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Crootin’ Notebook: Gamecocks lead for 4-star WR Josh Vann

South Carolina still leads for Josh Vann, updates on two Auburn transfers and notes on the latest crop of players to arrive in Columbia.

NCAA Football: Western Carolina at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Morrell of TheBigSpur reported Friday morning that the South Carolina Gamecocks are still the top choice for class of 2018 four-star wide receiver Josh Vann out of Tucker, Georgia.

“I can still say that because of the people and coaches. It feels like a second home,” he told Morrell.

Although Vann named USC as an early leader months ago, Georgia has since made him a priority in-state target. South Carolina retaining their top position despite a full-court press from the Bulldogs is a testament to receivers coach Bryan McClendon. Vann has stated on multiple occasions that his strong relationship with McClendon is a big reason why he favors the Gamecocks.

At 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, Vann’s speed and agility allow him to excel in the middle of the field. USC is in need of a dominant slot receiver to complement their downfield threats, and Vann appears to be the most likely candidate.

Updates on Antwuan Jackson and Marlon Character

Last week I mentioned that South Carolina would likely be interested in Auburn transfers Antwuan Jackson and Marlon Character. Jackson is the stepbrother of Gamecock linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams and Character was a USC commit at one point in his recruitment.

While as much seems to be true, there have been a few developments with both of the redshirt freshmen.

Character was granted a full release by Auburn and will be eligible to transfer to any school he chooses. South Carolina has a strong interest in him and per Wes Mitchell of GamecockCentral.com, the feeling is mutual, making the Gamecocks an early favorite to land Character’s services. Character would have to sit out the 2017 season but would then have three years of eligibility remaining.

Jackson, on the other hand, was granted a conditional release which blocks his transfer to other SEC schools, Clemson, Ohio State, Mercer or Georgia Southern. He has appealed the decision, but in the meantime is not allowed to contact any of the restricted schools. Until a final decision is made by Auburn, it will be hard to tell what direction Jackson is leaning.

Signees on campus

Preparing for the first session of summer classes, around 13 incoming players moved into their dorms on Wednesday. Touted prospects Shi Smith, Will Register and Jamyest Williams were among the latest group of newcomers to arrive in Columbia.

Between early enrollees and this first summer crop, 17 out of 25 of USC’s 2017 signees are now on campus.

Keisan Nixon is the only signee who was academically ruled out to enroll in the first summer session. He has to complete one more class, but plans to be in Columbia for the second session, which begins on June 26.