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Crootin’ Notebook: South Carolina leads for top 2018 DB

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Jaycee Horn names the Gamecocks as his new leader, two former targets announce Auburn transfer and USC misses out on Teague’s final three.

NCAA Football: Missouri at South Carolina Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Four-star defensive back Jaycee Horn out of Alpharetta, GA announced on Wednesday that the South Carolina Gamecocks have taken the top spot on his recruiting list.

“I just have a really good relationship with them right now,” he told The State. “I feel like I have a chance to come in there and if I work hard I could start.”

Horn, the son of former NFL receiver Joe Horn, cited Alabama as his favorite as recently as April. The movement is huge for the Gamecocks, who have been in the process of rebuilding their secondary since Will Muschamp’s arrival.

Tennessee is also in the mix to land Horn, who is eyeing a summer decision.

Two redshirt freshmen to transfer from Auburn

Gus Malzahn announced Thursday that defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson and defensive back Marlon Character will be attending new schools for the 2017 season.

Both players will have four years of eligibility and were heavily recruited by South Carolina before enrolling at Auburn. Character was verbally committed to USC prior to the 2015 season, but uncommitted after Steve Spurrier’s departure. AL.com reported that he was encouraged to transfer after getting in a verbal dispute with another player.

Muschamp and Co. will likely have more interest in Jackson, who is the stepbrother of current linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams. Coming out of high school he was ranked as the No. 7 defensive tackle in the nation per 247Sports Composite.

Jackson’s departure, entirely unrelated to Character’s, is a personal decision in order to get a fresh start elsewhere. If he is granted his release to transfer to another school in the Southeastern Conference, expect USC to be a strong contender.

USC absent from Teague’s top-three

Murfreesboro, TN prospect Master Teague had been one of South Carolina’s priority targets at running back for the 2018 recruiting cycle, but the Gamecocks did not do enough to earn a spot in his final three.

Via his parent’s Twitter, Teague announced on Wednesday that his college decision will be between Georgia, Tennessee and Auburn.

Although USC was thought to be a heavy favorite early on in the process to land Teague, his announcement does not entirely come as a surprise. He has not visited Columbia in over 10 months and was reportedly deterred by Deshaun Fenwick’s commitment earlier this month.

Expect for Muschamp to concentrate recruiting efforts on Florida speedster Lavonte Valentine, who is now the most likely candidate to become the Gamecocks’ second running back in the 2018 class.

A state champion sprinter, Valentine is also being recruited by South Carolina’s track team. Florida and Oregon are also heavily recruiting the three-star all-purpose back.

Three-star linebacker delays decision

The Gamecocks have been considered the favorite to land Deerfield Beach, FL inside linebacker Rosendo Louis for a while now. He was scheduled to make a decision sometime this week, but announced Tuesday evening that he would be extending his recruiting process.

Despite the announcement, USC is still likely the school to beat. Coaches are reportedly high on Louis’ versatility and have treated him as a recruiting priority.

Along with South Carolina, Louis listed Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Miami, Arkansas, Oregon and LSU as his top seven.