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July 3, 2006
South Carolina strong at the top
The Class of 2007 is flat-out loaded at the top in the state of South Carolina.
With five-star quarterback Willy Korn and five-star cornerback Gary Gray leading the way, the Palmetto State has 10 prospects with a four star rating or higher, including an all-time high five Rivals100 selections.
Korn, from the state's top program Duncan Byrnes, is the Southeast region's top overall prospect and the top dual-threat quarterback nationally. Korn has been a part of three consecutive state championship teams (the Rebels have won four in a row overall) and rolled up more than 5,000 yards of total offense last year. He committed to the in-state Clemson Tigers prior to his junior season.
Gray, from Columbia Richland Northeast, is a lockdown corner who had scholarship offers from a laundry list of national programs before also deciding to state in-state and commit to South Carolina in March ahead of Notre Dame. Gray has outstanding closing speed, is good in run support and showed off a variety of coverage skills at the Gainesville NIKE Camp in May. He's the nation's No. 3 cornerback prospect and the No. 26 overall prospect.
Wide receiver Mark Barnes, also of Columbia Richland Northeast, is a tremendous athlete who has good hands and runs good routes, despite not being part of an intricate passing attack at the high school level. He also is a good safety prospect. He currently is considering South Carolina, Notre Dame, Southern Cal, Florida State, LSU and others. Barnes is the nation's No. 44 overall prospect and the No. 7 prospect at wide receiver.
Lineman Quintin Richardson is one of the most athletic offensive line prospects in the country. So much so, that he could probably switch to defensive line, where he worked out at the Gainesville NIKE Camp in May, in college and be just as good of a prospect. Richardson has long arms, a big frame and moves extremely well. He's also very, very versatile. Richardson is the nation's No. 47 overall prospect and is the No. 5 offensive tackle prospect. He committed to South Carolina ahead of Tennessee and Clemson in April.
Cheraw defensive end Cliff Matthews rounds out the South Carolina prospects in the Rivals100. A quick first step and superior athleticism gives the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder big-time upside. Matthews had seven sacks in 2005. He is the nation's No. 93 overall prospect and the No. 4 weakside defensive end. Matthews currently is favoring Georgia ahead of Clemson and South Carolina and is expected to make and decision in August.
There are five South Carolinians in the Rivals250. All are some of the best in the Southeast at their positions.
Wide receiver Junior Hemingway from Conway is a big, fast prospect. He is the nation's No. 14 prospect at his position and has scholarship offers from the likes of Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, Miami (Fla.), South Carolina and Clemson, among others.
Central Daniel defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins explodes off the line well and plays with a high level of intensity. His school is approximately a dozen miles from Clemson University and he pledged to the Tigers early in the process. He is the nation's No. 18 defensive tackle.
Brian Maddox picked up scholarship offers from a plethora of southern programs before ultimately picking South Carolina last month. The 6-foot, 214-pounder is a complete back who excels in the passing game. He is the nation's No. 15 overall running back prospect.
What sets linebacker Scotty Cooper apart is his speed. Cooper runs a 10.6-second 100-meter dash and has been timed below 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He has the skill set to also play safety if need be. Cooper committed to Clemson ahead of offers from South Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan and others.
Defensive lineman Carlos Dunlap is and athletic 6-foot-6, 245-pounder who may have more upside than a number of prospects ranked ahead of him. Currently, his recruitment seems to revolve around Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and Clemson.
Outside of the top 10, wide receiver Xavier Dye and linebacker Stanley Hunter, a pair of Clemson commits are followed by center Mason Cloy, tackle David Smith (another Clemson commit) and wide receiver Markish Jones.