First look at Palmetto State's top 2011 prospects

by - Senior Writer -

National Signing Day is now just a week in the rear view mirror, but it’s never too early to take a look at some of the best prospects from the state in 2011. TigerNet will be taking a look each week at some of the best in-state juniors. This week, we start with what is an early Top 5 player list.

1. Phillip Dukes, DT, Manning High School. Dukes is big (6-3, 295), but also has the dexterity to average almost 20 points per game for the Monarchs. Dukes has offers from Clemson, South Carolina, N.C. State, Duke, Maryland, Alabama, Stanford and North Carolina. Miami, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Georgia and Florida St. have also show interest in the big man. Clemson, South Carolina and Alabama are in his top three. He obviously will take several visits next season, but you have to like his chances of winding up at Clemson, and with his recruiter being Chris Rumph, the odds get even better. He will not make a decision until National Signing Day 2011.

2. Lateek Townsend, LB, Marlboro County High School. Townsend is a game-changing linebacker despite lacking bulk (he is 6-3, 208). Townsend told TigerNet that he had 189 tackles, along with 14 sacks, in his recently completed junior season. Clemson is the leader right now for Townsend, but he has also gotten offers from East Carolina, Maryland, Illinois, N.C. State, South Carolina, Texas Tech and Virginia Tech. Townsend originally wanted to commit early, but as he receives more interest, look for his decision to come later rather than sooner. He will be at Clemson’s Junior Day on February 20th.

3. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Pointe High School. By the time next season winds down, Clowney might have an offer in hand from every school in the country. South Pointe head coach Bobby Carroll, who has coached three NFL first-rounders, says that Clowney might be the best he has ever coached. Clowney is already 6-6, 245, and has the frame to add weight. He runs a 4.6 40-yard dash, and racked up 24 sacks last season despite being double and triple-teamed. At this point, it looks like South Carolina is in the lead for Clowney’s services, with Alabama a close second and Clemson in a pack with a host of other programs. Ironically, his recruiter at Alabama is former Clemson coach Burton Burns, and the two have a pretty solid relationship. His recruiter at Clemson is recruiting coordinator Jeff Scott, so don’t rule out the Tigers just yet, as Scott has a knack for spinning some high-profile recruits in the direction of Clemson. He was on campus at Clemson a few weeks ago. This one bears watching.

4. Everett Golson, QB, Myrtle Beach High School. Golson is, for the moment, out of the picture, having committed to North Carolina last week. Golson grew up a North Carolina fan, and has even been promised by UNC basketball coach Roy Williams that he can try out for the basketball team. Golson, who lead Myrtle Beach to a state championship in 2008 and then led them to a runner-up finish this past season, has also said that if another major program came calling, he would at least listen to what they have to say. For now, consider him Tar Heel blue.

5. Charone Peake, WR, Dorman High School. I have seen Peake play several times during his high school career, and have always been impressed with the play-making ability of Peake (6-3, 185). Peake certainly has the speed (4.4 second 40) and hands to be a big-time playmaker on the next level. He has offers from just all of the big-time schools, but Clemson is currently the leader, just ahead of Florida and then Georgia. Peake had 52 catches for 881 yards and nine touchdowns in 2009 as he was a part of Dorman’s state championship team. He will probably take a lot of visits, but seems to like Clemson and the Clemson coaching staff. For Clemson fans in the Upstate, if you get a chance to go and watch Peake play next season, do it.

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