South Carolina secured another top 20 recruiting class on National Signing Day, after snagging a few big names and being on the right side of a few last minute decisions.
One of the biggest pick-ups of the day was 6-foot-3 defensive lineman and Sumter, SC native, Dexter Wideman. Wideman, a four-star recruit, had verbally committed to reigning National Champions, FSU back in July, but when all was said and done G.A. Mangus had the last laugh, as Wideman decided to stay close to home.
Blake McClain, another 6-foot-3 defensive end, who also was originally committed elsewhere (Nebraska), decided that when it came down to it, he would rather take his talents to Columbia. Listed as the No. 19 defensive end in the country, McClain is another valuable piece in what is a big group of incoming defensive linemen.
Abu Lamin (four stars), Kalan Ritchie (three stars), Dante Sawyer (four stars, No. 7 DE), Taylor Stallworth (three stars), and Jhaustin Thomas (three stars) round out a very solid and deep defensive line group that will be looking to maintain the Gamecock’s reputation of having an elite defensive front in the wake of Jadeveon Clowney, Chaz Sutton, and Kelcy Quarles’ departures.
Another important pick up for the Gamecocks was 5-foot-10 Lithonia, GA (the same hometown as running back Mike Davis) native, Wesley Green. Green is considered by Rivals.com to be the nation’s 17th best cornerback, which is an area of particular need in light of departures by Victor Hampton Jr., Jimmy Legree, and the unexpected transfer of Ahmad Christian.
Four-star athlete out of Plantation, Florida, Chris Lammons, also signed his papers today. Listed as the No. 14 “athlete” in the country by Rivals.com, South Carolina recruited him as another cornerback, and he should figure into the mix for next year with a depleted defensive backfield.
12 of the Gamecock’s 21 signees are either defensive backs or defensive linemen, including Abu Lamin, who is already enrolled, and Chris Lammons, who is technically listed as an athlete.
15 of the 21 are from Georgia or South Carolina (6 and 9 respectively), which is exactly what coach Steve Spurrier likes to see. He contributes South Carolina’s recent run of unprecedented success to efficient in-state recruiting. While theirs is one of the smaller classes in the SEC, the South Carolina recruiting staff looks to have put together a group of very good players that exactly fit the needs of this team.
With veterans returning at nearly every position, most of these athletes will have the opportunity to spend time learning the systems before being thrust into action. The only exception will be at cornerback, where the coaches seem to be confident that Lammons and Green could have the ability and wherewithal to contribute immediately.
The recruiting process is only half of the battle. Next stop, spring practice and then the Garnet and Black game on April 12th.