NCF On The Trail: South Carolina Gamecocks

Best of the visits: SEC

November, 23, 2014
Nov 23
There weren’t many big games around the SEC on Saturday but there were some key visitors. Some prospects attended the games while others watched on television and used social media as a platform to share their experiences. Here's a look at some of the top social media posts from the weekend:

Mississippi State wide receiver commit Farrod Green sent out a very cryptic tweet in regards to Ole Miss linebacker commit Leo Lewis. The ESPN 300 linebacker has been to Ole Miss and Mississippi State several times over the last few months and looks to be torn between the two schools. He visited MSU for its 51-0 win over Vanderbilt.
One of the more interesting visits of the weekend was five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson visiting Florida despite not knowing who the head coach will be for the Gators next year. He posted several pictures, including one of himself with Florida defensive line coach Brad Lawing, a fan also tweeted a photo of Jefferson posing with other fans. ESPN 300 offensive tackle Jalen Merrick sent out probably the funniest tweet of the weekend. Merrick sent out a photo of himself posed with Arkansas head coach Bret Beliema with the coach wearing a wig to imitate Merrick's hair style. Merrick took an official visit to Arkansas this weekend. ESPN 300 linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. visited Tennessee this weekend and tweeted a photo of himself wearing a Tennessee jersey. Junior linebacker prospect Toron Morten tweeted about his experience at Georgia for an unofficial visit this weekend. Georgia beat Charleston Southern 55-9. Morten was also joined by Louisville linebacker commit Amonte Caban, who also posted with Morten for a photo. Junior defensive end Julian Okwara visited South Carolina for its 37-12 win over South Alabama. Okwara also has offers from Boston College and NC State.

#AskLoogs: Scouting Lorenzo Nunez

November, 21, 2014
Nov 21
Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.
Lorenzo Nunez is a very talented kid who is also fairly raw, which gives him a high ceiling to develop over time. He will bring some athleticism back to the QB position that South Carolina lacked without Connor Shaw this fall. Nunez, like many young quarterbacks, is talented physically and has nice measurables, but will see most of his technical grooming come as a freshman and redshirt freshman. He is a run/pass threat on the perimeter and is pretty savvy when it comes to keeping plays alive. He's highly competitive and you can see that he wants to be good but he must continue to improve his ability to work through progressions and becoming a more true passer.

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

November, 4, 2014
Nov 4
As always there was a ton of recruiting news from around the SEC. There were a few big commitments, key visits and new offers over the weekend. Here is a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the conference.

Best of the visits: SEC

November, 2, 2014
Nov 2
From Auburn’s big 35-31 win over Ole Miss Saturday night to South Carolina’s tough 45-42 loss to Tennessee, there were some incredible SEC games for recruits to watch this weekend. Some prospects attended the games, while others watched on TV and used social media as a platform to share their experiences. Here's a look at some of the top social media posts from the weekend in SEC recruiting:

ESPN 300 linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. took an official visit to Ole Miss this weekend. The four-star defender posed for a photo prior to the game Saturday night.

2016 Ole Miss offensive line commit Eli Johnson stopped for a photo with what appears to be some Rebel cheerleaders.

Another 2016 offensive line prospect, Bryce Mathews, posed for a picture with former Ole Miss star Michael Oher on Saturday.

Junior quarterback Bowman Sells also took a photo with Oher. Sells already has offers from Ohio State, Clemson and Iowa.

Mississippi State narrowly escaped with a win over Arkansas on Saturday night, but Bulldogs commit Maurice Smitherman voiced his excitement about his future team on Twitter.

South Carolina commit Quandeski Whitlow, despite witnessing a Gamecocks loss, tweeted about his experience.

Another South Carolina commit, Dexter Neal, didn’t seem as positive as Whitlow in his tweet.

ESPN Junior 300 safety Joejuan Williams thinks Tennessee coach Butch Jones, after the Vols' big win, will be excited the next time the two talk.

Though it was a neutral-site game and neither team hosted visitors, some Florida targets voiced their opinion about Florida’s big 38-20 win over SEC East rival Georgia. The Gators have taken a hit recently in recruiting, but by the sounds of it, there are some top recruits who still have much interest in the Gators.

ESPN 300 former Florida linebacker commit Adonis Thomas was impressed with what he saw from the Gators.

Five-star defensive end Byron Cowart, like Thomas, liked what he saw from Florida on Saturday.

Another five-star defensive end, CeCe Jefferson, admitted his mother was even rooting for the Gators. Jefferson likes Florida, Florida State, Ole Miss and Alabama.

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

October, 28, 2014
Oct 28
As always there was a ton of recruiting news from around the Southeastern Conference. There were a few big commitments, key visits and new offers over the weekend. Here’s a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the SEC.

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UA jersey tour: D'Anfernee McGriff

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- ESPN 300 athlete D’Anfernee McGriff was presented with his Under Armour All-America Game jersey Wednesday afternoon in a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance. The ceremony took place in front of family, friends and teammates at Leon High School's indoor practice facility in Tallahassee, Florida.

Leon head coach Tim Cokely said his star prospect suffered through a personal tragedy that helped mold him into the person he is today.

"When I first got here he was kind of living with his uncle and his uncle died of a heart attack, and I think that really shaped him,” Cokely said. "So he rededicated himself to football at that time and that really paid off. He’s a laid-back guy, likes to laugh and likes to make every one else laugh.”

McGriff has been committed to Auburn as an athlete since April and Cokely thinks his star quarterback can do multiple things for the Tigers.

"On the field, we’ve been fortunate now. We’ve had a lot of good players play for us since ’89. He’s got a unique skill set. I think he has NFL arm talent. I’ve signed 10 Division 1 quarterbacks, which is the most in the country by five, so he’s No 11 but he’s got the ability to run and throw. I’m not sure how Auburn will use him but he can do a lot of things with his arm and legs. He can probably throw the ball about 80 yards.”

Depsite being committed to Auburn several teams continue to pursue the 207th-ranked player in the country.

“South Carolina and Miami are still on me pretty hard right now,” McGriff said. "I’m pretty solid to Auburn, though. I like it up there."

Eight questions with D'Anfernee McGriff

Who is one player you are looking forward to competing against?

McGriff: I know I want to go against Kevin Toliver, the No. 1 defensive back. He’s the best, so I want to go against the best.

If you were to start a team with any other player in your class, who would it be?

DM: I’d start with Trenton Thompson. He’s a big dude and you need big defensive linemen.

Who is the best player to ever play in the Under Armour game that you know of?

DM: Definitely Jameis Winston.

What is your earliest football memory?

DM: My earliest football memory, I was just a few years old but Tamarick Vanover was my uncle and he played football. I never really knew what was going on but I’d watch it on TV.

Which football player did you idolize or be like when you were a kid?

DM: I’d say Michael Vick, because I’m left-handed and can run, too. I tried to model my game after him.

If you could take on any pro player in their sport, who would it be?

DM: Definitely LeBron James, just to be on the same court with the best player in the world.

What number do you wear?

DM: I wore No. 11. But in the spring we had a battle and whoever won the battle would wear No. 1 during the spring game, but I liked wearing it, so now that’s what I wear.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

DM: I actually came to Leon to play basketball. But I don’t play anymore, I’m just a football guy now.

ESPN 300: Five things to know in the SEC 

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
The SEC has an impressive 89 committed prospects in the updated ESPN 300 rankings. While the SEC West has been dominant on the field, 13 of the 14 SEC schools are ranked in the top 40 of the RecruitingNation class rankings. Here’s a closer look at five things to know in the SEC from the new recruiting rankings.

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ESPN 300: Five who could flip 

October, 22, 2014
Oct 22
The Class of 2015 has seen more than 35 prospects in the ESPN 300 flip or decommit during the cycle. As many as 30 more prospects in the ESPN 300 could flip between now and national signing day. With that possibility in mind, here are five to keep tabs on less than four months away from national signing day.

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Randy Edsall knows recruiting is the lifeblood of his program, and he is really impressing local coaches with his effort. Plus, don’t be surprised if you see NC State finish with a flurry.

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ESPN’s RecruitingNation released the updated class ranking for 2015 on Wednesday. Of course, Alabama remains in the top spot, but will be challenged by Georgia and Florida State for the top spot come National Signing Day.

Looking deeper into the class rankings, five teams off to poor starts could have a difficult time holding off rival teams for top recruits, including:

South Carolina

One could argue that the Gamecocks aren’t in need of a strong close in 2015 with 28 prospects already committed and a current place in the Top 10 classes, but needs remain on defense at tackle, linebacker, and cornerback for sure. A 6-6 or 7-5 season could make it tough to close, and give momentum to others trying to flip South Carolina commitments. Closing on Florida State defensive tackle commit and South Carolina native D.J. Jones could be tough, because the Seminoles remain atop the polls, and Clemson and Alabama are also possibilities. The same can be said for ESPN300 athlete Darius Slayton, who will likely choose between Georgia and South Carolina with a preference for wide receiver at the next level.

Miami (FL)

There was increased excitement headed into the 2014 season with the NCAA cloud lifted, and a number of exciting playmakers returning on offense. Throw in the otherworldly start to the 2016 class with seven ESPNJr300 pledges, and it looked like the Hurricanes were set up for a big finish in 2015 with momentum. Now 3-3 with a 6-6 finish a real possibility, the Hurricanes are no longer in the closing position. In fact, holding onto ESPN300 running back Dexter Williams could be difficult, and the Hurricanes have already lost ESPN300 tight end Bowman Archibald to Wake Forest. The Miami (FL) staff will be working hard to keep prospects such as Williams and ESPN300 linebacker Charles Perry in the fold, while attempting to finish the 2015 class that is need of playmakers and pass-rushers on defense.

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Help is on the way: SEC 

October, 8, 2014
Oct 8
Almost midway through the season and teams such as Arkansas and Texas A&M have shown the obvious strengths of their teams with their running backs and wide receivers, respectively. But in most cases every team has an apparent weakness, too. Here’s a closer look at how each team in the SEC will address its needs through recruiting.

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The 2015 ESPN Junior College Watch List is comprised of more than 200 prospects who will be evaluated for a position inside the Juco 50. Here is a snapshot of six prospects, three skill and three non-skill, who have impressed in the early evaluations.

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Best of the visits: SEC

October, 5, 2014
Oct 5
From the Ole Miss win over Alabama to Kentucky’s big come-from-behind win over South Carolina, there were some incredible games around the SEC over the weekend. Several prospects attended the games, while others watched on television and used social media as a platform to share their experiences. Here's a look at some of the top social media posts from the weekend around the SEC:

Five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson took a visit to Ole Miss for its huge 23-17 win over Alabama. Jefferson tweeted out a few different photos of his experience in Oxford, Mississippi. Florida, Alabama and Florida State seemed to have been the favorites for Jefferson, but Ole Miss certainly helped its chances of landing the talented pass rusher.

The nation’s No. 2-ranked outside linebacker, Roquan Smith, also visited Ole Miss this weekend. The four-star athlete tweeted out a picture of himself on the sidelines at the game. Ole Miss has made a big run at the talented prospect.

ESPN 300 wide receiver Ryan Newsome took a photo of Katy Perry, who was also on the sidelines for the Rebels' big win.

Auburn hosted several key visitors for its big 41-7 win over LSU on Saturday. ESPN 300 linebacker Jeffery Holland was on hand and tweeted out a few different photos and videos of his experience, including one of himself alongside five-star defensive tackle Trenton Thompson.

Despite losing 10-9 to Florida on Saturday, Tennessee still had some big visitors on campus. ESPN 300 defensive end Ricky DeBerry tweeted out a photo of the field at Tennessee and recent defensive tackle commit Shy Tuttle tweeted out a photo of himself and a friend.

Kentucky had a thrilling come-from-behind victory over South Carolina on Saturday night, and several recruits were in attendance. Three-star defensive end Kengera Daniel tweeted a photo of himself along with Kentucky true freshman Kendall Randolph.

The No. 1-ranked running back in the ESPN 300, Damien Harris, has been to Kentucky numerous times over the last several months. He was once again in Lexington for Saturday's game. What seemed like a long shot for Kentucky is now seeming like a real possibility of landing this elite athlete.

Mississippi State safety commit Jamal Peters was impressed with how well the Bulldogs played against Texas A&M on Saturday. After the thrilling win, it was announced that ESPN’s "College Gameday" would be in Starkville next Saturday for Mississippi State’s game against SEC West opponent Auburn.


Early Offer: Why MSU going big in 2015 

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
What happens when you have a large senior class about to graduate? You target a large recruiting class like Mississippi State is in 2015. Michigan’s recruiting remains in chaos, as another Wolverine commit is having second thoughts.

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SEC's top recruiting visits 

September, 26, 2014
Sep 26
There are once again some big games around the SEC this weekend. While Arkansas vs Texas A&M might be the game of the week in the conference, it is a neutral site game and not many visitors are expected to attend. The Tennessee at Georgia game, however, is expected to draw many top recruits. Vanderbilt at Kentucky and Missouri at South Carolina should also expect to see some important visitors. There will be many recruits taking unofficial visits and even a few taking a few official visits. Here’s a closer look at some top expected visitors for the weekend.

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