Top South Carolina football prospects (#11 thru #20)

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – Today we get back on the recruiting rankings list for the state of South Carolina, picking up where we left off and looking at the 2011 recruits, numbers 11 through 20.

As we mentioned before, the beautiful thing about these rankings is that they will change once some of the summer camps are over, and they will change yet again once the high school season starts.

Also, the Tigers are in great shape with many of these players as well.

11. Tony McNeal, QB, Chester: McNeal has already committed to Clemson, and it looks like the Tigers have a good one. He suffered a knee injury last season, but his stats for the eight games he played were impressive – he hit on 128-of-206 passes, a 62.4-percent clip, for 1,732 yards with 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions. As a sophomore, he connected on 244-of-426 passes for 3,533 yards and 37 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He also rushed for 84 yards and a pair of scores leading his team to the state title game. He had surgery on his knee back in January, and he said he will be ready to go for all of the summer passing camps. McNeal attracted interest from Clemson, Miami, Wisconsin, NC State, Maryland, Kentucky and Mississippi State, but Clemson offered before his surgery, and he committed because of the faith the Clemson coaches showed.

12. Jerell Adams, TE/DE, Scotts Branch: Adams (6-5, 220) has drawn offers from Clemson, South Carolina, Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame and Wake Forest. Most likely, he will be a tight end in college, but because of his size, could very well wind up at defensive end. Adams is so athletic that he actually has played quarterback and defensive back during his high school career. He says that his top four are South Carolina, Clemson, Illinois and Alabama, with the Gamecocks still out front. Look for this one to come down to signing day, especially considering the national attention he is drawing.

13. DeShaun Williams, DT, Daniel: Williams (6-1, 302) is another local product who decided to stay home and play for the Tigers, and was actually the first player to commit in the 2011 recruiting class. He is also the son of former Clemson running back Ronald Williams. Williams definitely has the size, but he also has quick feet, and his stock could be on the ones that we see rise during the upcoming season. As a junior, Williams recorded 98 tackles, seven tackles for loss and five sacks. As a sophomore he collected 82 tackles, seven tackles for loss, nine sacks and one interception.

14. Roderick Byers, DE, Northwestern: Byers (6-3, 262) is one of the state players that have already seen his stock rise since the end of last season. He turned in one of the more impressive performances at the VTO Elite Combine in Charlotte during Easter weekend, and projects to be a tackle on the collegiate level. South Carolina looks to be in the lead right now for Byers, but he also has offers from Texas Tech and Wake Forest. That number will grow as the summer and fall progress.

15. Ryan Norton, OL, Mauldin: Norton (6-4, 275) took in Clemson’s spring game, and has the Tigers as the team to beat right now. However, Georgia Tech and South Carolina are also making a push, and Vanderbilt is a school that he likes and could make a late push. He plays center for the Mavericks and will be an interior lineman on the collegiate level. The Tigers were the first to offer Norton, and that made a big impression on him. “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 told TigerNet recently. He plans on taking more visits, but Clemson looks to be in the driver’s seat.

16. Dominique Cooper, RB/ATH, Darlington: Cooper (6-1, 200) has offers from South Carolina and S.C. State, but has also drawn interest from Clemson, Alabama, North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, and Illinois among others. He spent last summer in camp at Clemson, and will spend this summer in camp South Carolina, and currently list the Gamecocks as his favorites. He could play running back on the collegiate level, but has enough versatility that he could see time at different positions.

17. Dexter Staley, LB, Williston-Elko: Staley has size (6-2, 225) and speed (4.5 40) and could be another that could climb the charts quickly this season. The only rap on Staley has been academically, and he could be a player that could benefit from some time at a prep school or junior college. As of now, he has offers from Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia Tech and Clemson, and lists Georgia and Florida as his favorites. He will be one defensive player that is definitely worth keeping an eye as the year progresses. He is being recruited by Clemson’s Chris Rumph.

18. Brandon Wilds, RB, Blythewood: Wilds (6-1, 225) is a big running back who hails from the same school as Clemson’s Marquan Jones. He rushed for more than 1,500 yards during his junior season, and should put up similar if not better numbers in 2010. Maryland, East Carolina, South Carolina and Illinois have already offered, with schools like Georgia Tech, Oregon, Cal and Florida likely to offer soon. As of yet, the Tigers haven’t offered, and they need to hurry if there is any interest – he has said he would like to enroll in the college of his choice in January.

19. Sam Merriman, LB, Cheraw: Merriman (6-1, 190) is another in the line of good linebacking prospects in the state this season, and like the others, he could skyrocket up this list as the season progresses. He already has an offer from the Tigers, and is good friends with another linebacker from the Pee Dee region in Lateek Townsend. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the two friends commit to the same school. South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Miami, FSU, UCLA and Maryland have all shown interest, and more schools will join the fray once the season begins.

20. Desmond Floyd, DE, Union County: - 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. 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. Floyd is another player that has the ability to move up in the rankings.

South Carolina Top Prospects (#1 thru #10)

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