USC coaches turn out in force to watch top hometown recruit play in state title game

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Antonio Williams had the full attention of the South Carolina coaching staff on Saturday.

All Gamecocks coaches, minus head coach Shane Beamer, were expected to be at Benedict College’s Charlie W. Johnson Stadium to see Williams and his Dutch Fork team play in the Class 5A championship against Gaffney.

The State spotted the following assistants before kickoff: Justin Stepp, wide receivers; Montario Hardesty, running backs; Pete Lembo, special teams; Clayton White, defensive coordinator; Jimmy Lindsey, defensive line; and Erik Kimrey, tight ends.

Stepp greeted Williams as he exited the team bus. Members of USC coaching staff attended all three days of the championship game.

Beamer wasn’t there Saturday evening because of NCAA rules that say a head coach can only see a recruit once — he is saving that lone visit for an in-home meeting with Williams on Dec. 11. South Carolina offensive coordinator is out of town watching QB commitment Braden Davis of Middletown, Delaware.

The Gamecocks are one of the teams in pursuit of Williams, the highest ranked uncommitted prospect in the state for the Class of 2022.

Heading into Saturday’s title game, Williams led Dutch Fork with 68 catches for 1,414 yards, 18 total touchdowns and 2,304 all-purpose yards. He told The State last month he was waiting until after the season was over to announce his decision. The early football signing period is Dec. 15-17.

247Sports ranks Williams as the No. 5 prospect in the state. Williams has been one of the top priorities for Beamer and the coaching staff since they offered the four-star receiver last November.

Williams listed the Gamecocks in his final six schools in September along with Ole Miss, Auburn, Florida State, Notre Dame and Georgia. Since then, Clemson got in the picture when they offered him on Nov. 20 after taking an unofficial visit there for the Wake Forest game.

Williams has taken official visits to South Carolina, Ole Miss and Auburn.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and assistant coaches CJ Spiller and Tyler Grisham had an in-home visit with Williams on Thursday. It has been a while since the Gamecocks and Tigers have battled for the same in-state recruit.

Williams will not enroll early wherever he chooses to go and plans to play for Dutch Fork basketball team in the winter.

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