College Coaches Busy Evaluating 2015 Football Prospects In South Carolina
By Billy G. Baker
Goose Creek—With the recruiting process moved up a full year, most college recruiters are visiting schools across the state inviting top 2015 and 2016 prospects to visit their school for junior day or either gaining interest in top players attending their spring games.
In less than two weeks national signing day for the Class of 2014 would have come and gone and it was an outstanding year for talent in South Carolina with the majority of the top ten rated players in the Palmetto state rated as four stars or better. It was a great year. The HSSR feels 2015 will be a solid year top to bottom but we doubt that our top ten player’s over-all will average at the four stars level as they did with the 2014 group.
Four of the more visited players from the 2015 class right now are South Carolina commitment Shameik Blackshear, a 6-5, 238 pound defensive end from Bluffton, Orangeburg-Wilkinson defensive end Albert Huggins, 6-3, 270, Summerville offensive lineman Zach Bailey (6-5, 305), and Woodland two way lineman Michael Barnett who has committed to Virginia Tech.
The HSSR caught up with Bailey checking his mail in head coach John McKisisck’s office in mid-January. “I am really hoping to hear from LSU but they have not written me at all,” said Bailey as he looked at numerous letters addressed to him. “I just got back from visiting family in Washington State over the holidays so I have some interest in Oregon. Bailey has been offered by Clemson, South Carolina, and Florida and counts around eight offers right now. He visited Clemson a lot this past year, often taking in games with Green Wave and Clemson baseball commitment Sawyer Bridges.
Bailey is a natural guard but he can play about anywhere on the offensive line. He has solid 5.1 speed and bench presses 330 pounds and has good feet. He hopes to study some type of engineering.
Bamberg Ehrhardt defensive end LaSamuel Davis (6-4, 215) tells the HSSR he is currently holding firm offers from Clemson, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.
“I am a strong side defensive end and I have 4.7 speed,” said Davis. “My top three schools right now that I like are Clemson, North Carolina and N.C. State. I am also hearing form South Carolina but they have not offered yet.”
Davis has a 260 bench with a 315 squat. This past season he had 110 total tackles; over 30 of them were TFL’s including five sacks.
Freddie Phillips of Pelion has been offered as a free safety by North Carolina an as an athlete by N.C. State. He was recently visited by Clemson defensive coordinator Brad Veneables but no offer was extended.
This past season Phillips played wide receiver, running back and played on defense for the first time in his career. “I really took a liking to playing defense,” said the well spoken Phillips who carries a 3.5 GPA in the class room.
“I am planning to enroll in January wherever I commit,” said Phillips. “My versatility and open mind about playing on either side of the ball gives me a lot of value with colleges. I just enjoy playing the game. I do love catching the football and scoring touchdowns.”
In coming weeks Phillips will take in junior days at N.C. State and Georgia Tech. Duke has also stopped by and maybe close to making an offer.
Phillips had 60 tackles and two picks as a safety this past season. He scored five touchdowns on offense. He runs a solid 4.56 and bench presses 270 pounds with a 32 inch vertical leap.
No college in America will question the toughness of Emerald defensive lineman Gage Cervenka (6-3, 270) as he is 125-1 in his five year wrestling career and he has not lost a match in three years.
Cervenka has offers from Duke and Wake Forest and has expressed some disappointment that neither Clemson or South Carolina has offered but both schools are keeping in touch. Cervenka bench presses 270 pounds and runs a solid 4.9 forty.
“It’s great to have an offer from Duke right now so I feel great about that right now,” said Cervenka. “A lot of colleges offer interior defensive lineman a little later because your development differs so much from year to year when you are in high school. I am about to attend several combines and I expect me stock to increase greatly. I will attend the Nike Combine in Atlanta and the rivals combine in Charlotte.”
Cervenka said his top our schools of interest right now are Duke, Tennessee, Wake Forest and Georgia because of their new defensive staff.
West Florence quarterback Marquane Goodman (6-2, 196) is not holding any major college offers right now but he has been offered by Appalachian State.
“My top four schools right now are Clemson, South Carolina, N.C. State and Appalachian State,” said Goodman. “I have also been hearing form Tennessee, Oregon, and North Carolina.”
Goodman runs a 4.5 forty with a 250 bench. “Most people feel that I am an athlete playing quarterback but I have improved in my skills the past year,” said Goodman. “I will play where I am needed but I am getting more comfortable with the position.”
Some other notable rising senior prospects from the 2015 class getting national interest include Wren quarterback Kelly Bryant who is holding offers from both Clemson and South Carolina as is Greenwood defensive back Kaleb Chalmers.