For the last decade, Clemson and South Carolina recruiting fans have expressed interest in locking down one of the state’s best high school football programs.
Just off I-85 on the Spartanburg side of the county border with Greenville sits Byrnes High School. It’s churned out some of the of the top football talents, sending more than 20 players on to Power 5 schools since 1999.
Because of the regular flow of talent from the Duncan high school, Gamecocks and Tigers alike have asked the same question:
How can we start a pipeline to Byrnes?
Clemson planted a stake in the ground 10 years ago when quarterback Willy Korn, linebacker Stanley Hunter, wide receiver Xavier Dye and fullback Chad Diehl all signed with the Tigers.
Momentum shifted towards Columbia in 2010 when South Carolina landed running back Marcus Lattimore and wide receiver Nick Jones.
South Carolina appears to have the latest right-of-way. It certainly helps that former Byrnes coach Bobby Bentley is on staff as running backs coach. Plus, Jake, his second-youngest son, just wrapped up a strong freshman season as the Gamecocks quarterback.
But they’re not the only former Rebels on the roster.
Wide receiver Chavis Dawkins, who caught eight passes as a freshman, was a late commitment to South Carolina’s 2016 signing class. The most recent addition comes in the form of Big South Freshman of the Year Jaylan Foster, a Gardner-Webb transfer.
The current Byrnes roster features a couple of Power 5 prospects.
Three-star wide receiver Demarcus Gregory continues to receive strong interest from South Carolina. The 2018 prospect has an offer sheet that also includes Louisville, Maryland, N.C. State, Ole Miss and Wake Forest. Clemson remains in contact, but has not moved in with an offer.
South Carolina offered over the summer during an on-campus 7-on-7 tournament, and he visited the school several times in 2016. As a junior, he caught 61 passes for 652 yards and seven touchdowns.
Another prospect worth making note of is 2020 running back Rahjai Harris, who rushed 111 times for 721 yards and eight touchdowns as a freshman. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound prospect is already drawing interest from both South Carolina and Clemson.