Huggins Chooses Clemson, Focus Now Turns To 2016 Class in South Carolina
By Billy G. Baker
Moncks Corner--Albert Huggins committed to Clemson over Georgia in early December to become the last HSSR Top 10 member to pledge for the 2015 class with the recruiting process now focused mainly on the upcoming 2016 and 2017 classes in the state.
The HSSR began tracking major college football scholarship numbers from within the Palmetto State in 1987 when we began sponsoring statewide banquets for high school football. Some of our past nationally known speakers have included Lou Holtz, Tommy Bowden, Phillip Fulmer, Bobby Ross, Steve Spurrier and Dabo Swinney.
In the past 20 years the state of South Carolina averages a 40 solid major college signees annually. In a down year we average around 32, or so. This past year Georgia Southern and Appalachian State moved up to major college football and both schools actively recruit in the state of South Carolina.
In fact the HSSR met with the Georgia Southern recruiter at a Dutch Fork practice during champiosnhip week for the Div. I finals and the Eagles are hoping to close out several in-state players before the national signing day in early February.
Huggins, (6-3, 281) was the second ranked prospect in the state and is expected to play defensive end. Huggins had narrowed his choices down to Clemson and Georgia for quite some time, and in the end he went with the Tigers where he has been offered a chance to play right away in a scheme he understands. Huggins had also visited Clemson on numerous occasions and he stated he was very familiar and comfortable with the Clemson staff. He plans to pursue and engineering degree.
A quick review of the HSSR 2015 Top ten shows Clemson getting pledges from five of the top ten players in the state. In addition to Huggins they have commitments from number five rated Kelly Bryant, a Shrine Bowl quarterback from Wren, Shrine Bowler Noah Green, at number 7, who plays in the OL from Boiling Springs, as well as the state's top defensive back Kaleb Chalmers a Shrine Bowler from Greenwood at the 8th spot. State champion wrestler and North-South defensive lineman Gage Cervenka (6-3, 260) from Emerald rated number ten grew up a Tiger fan and committed Clemson back in June on a visit to the school.
South Carolina landed two of the top four players in the state in top rated defensive end prospect Shameik Blackshear of Bluffton and the state's top offensive lineman in Summerville guard/tackle Zack Bailey. Bailey was a Mr. Football finalist and he played in the Shrine Bowl. Blackshear suffered a knee injury early in the 2014 season and missed the majority of the year.
Three of the top ten players by the HSSR are leaving the state. North Carolina has a pledge from Swansea linebacker Jonathan Sutton at the 9th spot and they also picked up running back Ty'son Williams of Crestwood at the 6th spot. Georgia has already signed Woodland defensive lineman Michael Barnett at the third spot.
Several highly regarded players are still on the board in the 2015 class including Fort Dorchester defensive lineman Eurndraus Bryant (6-2, 335), A.C. Flora athlete Denzel Johnson recently offered by Clemson, and Dillon wide receiver Eri'Reon Hayes.
In our last issue we peeked at the top ten rated players in the 2016 class. Here are a few additional players in the 2016 group getting serious looks right now as schools push ahead a full year in the process having concluded the majority of their work with the current class.
Next year will be a "quarterback derby" in the state. Besides top rated Avery McCall (6-1, 195) at Dillon look for Spartanburg's Austin Scott (6-1, 190) to get some looks after helping lead the Vikings to the Class AAAA Div. II title with an outstanding game and season. Then you have two tall drop back types in Collin Hill (6-4, 210) at Dorman and Steven Duncan (6-4, 215) at Ashley Ridge. Junior Collin Sneed of Hillcrest will also get some looks after helping lead Hillcrest to a huge win over Dutch Fork in the Div. I AAAA title game in December. Also look for Myrtle Beach signal caller Drayton Arnold (6-0, 190, 4.5) to attract recruiting attention as well.
In the 2016 running back group will be led by nationally rated Tavien Feaster (6-0, 180, 4.3) of Spartanburg who has well over 25 offers at this point. Terrance Wilson (5-8, 170) of Batesburg-Leesville is a real gamer along with running back/slot receiver Alex James (5-11, 180) of Florence Christian. Brandon Sinclair of Myrtle beach is a solid running back prospect also. The status of Shakur Chisolm (6-1, 185,4.5) who played at Barnwell this season is up in the air with head coach Eddie Moore telling the HSSR recently that Chisolm has been suspended from the team and could possibly transfer out of the program. Chisolm had been holding an offer form Auburn.
It will be another strong year for defensive lineman led by Javon Kinlaw (6-7, 290) of Goose Creek, Nyles Pinckney (6-3, 275) of Whale Branch, and Norman Hand (6-4, 235) of Colleton County. All three of these players have major college offers. Malcolm Garrett (6-3, 284) of Cross is another defensive lineman who has impressed scouts as well.
The 2016 receiving corp is led by national prospect and double digit offered Bryan Edwards (6-3, 215) of Conway along with sure-handed Larry Collins of Lower Richland (6-3, 200) and Samuel Denmark of Hanahan. David Vereen (5-9, 165) of South Florence and Christian Bruce (6-3, 185) of Wilson are highly regarded receivers as well. Midland Valley athlete Daniel Carr (5-11, 170) is getting looks as a slot receiver also.
Several of the more offered and observed 2016 defensive back candidates include James Valdez (6-1, 196) of Lake Marion, Thomas Jones of Laurens (6-3, 180), and Riquan Cotton (6-1, 176) of Hartsville.
A few of the linebackers attracting interest right now include Datavious Wilson (6-2, 230) of Hartsville, Will Ward (6-2, 195) of Allendale-Fairfax and Donte Evans (6-3, 245) of Lake Marion. Some colleges might also look at Hand as a linebacker if he keeps his weight down.
Two of the top offensive linemen with multiple offers are John Simpson (6-5, 290) of Fort Dorchester and Drew Wilson (6-4, 280) of Bamberg-Ehrhardt who works well in a zone red offense. Marcus McKeithan (6-5, 280) is also drawing looks at Barnwell from major colleges. Kevin McCray (6-5, 350) could also draw major college looks if he can get his weight down a little. Chandler Farrell (6-3, 270) is starting to attract looks as a center from Summerville.
High school coaches are urged to e-mail the HSSR with nominations for the upcoming 2016 and 2017 HSSR Top 100 list. Send your e-mails and information to firstname.lastname@example.org. In an effort to help all football players get a fair evaluation the HSSR mails a monthly publication to all 127 major college football teams in the nation along with another 50 or so smaller colleges in the region.
Should you have any questions feel free to call HSSR publisher Billy G. Baker direct at 843-200-9555.