Palmetto State's top 2011 prospects (Part 3)

by - Senior Writer -

This is the third installment in taking a look at some of the top juniors, Class of 2011, football prospects in the state of South Carolina, and we start close to home [at least for me] with a player from my alma mater, Mauldin High School.

RYAN NORTON, Center, Mauldin – The Tigers were the first to offer Norton, and the Tigers are still the leader, holding an edge over South Carolina and Georgia Tech. Norton has indicated in the past that he would like to make an early decision – sometime in between the end of his spring practice and the start of school – but said on Sunday he is still not sure of the timeframe.

“I am just not sure yet,” Norton said. “I am still planning on taking some more visits.”

Norton was at Clemson’s spring game in April, and said he still came away impressed despite the lack of offense.

“I like Clemson for a lot of reasons, but it’s really because of my relationship with the coaches, and the way I feel about the campus and things like that,” Norton said. “As for the spring game, you can’t really hold it against the offense. Coach [Brad] Scott told me they had split the offensive linemen up, so it’s not like the first team was together. I kind of expected a dominating defensive effort.”

Norton said he has offers from Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Vanderbilt, Maryland, Illinois and East Carolina, and he expects to hear from several more coaches before the spring evaluation period ends May 31st.

Norton benches 325 pounds, squats 390, power cleans 260 and currently has a 3.6 GPA on a 5.0 scale.

GERALD DIXON, DE, South Pointe - Dixon is one of several solid defensive line prospects in the state, and he seems to be favoring South Carolina, where he is being recruited by defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson.

Dixon is an interesting prospect if for no other reason than he has a brother named Gerald Dixon, Jr., a highly-touted defensive tackle prospect who plays for Northwestern in the Rock Hill area. And their father, also Gerald Dixon, is a coach at Rock Hill High School. Dad played at South Carolina, and it would be a shocker to see either one of the sons go anywhere other than South Carolina. Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State are also recruiting Dixon, but it will more than likely be the Gamecocks.

DESMOND FLOYD, DE, Union - Floyd (6-5 230) is not close on a decision and doesn’t have a favorite at this point, but Clemson is not really in the running at this point. He is being recruited by South Carolina, N.C. State and Duke, and has been visited by coaches from each of those schools. Kentucky, Maryland and West Virginia have also offered. Floyd has quick feet and looks to be an edge rushing specialist, and it looks like his ratings will only go up as the summer and fall progress. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds and had 40 tackles, including 17.5 sacks, to go along with a couple of forced fumbles and a blocked punt.

PAT MARTIN, S, J.L. Mann – Martin (6-0, 185, 4.5) earned all-state honors last season after piling up 121 tackles, 12 pass breakups, four forced fumbles, and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown.

Martin currently has offers from Duke, Maryland, Minnesota, Arkansas, UCLA, Louisville, Cincinnati, Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi State and Oklahoma. Martin said he doesn’t have a favorite at this point, but did say that the early leaders are LSU, Tennessee, Louisville, Cincinnati and Arkansas. His only visits this spring were to USC and Clemson, and he will visit Alabama next weekend.

Martin hasn’t been offered by the Tigers as of yet, and the word is that the coaching staff would like to evaluate him more during camp this summer, but Martin did enjoy his earlier visit to Tigertown, and he said he understands that the Tigers already have a good number of defensive back prospects on scholarship.

“Coach Powell told me that with scholarships, they have to look at a lot of film,” Martin said. “Coach Cheese [Charlie Harbison] is going to evaluate it, and they are going to let their defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach see it. But he did tell me that they were looking at me like a DeAndre McDaniel type on defense.”

Martin said he likes the Clemson facilities, and its proximity to his Greenville home.

“They took me around the facilities and showed me everything,” he said. “I know Clemson is a program on the rise, and I would love to go there and be close to home. All of my coaches and friends could come and see me play.”

SHAQ ANTHONY, OL, Wren High School – Anthony committed to the Tigers back in December, adding to what is already a solid class of junior prospects for the Tigers, and he plans to enroll in Clemson in January.

Anthony is a 6-foot-5, 270-pounder who was an All-Region 1-AAAA selection last year for the Hurricanes, and he graded out at 91 percent, from his left tackle spot.

Anthony chose Clemson over South Carolina, Georgia, East Carolina and Duke, and is the son of former Clemson lineman Vernie Anthony, who lettered in 1981 and ’82.

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