South Carolina's effort to fill its needs at linebacker during the 2013 recruiting class is something that we've tracked extensively and have spent many a sleepless night agonizing over during the past several weeks. On Tuesday, Quinton Powell eliminated the Gamecocks from consideration. Today, GoUpstate.com learned that there is a new name in the mix: former Florida commitment and fours star inside linebacker James Hearns.
Hearns had been wavering on his commitment to the Gators of late, a circumstance that was thought to be a factor in Powell's renewed interest in Florida. Hearns revealed on Thursday that his scholarship offer had been pulled because of his academics - something that Hearns was aware was a possibility and was one of the reasons he was looking around at other programs.
"So if he can't get into Florida, why should we think he can get into South Carolina?" you might very reasonably be asking.
While I don't have the first clue about the specifics regarding Hearns' academic situation, I do know that Florida has run into problems in the past where their admissions standards have been stricter than those required by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Is that the case in this particular situation? Will he have the grades/scores needed to enroll at USC if he signs an letter of intent with the Gamecocks? I have no idea, but the Tallahassee standout has enough talent to make it worth taking a chance on him.
Hearns is the 7th best inside linebacker prospect (where the Gamecocks are really hurting right now) in the 2013 class and the 200th best player overall according to 247Sports. He is visiting Kentucky this weekend and is expected to decide between South Carolina, Louisville, and Houston.
Ngakoue Names A Top Three
Coming off of last weekend's official visit, Washington, D.C. linebacker Yannick Ngakoue had been a bit more tight-lipped than others about where his recruitment currently stands. Maryland and South Carolina were thought to be the two teams out front with Florida State and Miami somewhere behind and a possible official visit to the Hurricanes coming this weekend or next.
On Thursday night , the four star ILB announced a top three via Twitter:
Top 3 noles, gamecocks, umd— Yannick ngakoue (@yan_d1prospect) January 25, 2013
No order all the same— Yannick ngakoue (@yan_d1prospect) January 25, 2013
Love all 3— Yannick ngakoue (@yan_d1prospect) January 25, 2013
Keep 'Em Committed
Three star LB/DE commit David Johnson is visiting Vanderbilt this weekend. We're told that there's no cause for panicking about a potential flip to the Commodores and that Johnson is still solid to the Gamecocks, but crazier things - things like having a third generation Gamecock legacy flipped to an intra-division rival just weeks before he was going to enroll at USC - have happend.
The Home Stretch
Spots Remaning in the Class: 3
Skai Moore (visiting Arkansas on 1/25)
Jonathan Walton (visiting Auburn on 1/25)
James Hearns (visiting Kentucky on 1/25)
Tyrell Lyons (FSU commit, visiting South Carolina on 1/25)
Defensive Tackle Targets:
Deadrin Senat (visiting NC State on 1/25)
Keith Bryant* (visiting South Carolina on 1/25)
*I've recently referred to Bryant as a Miami commitment. I was wrong. He decommitted on December 5th.