Clemson-South Carolina clashes heating up the recruiting trail for 2014

After few head-to-head battles last cycle, Tigers and Gamecocks set their sights on big, talented group of rising seniors

Bamberg-Ehrhardt's Kevin Crosby (Photo courtesy of Roy Philpott,

Bamberg-Ehrhardt's Kevin Crosby (Photo courtesy of Roy Philpott,

Direct Clemson-South Carolina clashes were few and far between on the in-state recruiting front during the 2013 cycle, partially due to slimmer-than-usual numbers of elite prospects.

That promises to change with the 2014 class, with numerous Tigers-or-Gamecocks decisions likely among the state's top players.

And both Clemson and South Carolina will, as always, have to fight off raids from beyond the borders from schools like Georgia, Florida, Ohio State and North Carolina.

Florida picked up a major commitment over the weekend when Columbia, S.C. linebacker Christian Miller picked the Gators over Clemson and South Carolina, where his dad was a star player.

Players shaping up as likely Clemson-Carolina battles include Gaffney wide receiver Shaq Davidson, Saluda defensive tackle Dexter Wideman, Bamberg tight end/linebacker Kevin Crosby, Latta offensive lineman Donnell Stanley, and Goose Creek tight end Kalan Ritchie.

Other players with offers from both Clemson and South Carolina include wide receiver Blake Bone from Woodruff, defensive tackle Naquez Pringle from Hemingway, and defensive back Darin Smalls from Summerville.

Clemson has offered 'athlete' C.J. Fuller from Easley, while the Gamecocks have offers out to defensive lineman Poona Ford of Hilton Head and running back Caleb Kinlaw of Goose Creek.

Last cycle, Clemson and South Carolina combined to sign just eight in-state players, and just two of those came down to a real either/or battle between the state rivals - wide receiver Mike Williams of Lake Marion, who picked Clemson, and linebacker Gerald Turner of Goose Creek, who chose the Gamecocks.

Clemson also signed linebackers Ben Boulware of Anderson and D.J. Greenlee of Central, and defensive backs Jadar Johnson of Orangeburg and Marcus Edmond of Hopkins. In addition to Turner, South Carolina signed Dillon offensive line teammates D.J. Park and Bryce King.

Clemson has a pair of in-state commitments for 2014 in tight end Cannon Smith of Columbia and running back Jae'lon Oglesby from Central, while the Gamecocks have a commitment from Joe Blue from Dillon.

Deshaun Watson Back In Clemson: The Tigers' 2014 quarterback commitment, Deshaun Watson of Gainesville, Ga., was back on campus Sunday for the Miami-Clemson basketball game. He visited with offensive coordinator and lead recruiter Chad Morris. Watson plans to be back on campus for another 'Junior Day' next month.

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