David Johnson sticking with commitment to Gamecocks after last minute push from Commodores

USA TODAY Sports

The Lithona, GA defensive end prospect reaffirmed his pledge to sign with South Carolina following his official visit to Vanderbilt.

Even though David Johnson favored South Carolina since the beginning of the recruiting process, many Gamecock recruiting nerds were nonetheless seized with anxiety that his flirtation with James Franklin and the Vanderbilt Commodores would result in losing a third 2013 commitment to an intradivision rival. Despite remaining committed to the Gamecocks throughout, Johnson continued to use language such as "I'll have a final decision soon" - not exactly words of encouragement. Add on top of that the fact that the defensive line coach who was on staff at the time that he committed, Brad Lawing, is no longer with the program plus James Franklin's uncanny salesmanship, and there appeared to be legitimate cause for concern.

But Johnson alleviated those fears by reaffirming his commitment to South Carolina on Wednesday, telling several media sources that he was sticking with the Gamecocks and that his decision is final.

According to the 247Sports Composite recruiting index, Johnson is a three star prospect, ranked the 16th weakside defensive end in the 2013 class and the 439th best prospect overall.

The Gamecocks will bring in a solid but unspectacular group of defensive ends, with Devin Washington, Devante Covington, and JUCO/prep placement Kendal Vickers rounding out the class. With the depth returning at the defensive end position, each of them will most likely redshirt in 2013.

By staying in the fold, the Gamecocks hold steady at 20 commitments in this class with room to take three more.

Let's update you on those...

Remaining Targets

Skai Moore, 3 stars, 385th overall, 28th outside linebacker

Moore was previously scheduled to officially visit either Arkansas or Tennessee the weekend of February 1st, but those plans have now been cancelled. Moore will make his decision between South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Rutgers, with most experts thinking his decision will come down to the Gamecocks and Commodores. The elimination of the Razorbacks and Volunteers certainly helps South Carolina's chances, but this one looks like it will come down to the wire.

Decision timetable: National Signing Day (February 6th)
Completely unscientific approximation of the probability that Moore will sign with South Carolina: 50% (+10%)

Jonathan Walton, 3 stars, 930th overall, 52nd inside linebacker

Reports about what Jonathan Walton is looking for in a college football program are as conflicting as all hell. Some say that Walton likes that Auburn wants to use him as an H-back. Others say that Walton would prefer to play linebacker, the position at which South Carolina has offered him. Coming out of his 1/25 official visit to Auburn, the Tigers appeared to have positioned themselves as the frontrunner, but recruiting analysts now have him anywhere from 50/50 between the two schools to slightly favoring the Gamecocks.

I'd still give the slight edge to Auburn because of proximity to home.

Decision timetable: He has reportedly already reached a decision, which he could divulge any time between now and Signing Day.
Completely unscientific approximation of the probability that Walton will sign with South Carolina: 45% (+20%)

Holding Steady

Keith Bryant, 4 stars, 183rd overall, 21st defensive tackle

Decision timetable: National Signing Day
Completely unscientific approximation of the probability that Bryant will sign with South Carolina: 45% (-5%)

Yannick Ngakoue, 4 stars, 315th overall, 18th inside linebacker

Decision timetable: National Signing Day
Completely unscientific approximation of the probability that Ngakoue will sign with South Carolina: 45% (-5%)

Fortunes Fading

Tyrell Lyons, 3 stars, 467th overall, 39th outside linebacker

Decision timetable: National Signing Day
Completely unscientific approximation of the probability that Lyons will sign with South Carolina: 30% (-10%)

James Hearns, 3 stars, 311th overall, 17th inside linebacker

Decision timetable: unknown
Completely unscientific approximation of the probability that Hearns will sign with South Carolina: 10% (-10%)

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