenton, Fla., said last week their commitments remain in place, but they are shaky at best. McDowell said he likely will take official visits to USC, Kentucky and two others. Thomas said he also would look at USC and others.
Axon has set an official visit with West Virginia and plans to set one with USC. “I’m let down by the (Clemson) coaching staff,” Axon said. “I don’t think coach Swinney will be back. I think they are going to clean out the whole offensive staff. Right now, it’s not looking pretty for me and Clemson. I’m going to wait for two more weeks and see how things work out.”
For his part, Clemson interim head coach Dabo Swinney and his staff are doing all they can to hold the class together.
“What we will do, is talk to all of our committed guys and all the guys we are recruiting actively and let them know, don’t give up on Clemson,” Swinney said. ‘This is a football program that is in good shape. Whether it’s me or whoever else that comes in here, it’s going to be a great opportunity to build a big time winner here.”
DB Branden Smith (5-11, 170) of Atlanta canceled his planned official visit to Clemson and replaced it with a trip to Florida State for the Florida game. He has visited Florida and also is scheduled to visit Tennessee and Auburn.