Top South Carolina football prospects (#21 thru #25)
by David Hood
- Senior Writer
- 2010-06-02 10:41:17.0
Today we take a look at the final five in our Top 25 junior [rising senior] prospects in the state of South Carolina. The Tigers got some good news Friday evening when Top 25 player Ryan Norton, a center out of Mauldin, S.C., called head coach Dabo Swinney following the Mauldin spring game and verbally committed to the Tigers.
My list is going to be a little bit different, especially in this spot, from others simply because I see a lot of high school and I’ve seen many of these kids play – I’m not relying on what they do in camps and combines, I’m relying on what they do out on the football field. I’ve seen a lot of players that are pure physical specimens that seemingly can’t translate that into success on the football field.
21. Jerome Maybank, DT, Waccamaw: Maybank committed to the Tigers early in May, and he is a huge pickup (6-4, 310) pickup for the Tigers. The good thing about Maybank is that he can play either side of the line, but will probably wind up on the interior of the defensive line in college. He needs to work on some of his techniques, and will more than likely be the type of player that will redshirt his first season, but has great upside and is definitely a player to watch this season. He also had offers from North Carolina and South Carolina.
22. Gerald Dixon, DT, Northwestern: The 6-foot-2, 280-pound Dixon is a good interior defensive line prospect, but probably not the type of player that can make an instant impact – he will be a solid defensive lineman after a few years in a program. Dixon seems to be favoring South Carolina, where he is being recruited by defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson. As noted here before, he’s an interesting prospect if for no other reason than he has a brother, also 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 in the NFL, 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.
23. Ralph Cooper, LB, Fairfield Central: Cooper is an interesting prospect because his stock really took off after his participation in the Nike Combine in mid-March, where he made the All-Combine Team and graded out at 97 percent. Cooper has two offers – one from Georgia Tech and one from Illinois – and it’s worth noting that the Illini have made some recruiting inroads in the state of South Carolina this season because Ron Zook’s line and the man who is recruiting this area heavily, is former Clemson assistant Ron West. In addition to the two schools with offers, also showing interest are Clemson [he attended the spring game], South Carolina, Michigan State, Oregon, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Stanford. In 2009, Cooper recorded seventy-one solo tackles, five sacks, and four interceptions.
24. Justin Worley, QB, Northwestern: Here is another prospect that I disagree with some of the services on, and it will be borne out once the season starts. Worley is tall at 6-4, but still appears to be a little thin (196 pounds), but if he continues to add muscle during his senior year at Northwestern, watch out. He really turned some heads at the Tuscaloosa Elite 11 Regional recently. He threw for over 3,600 yards as a sophomore and over 4,300 yards as a junior, and has good arm strength. He currently has offers from Tennessee, LSU, Florida, Stanford, Kentucky, Florida St., Georgia, Notre Dame and North Carolina. He might have the Vols and Tar Heels just ahead of the LSU and Alabama right now. At this point, I am not sure why the in-state schools have not jumped on him, but expect that to happen shortly.
25. Robert Smith, ATH, Woodland: Smith (5-11, 192) is an all-around good athlete, and really turned some heads a the Dabo Swinney camp last summer. He committed to the Tigers back in January and the Tigers were the first to offer, but South Carolina, Georgia Tech and UCLA also showed interest. He is a dual-threat quarterback at Woodland, and he passed for 2,412 yards and 25 touchdowns with only five interceptions as a sophomore to go with 1,036 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. However, he really projects to be a safety at Clemson. He also has Clemson orange bloodlines – his second cousin is Tye Hill.