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Crootin’ Notebook: South Carolina in the final schools of top JUCO targets

JUCO targets Dorian Gerald and Jabari Ellis included the Gamecocks in their recent lists of top schools.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at South Carolina Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the South Carolina Gamecocks are recruiting heavily among the junior college ranks for impact players along the defensive line.

Following Dantrell Barkley’s commitment last week, defensive tackle Jabari Ellis and defensive end Dorian Gerald have become the two top remaining priority JUCO targets for Will Muschamp and Co.

Ellis, an SC native that played for Lake Marion High School in Sumter, tweeted out his final two schools on Tuesday. He is maintaining the NC State vs. South Carolina theme that has been playing out throughout the month of June.

At 6-foot-2, Ellis is a slightly undersized tackle, but he has the strength and athletic ability to come in and immediately compete for a spot on the two-deep. He will announce on July 4 with the Gamecocks being the team to beat.

After making waves on Twitter last Thursday, Gerald released his top five schools in no order on Tuesday afternoon.

Regular readers will know that Gerald is the coaching staff’s top JUCO target and one of the major priorities for the signing class of 2018. A product of West Florence High School, Gerald has become highly coveted as a skilled pass rusher at the junior college level. He touts offers from Alabama, LSU, Florida State and Louisville, among several other top-flight programs.

Despite all the national attention, it seems like this recruiting battle is largely being played out between Tennessee and South Carolina. The two schools are the only in Gerald’s top five that he has visited.

There is no firm decision date for Gerald, although he has hinted that he is ready to commit soon. Unless he chooses to take more visits, I would predict he makes a decision before the summer is up.

Quick Muschamp note

The SEC Network recently ran a promo on offensive lineman Chandler Farrell, who earned a walk-on opportunity with the Gamecocks despite being unranked out of high school. It’s an interesting piece, but the reason I’m bringing attention to it is because of a Muschamp quote that gives a lot of insight to his recruiting mantra.

“We don’t base any decisions at the University of South Carolina on a star rating,” he said. “I’ve never looked at one, I’ve never asked someone else who has offered this young man. We recruit based on our evaluations.”

The full video can be seen here.