When Damian Prince first arrived at the University of South Carolina campus this past weekend for his third official visit, he was greeted by a familiar face. There waiting for him was former McDonough All-Met offensive lineman and current USC freshman Na’Ty Rodgers, who served as Prince’s host for the weekend in Columbia.
“The visit went good and was basically what I expected, as far as the campus and facilities and team,” the McNamara offensive lineman said in a Monday phone interview. “I definitely had a good time and didn’t take anything negative from it.”
After chatting with Gamecocks assistants G.A. Mangus and Shawn Elliott (offensive line coach), Prince joined the other recruits and hosts for dinner out on the town Friday night.
The next day, Prince got acquainted with the academic side, touring the campus and buildings while talking with advisers about the requirements and campus life. Afterward, the recruits headed to the men’s basketball game against Ole Miss, where at halftime, the football team was recognized for its victory in last month’s Capital One Bowl.
On Sunday, Prince had a chance to talk more with Coach Eliott about football, schemes and how they might use Prince should he choose the Gamecocks. With both offensive tackle starters returning, the window for Prince to make an immediate impact as a freshman would be slim but that didn’t necessarily deter the two-time All-Met standout.
Prince was also intrigued by Coach Steve Spurrier’s energy and enthusiasm during their talk on the final day of his visit.
“With him having so much longevity in the game, I thought he’d be laid back and nonchalant,” Prince said. “But he was a really high-energy guy and you could tell he wasn’t just talking. He’s a really good recruiter and I liked what he had to say.”
With about three weeks left before Prince’s expected announcement on Feb. 5, he said he’s beginning to weigh the pros and cons of each school more while taking heed to his gut feelings throughout the process. But with several schools not previously on his list of finalists making a late push to land him, Prince has had to ponder his options even further.
Penn State and new head coach James Franklin, who convinced Briar Woods QB Trace McSorley to switch his commitment from Vanderbilt on Monday, along with Auburn and LSU have all re-entered the picture and are expected to visit Prince at some point this week.
Prince still says Florida, Maryland and South Carolina remain as his top three and that he still will take a fourth official visit to Florida, which recently snagged close friend and Friendship Collegiate All-Met Jalen Tabor, on the weekend of Jan. 31.
“I really won’t know for sure where everything stands until I take these last one or two visits,” Prince said. “It’s a lot to think about, and I definitely know I need more time to compare everything. So I might take one more visit in there before the Florida one. We’ll see.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 300
Victories coached by DeMatha’s Mike Jones following Sunday’s rout of St. Joseph (N.J.) at the Hoophall Classic. Paul VI also made a bit of history at Hoophall with Monday’s win against St. Anthony (N.J.). Click here to read about both feats.
-Click here to check out this week’s Post Top 20 boys’ and girls’ basketball rankings.
-See who made this week’s boys’ and girls’ basketball All-Met Watch.
-Fairfax has shaken off a 3-6 start and won three straight behind team chemistry and a new post-centric offense.
-Whitman’s girls’ basketball team has won 10 straight games to take control of the Maryland 4A South race.
-Johnnie Shuler’s strong play last week has Theodore Roosevelt tied atop the DCIAA standings.
-Gwynn Park staked its claim in the tough Prince George’s 3A/2A/1A race with a win against No. 19 Largo last week.
-Despite facing constant double and triple teams, Southern’s Jordyn Brown remains hard to stop in the post.
-Battlefield senior Trevor Blondin became the school’s all-time leading scorer last week in just his third year of varsity play.
-Freedom-South Riding’s Nicole Zubovich exploded for 24 points last week, displaying just how far she’s come from an ACL injury in 2012.
-The cliches of unselfish, team play have helped Blair surge to the top of the Montgomery 4A boys’ basketball standings.
-Future Towson teammates Shanea Butler (Westlake) and Daijha Thomas (Calvert) squared off last week in a close battle of ranked teams.
-Spalding senior Logan Brietenbach committed to wrestle at nationally ranked Iowa State
WHAT TO WATCH FOR TODAY
Yet again, the threat of snow and freezing temperatures shut down schools across the area on Tuesday, meaning the typical Tuesday slate of basketball games will be rescheduled. Stay tuned to our Capital Weather Gang for updates and the latest forecasts for today’s expected precipitation.