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Crootin’ Notebook: South Carolina makes the short list of several top recruits

The latest South Carolina football recruiting news, including updates on where the Gamecocks stand with some high-profile prospects from the Class of 2018.

NCAA Football: Birmingham Bowl-South Florida vs South Carolina Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks were fortunate enough to be included in several short lists released by recruits over the holiday weekend. Will Muschamp continues to show that despite a losing 2016 record, the Gamecocks will recruit at a high level.

Matthew Hill, a four-star wide receiver out of Snellville, Georgia announced his top five last Thursday.

247Sports reported late last week that Hill’s decision could be coming soon. Auburn is considered to be his leader at the moment, although his most recent visit was to Columbia and he plans to return for camp. USC should be a strong contender to land Hill’s services.

Three-star running back Lavonte Valentine released his top seven on Sunday and it was no surprise that the Gamecocks made his revamped list.

Noticeably absent from Valentine’s list is Oregon, who was previously thought to be at the head of the pack with Florida and South Carolina.

I mentioned previously that Valentine is the Gamecocks’ top remaining target at running back. The all-purpose back out of Melbourne, FL is one of the nation’s fastest recruits at any position and is a home-run threat nearly every time he touches the ball. He also plans to run track in college and is being recruited by USC as a sprinter as well.

Valentine plans to return to Columbia and visit other schools in the fall before making a decision.

Kwantel Raines, a four-star safety out of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, published his top ten schools to Twitter Monday evening.

Raines is the latest blue-chip prospect to come out of single-A Aliquippa Senior High School. He is ranked as the No. 13 safety in the class of 2018 per 247Sports Composite and has over twenty offers to his name.

Raines has not been largely connected with USC, so it will be interesting to see how long the Gamecocks can stay in the mix.