There's no doubt the phone lines snaking out of Clemson and South Carolina are red-hot.
With only one full day left before National Signing Day hits, the football coaches of each school are calling, re-calling and re-re-calling every prospect on their lists to make sure their commitments are firm. Wednesday will bring some surprises and some disappointments, but the Gamecocks and Tigers will each add a sheaf of names to their rosters for next year.
Each team is hoping their most glaring weaknesses are addressed as the fax machines begins chattering early Wednesday morning, bringing signed letters-of-intent to the football offices.
Coaches are prohibited from discussing recruits until they have a signed letter, which leaves the rankings of the potential classes up to Web sites devoted to following the year-round cycle. With only a day to go, a look at how USC and Clemson stack up thus far:
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• CLEMSON. The Tigers are putting the finishing touches on another star-laced class, following the trend of recent years with several in-state commits and quite a few from Florida.
Clemson has eight Florida natives committed and is hoping to get two more once Wednesday hits. Although the class already boasts plenty of high-ranking talent -- defensive end DaQuan Bowers, from tiny Bamberg, is already on campus as the No. 1 recruit in the country by ESPN.com -- it could be getting even better.
The Tigers are hoping for a nod from fullback Jamie Harper of Jacksonville, Fla., the top fullback in the country according to Rivals.com and a player that could add a hurricane to James "Thunder" Davis and C.J. "Lightning" Spiller in the backfield. Clemson's been courting Harper for a while and the kid will make his pick on Signing Day, expected to choose between the Tigers, Illinois, Miami, Florida State and Florida.
"It will be a surprise to everybody if he doesn't pick the Tigers," recruiting guru Phil Kornblut told The (Columbia) State.
Clemson is also working highly rated Alabama prospect Antoine McClain and Miami's Benjamin Jones. Each is a regarded offensive lineman and will make his decision on Signing Day.
Overall, it's a extremely talented class that could rise into the nation's top 10 if some of the late commitments fall into place. The Tigers checked in at No. 14 on Rivals.com and No. 15 on Scout.com Monday, even when tight end Dwayne Allen spurned Clemson in favor of Georgia.
"They touched on all their needs in this class," Kornblut said. "A class that builds on a series of very good classes at Clemson."
Led by Bowers, Clemson already has six recruits enrolled and ready for spring practice. A quarterback signee, Kyle Parker, is also trying to play baseball for the Tigers, and Clemson has 11 other four-star recruits besides Parker and Bowers.
One of the other four-star recruits is A.C. Flora offensive lineman Kenneth Page, a potential star who missed most of his senior season with a bum shoulder. Page is going to have surgery to correct the problem, which gave USC, just down the road from the high school, cause for concern.
The Gamecocks backed off their recruitment, and Page chose the Tigers. Clemson also got a pledge from Jon Richt, the son of Georgia coach Mark Richt.
• USC. The Gamecocks, a year removed from what some labeled their best class in history, are filling needs.
Whether the players who fill the needs are judged to be as good as last year's is yet to be determined, but the early returns say no.
USC's class is ranked 29th by Rivals.com and 37th by Scout.com, although it received a pledge from Beaufort three-star prospect Devin Taylor just after its rankings were posted. Taylor's commitment shouldn't raise the ranking that much (if at all), so the Gamecocks, if they're interested in making a national splash, have to rely on more late add-ons to boost their numbers.
"This class is not going to follow up on the heels of that one," Kornblut said. "The Gamecocks are going to be lucky to get into the Top 25."
USC only has five four-star prospects, three who signed last year but did not qualify and one whose status is up in the air. Jarriel King, who committed to USC two years ago before going to junior college to boost his grades, was kicked out of Georgia Military College after he was accused of stealing money from a teammate's locker. The Gamecocks have continued recruiting him but don't know if he'll be able to transition to USC after the scandal.
The other four-star, Chester native C.C. Whitlock, is already on campus along with six other enrollees for spring practice. A seventh early arrival, Summerville quarterback Reid McCollum, was on campus but withdrew shortly after to return home.
McCollum lost a former assistant coach to the tragic Charleston fire in June 2007 and his former high school girlfriend died in the October beach house fire that killed five other USC students and one from Clemson. Although McCollum has reportedly had a tough time dealing with the grieving process, coach Steve Spurrier said he expects McCollum to return in the fall.
There's also the matter of offensive linemen, one of the biggest problems USC's had in recent seasons. While many recruiting experts say a good class should sign at least five offensive linemen, no matter what, the Gamecocks only signed two last year.
They only have two others -- Aynor's T.J. Johnson and Woodstock, Ga.'s Elliot Williams -- committed this year.
The Gamecocks are hoping to get a Signing Day pledge from receiver Tommy Streeter, a prospect from Miami's Northwestern High School. Streeter's top two choices are USC and South Florida.
USC also ventured into Texas for a kicker. Ryan Doerr is expected to battle with Rock Hill native Spencer Lanning as Ryan Succop's backup this year after helping clinch an undefeated season for his high school.
• OVERALL. It should be an interesting process to see how USC and Clemson end Signing Day. The Tigers shouldn't drop at all and can rise significantly, while the Gamecocks must make a late push to even be considered one of the top classes in the nation.
None of the rankings matter until the players qualify, get on the field and produce, but that doesn't limit the hype of Signing Day.
"Both schools still have some players out there," Kornblut said. "Going to be interesting, going to be exciting, going to be nerve-wracking over the next several days."