- Jc Shurburtt
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COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina held its first Gamecock Showcase camp Friday. The evening camp, held at the Gamecocks' Williams-Brice Stadium, was very similar in setup to Florida's Friday Night Lights camp and featured several top prospects, including two Under Armour All-Americans.
Created by South Carolina recruiting coordinator David Reaves, it lasted about two hours, with the athletes receiving instruction from coach Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks staff.
Under Armour All-American DaMario Jeffery of Columbia (S.C.) High worked out as a defensive back at the event. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder has been called a project at outside linebacker because of his size. Although that may be where he ends up, he showed that his coverage skills are very good for a player with his build.
"My whole purpose was to show them that I could play safety," he said. "I did great in the one-on-one drills. The South Carolina coaches saw that I could cover and I did well overall."
ESPN/Scouts Inc. noted in its evaluation of Jeffery that he "gives great effort at all times," and that was apparent during all of the drills at the camp. He hustled and competed during the agility drills, during station work and also during the one-on-one portion of the camp.
Jeffery also came away from the camp with South Carolina as his leader for a potential college choice. Alabama and (to a lesser extent) Auburn and Virginia Tech are also in the mix.
Another Under Armour All-American, Stephon Gilmore of Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe, also was at the event and worked out at cornerback. Gilmore is a versatile athlete who is electric as a quarterback for his high school team, but he projects more in the secondary at the collegiate level. He showed he can turn and run and has good hips and catch-up speed during the one-on-one drills. He also showed off his athleticism and quickness during the agility portion of the event.
"It was a good event for me," Gilmore said. "There was a lot of talent out here."
His performance reinforced what ESPN/Scouts Inc. said when it declared that Gilmore could "line up almost anywhere and have a minimal learning curve."
Gilmore is being recruited by most schools as a cornerback and a kick returner. Alabama, South Carolina, Clemson and Tennessee are the four schools that are the strongest at this point. He will be a December graduate and plans to enroll early at the school of his choice.
Three more Under Armour All-Americans, Greenwood (S.C.) defensive end Sam Montgomery, Saint Stephen (S.C.) Timberland offensive guard Quinton Washington and Saint Matthews (S.C.) Calhoun County wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey, also were at the camp but did not participate.
Montgomery mentioned Miami, Southern California, LSU and Michigan as schools he likely will visit officially. Clemson and South Carolina are also in the mix for his services and pre-visits, and he appears to be leaning toward staying in-state.
South Carolina has long been considered the favorite to land Washington, and he confirmed that in a post-camp interview. He does not plan to commit anytime soon, though, and plans to take some official visits. Tennessee, Alabama and Miami all are possibilities (along with Clemson and the Gamecocks).
Jeffrey committed to Southern California last month and remains firm in his pledge. He was at the Trojans Rising Stars camp at the end of June and enjoyed his time on the USC campus and in Los Angeles. The 6-foot-4, 217-pounder is the prototypical Trojans receiver who leaps up and snatches the ball out of the air. He could end up being the top prospect in South Carolina in this class.
ESPN 150 Watch List defensive lineman Chris Bonds of Columbia (S.C.) Richland Northeast was limited due to a season-ending knee injury suffered last season, but he did work out a bit. It was clear that he has been working hard through his rehabilitation this summer; he looked very fluid in his movements.
Bonds could play inside or outside on the defensive line. He has the frame to be a "three" technique in the NFL, provided he fills out on the collegiate level. ESPN/Scouts Inc. says he most likely will take some snaps at defensive tackle in passing situations, and that's exactly how some of the coaches recruiting him see it, as well.
At this point in his recruitment, Bonds is setting up official visits. He plans to go to Notre Dame and Southern California during the season and mentioned the Sept. 13 game between the Irish and Michigan for a potential trip to South Bend. He visited Tennessee unofficially during the summer, and the Vols have made a big move with him.
"I got to see the campus and spend a lot of time with [UT defensive line coach] Dan Brooks," Bonds said. "That was the only place I really visited this summer."
Miami (Fla.), Michigan and Alabama also are potential visits for the 6-foot-4, 260-pounder.
• ESPN150 Watch List selection Chris Payne of Columbia (S.C.), a South Carolina commit, was one of the better defensive backs at the event. Known for his toughness against the run, Payne showed he can shine in coverage as well.
• Another ESPN150 Watch List selection, Justice Cunningham of Pageland (S.C.) Central, showed a nice ability to run routes, get open and catch the football. The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder also is a South Carolina commit.
• One of the sleepers of the camp was Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill quarterback Michael Box. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder displayed good arm strength, footwork and is relatively mobile. Box was uncovered by South Carolina assistant coach Shane Beamer, one of the Gamecocks' top recruiters and talent evaluators, and caught the eye of Spurrier during the drills. Box holds an offer from Connecticut and is getting attention from other schools such as Ole Miss and North Carolina State.
• ESPN150 Watch List safety D.J. Swearinger of Greenwood was in attendance. Tennessee remains the leader for him, but North Carolina and South Carolina also are in the mix.
• Georgia Tech commit and ESPN150 Watch List linebacker Chaun Gresham was at the camp. He remains committed to the Yellow Jackets.
• There were several of the top prospects from the state of South Carolina for the Class of 2010 in attendance. Beaufort linebacker Justin Parker, Greenwood defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, Gaffney quarterback Joe Craig, Calhoun County offensive lineman Eric Mack and Manning defensive back John Fulton.
• The Gamecocks picked up commitments from Kingsland (Ga.) Camden County wide receiver DeAngelo Smith, Douglas (Ga.) Coffee County wide receiver DeMario Bennett and Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe wide receiver Charles Holmes.