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South Carolina Football

College Football Recruiting: Breaking Down South Carolina's Class

South Carolina signed all of their commits on Wednesday and even added another to close their 2013 class.  Rivals ranks the class at #16, and all the rankings have the class in the Top 25.  

Some Gamecock fans are disappointed that back to back Top 10 finishes haven't resulted in higher rated recruiting classes.  If you just glance at recruiting you might think they are right, but the issue isn't that simple.  The main issue, insofar as an issue exists, is that the state of South Carolina hasn't produced that much talent the last few years.

Using Rivals rankings since they go back the furthest, the State of South Carolina produced 10 or more 4 and 5 star players from 2007-2010.  Since then it has produced 6, 5 and 5 each of the last three cycles.  Simply put, there hasn't been much talent to recruit.  Of the talent that was available, Carolina did well.

The Gamecocks got 3 of the Top 8 players in the state, again per rivals.  Two other players went out of state (to Georgia and Ohio State), and 3 players went to Clemson.  It looks like South Carolina and Clemson split the players that stayed in state, but it's not that simple.  South Carolina and Clemson both offered the three players coming to Columbia.  Of the three going to Pickens, only one also held a Gamecock offer.  So, in recruiting battles South Carolina won 3 against Clemson, lost 1 and had two go out of state.  Something like 3-1-2 would be about right.

Those three players are two offensive linemen from Dillon, D.J. Park and Bryce King, and a linebacker from Goose Creek, Gerald Turner.  They all had major, out of state offers and decided to stay home.  Keeping the instate talent at home is always a key to winning.  Next year the state will have atleast 8 four or five star prospects and could very well end up with 10 or 12.

Not satisfied with a three person class, Carolina went out of state to find talent and brought it home.  The went to the Tar Heel state to find some of their most highly touted players.  QB Connor Mitch from Raleigh is already on campus.  LB Larenz Bryant from Charlotte is the highest rated prospect in the class, and Havelock athlete Pharoh Cooper brings.

They went to Georgia and brought back 6 high school commitments, including coveted defensive tackle Kelsey Griffin.  Atleast two of the players held offers from the home state Bulldogs.  35-7 goes a long way toward helping poach talent from nearby states.

Florida has always been a fertile recruiting ground for the Gamecocks.  This year they got a signing day present from linebacker Skai Moore to go along with 3 other Floridians.  Defensive End Devin Washington was an early commit and has been a steadfast and proud Gamecock ever since.  Anyone who follows him on twitter know he already bleeds Garnet.

After the nearby states the coaching staff traveled to being back some strong talent.  In Maryland they found highly touted tackle Na'Ty Rogers.  They went to Philadelphia to bring back sought after running backDavid Williams, and the went to Alabama to take linebacker Jonathan Walton away from Penn State and Auburn.

Top 20 class doesn't sound as good as Top 5, but make no mistake it's a good class.  We'll have more in the coming days and weeks explaining just why this is a good class that should have the Gamecock fanbase exited about reaping the rewards of success.

Get more great South Carolina sports analysis over at Leftover Hot Dog.

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College Football Recruiting: South Carolina Lands Jonathan Walton

The South Carolina Gamecocks football team is in need of a linebacker and have quite a few in the mix going into National Signing Day.

However, it seems one they have been targeting, Jonathan Walton, has indicated he is going to be a Gamecock by sending out the following tweet tonight...

Sounds like some good news for the South Carolina football program but let's wait until the ink is dry as you know the Auburn recruiters are placing some pressure on him now.

The 6-foot-1, 227-pound Walton is considered the No. 39 ILB in the country by 247Sports and rated as a 3-star player. Check him out in this film:

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National Signing Day: Quinton Powell, Yannick Ngakoue, Jonathan Walton, Keith Bryant to South Carolina?

Some may say the South Carolina Gamecocks are not having a good recruiting cycle due to not having a "big name" amongst the group. Don't believe that talk. This crop of talent is exactly what USC needs to continue to build depth and to sustain the direction of the football program.

Going into National Signing Day, the Gamecocks have 20 commitments. Of those, three have already enrolled and there is still some room to add to the class. Here is some things to watch for on National Signing Day from the Gamecocks perspective:

1. Who will linebacker Quinton Powell of Daytona Beach, FL give his pledge too? Most thought, including him, that he would be announcing on Signing Day for Florida but the Gators informed him there is no room for him. Ouch. And now it is being reported that USC has communicated to him that there is no room for him in the class so what will he do?

2. Another linebacker to watch for USC is Yannick Ngakoue of Washington, DC. He remains up in the air with his decision between USC, Maryland and Florida State. Most feel he is leaning towards USC but he has some friends going with the Terps and we all know peer pressure can be a "mo fo."

3. Staying with the linebacker talk, another one to watch is Jonathan Walton of Daphne, AL. He will make his decision between USC and Auburn. Some think he too is a USC lean at the point but the Tigers are making a late push so it is still a tight choice.

4.  USC fans will be tuned in to watch Keith Bryant make his call on NSD on ESPNU at 1:30pm. This defensive lineman is choosing between USC, FSU and Miami. I'm thinking USC is the one to beat out of that mix but stay tuned.

5. Back to linebacker talk....Watch what Skai Moore of Fort Lauderdale does on NSD. It is going to come right down to South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Rutgers. Signing Day activities at the school will begin at 9:45 AM. This young man was a Rutgers lean but USC is trying to convince him the SEC is the place to be, as is Vandy.

6. The Gamecocks are trying to work Tyrell Lyons of Jacksonville, FL on coming to Columbia for his collegiate career. USC is up against FSU for this linebackers services.

As you noticed, lots of linebacker talk going into the final stretch. Expect to see the Gamecocks land at least two of the above, if not three or a total surprise of running the slate.

Get more great South Carolina sports analysis over at Leftover Hot Dog.

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College Football Recruiting: South Carolina Lands Na'Ty Rodgers

The South Carolina Gamecocks got a big boost today as they got confirmation that four-star offensive lineman, Na'Ty Rodgers, is going to be a Gamecock.

The 6-foot-5, 295-pound prospect chose South Carolina over his other favorite, Maryland, but also had offers from Arkansas, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Carolina and Washington, among other programs.

Rodgers is the No. 19 OT in the country and No. 7 prospect in Maryland for the 2013 class, according to 247Sports.

Rodgers is South Carolina's 20th commitment of the class and fifth offensive lineman.

Here is the newest Gamecock in action:

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Video: South Carolina Football Regular Season Highlights

Here is the South Carolina football highlights from the 2012 regular season.

It was a very, very interesting year.

Check it out:

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College Football Analysis: Impact of Brad Lawing Leaving South Carolina for Florida

According to many reliable reports, South Carolina defensive line coach Brad Lawing is vacating his position under Coach Steve Spurrier to become part of Will Muschamp's defensive staff at the University of Florida Gators.

Not fully sure of the reasons for the departure but on the surface it does not make a lot of sense. For Lawing, he is giving up the chance to coach Jadeveon Clowney one more season and put a stamp on his legacy as a great line coach. Not to mention, he has spent 17 total seasons in Columbia. I guess Coach Muschamp made a offer either via the money angle or the coaching responsibilites route that Lawing could not turn down.

Hate to see this and this loss stings. Not sure why but it does. I guess cause it is Lawing or because it is the Gators. Either way, hate to see this news today.

One thing is certain, the Gamecocks will not have a hard time finding someone to come in given back-to-back 11 win seasons not to mention the talent the line has already in place. Lawing was a good one and seemed to be a solid member of the staff, which again makes this so surprising, but coaching is a business. Time to begin the new chapter.... 

Get more great South Carolina sports analysis over at Leftover Hot Dog.

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Video: South Carolina Football Highlights that Aired During Vanderbilt Basketball Game

The South Carolina Gamecocks basketball team lost today versus the Vanderbilt Commodores by the score of 58-51 but there was a cool video shown at halftime.

Check out this football highlight video:

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College Football Recruiting: South Carolina Lands Joe Blue

Well, the first football recruit for the Class of 2014 is in for the South Carolina Gamecocks as Joe Blue gave his pledge to be a future Gamecock.

Blue, 6-foot 235 lbs., chose USC over scholarship offers from the likes of Auburn, Florida, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech. He played linebacker out of Dillion HS and was rated the No. 20 ILB in the country by 247Sports. He could get a look at fullback at USC as he was a hard-nosed running back in high school and with his type size-speed combo it could earn him a look on the offensive side of the ball.

He will be joining fellow Dillon teammates D.J. Park, Bryce King and Kwinton Smith in Columbia.

Here is a highlight reel of him to get a idea of what kind of player USC is getting:

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South Carolina Football Recruiting: Drew Barker, Jonathan Walton, Quinton Powell and More

South Carolina football recruiting is heating up as we get closer to National Signing Day. The Gamecocks have been busy telling the story to entice future “garnet and black” wearers to come to Columbia and continue the success that Coach Spurrier has ushered in.

USC is still on the prowl for a linebacker and trying to convince some of their top targets to say yes. So in the below “recruiting nugget,” you will see lots of talk on LB prospects. WE are just trying to keep you, the Gamecock fan, up-to-speed on what is taking shape out there from things we have picked up. For true insight, visit sites like TheBigSpur.com or GamecockCentral. Here is just our quick two-cent snapshot of some key recruiting storylines floating around the message boards:

Drew Barker. This young gun-slinger is out of Hebron, KY and has recently named USC as his current favorite over Tennessee. For the Gamecocks, this is welcomed news as he is the top target right now at quarterback for the Class of 2014. Barker plans to visit USC for the spring game and indicated that he wants to make his decision in late April or early May 2013. Last season, Barker passed for 2072 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushed for 1455 yards and 18 scores.

Jonathan Walton. This linebacking prospect out of Mobile, AL decommitted from Penn State Sunday after returning home from an official visit to Tennessee. Walton will visit USC this coming weekend and Auburn the following weekend. He's also been to Minnesota. The Gamecocks hope to convince him that USC is the right spot for him.

Quinton Powell. This former Gator commit will visit the Gamecocks on January 26th. He is scheduled to visit Southern Cal this coming weekend and is set for Arkansas February 1st. He plans to announce his decision on Signing Day on ESPNU. The Gamecocks have some work to do on him to “show the love” as many top programs want the services of this Daytona Beach native.

Da’Shawn Hand. This defensive end from Woodbridge, VA has named his top five via Twitter recently and has South Carolina in the mix with Virginia Tech, Alabama, North Carolina and Michigan. Recruiting services are touting Hand as the top player in the country for 2014.

Devaris Brunson. He had a pledge to become an ECU Pirate but now he has USC knocking on his door. Brunson, from Lake City, SC, is a linebacker that has improved his grades recently so some other programs are finally taking notice of his talents. If USC pushes for Brunson, he will say yes but will they push?  

Deadrin Senat. This big defensive lineman out of Immokalee, FL has set his official visit with USC for the Gamecocks' primary recruiting weekend of January 18th. It would be nice to get this guy to help plug the middle for the USC defense. He is a former FSU commit.

Skai Moore. A linebacker, so you know USC is talking to him, has narrowed his choices to four programs after decommitting from Rutgers. Moore cited USC, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Arkansas as the four under consideration. He will visit South Carolina this coming weekend.

The Gamecocks hosted the following players this past weekend: DJ Park, Shaq Wiggins, Ronnie Martin and Connor Mitch. Everyone except Wiggins also enrolled today for the Spring semester.

Na'Ty Rodgers. The Gamecocks have tried for a long time to reel this young man from Pomfret, MD in as one of their top offensive line targets.  Rodgers will take his official visit to USC this coming weekend and it likely will come down to the wire between South Carolina and Maryland.

Alfy Hill. USC is no longer an option for him due to academics. He will be attending UNC Pembroke, a Division Two school.

Get more great South Carolina sports analysis over at Leftover Hot Dog.

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SEC Football Review: Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Arkansas and More

Remember 2010? At the time, it seemed the SEC West was set to reign supreme. Nick Saban had won the 2009 BCS title. Auburn won it in 2010. LSU won in 2007 and had an NFL pipeline of talent. Bobby Petrino had elevated Arkansas to a contender.

The SEC East on the other hand was as bad as it had ever been. Florida had tumbled from the top of the mountain to an Urban Meyer made Swamp of mediocrity. Mark Richt was on the hot seat after losing to UCF in the Liberty Bowl. Tennessee was a mess with Derek Dooley being the 3rd man in three years to be head coach in Knoxville. South Carolina had a break through year as a program, but won the school's first division title on a 5-3 conference record before getting blown out by Auburn.

Funny how things change in two short years. Bobby Petrino lost control of his motorcycle, got fired, and Arkansas is now rebuilding. After two close but no cigar years in Baton Rouge, LSU is hemorrhaging talent with nine underclassmen declaring for the draft. Auburn ran out of Cam Newtons and Chizik got run off after posting an 0-8 conference record in 2012. Alabama still reigns supreme, and new comer Texas A&M appears to be the closest challenger (yes, Aggies, I am aware y'all did win in Tuscaloosa). After that, there is a significant drop in the West.

Steve Spurrier has elevated South Carolina to official contender status as the Gamecocks have passed Tennessee and join Florida and Georgia at the top of the East. Mark Richt has new life in Athens after winning back-to-back SEC East tites and coming up five yards short of an SEC title. Will Muschamp in year two, posted 11 wins including wins over Texas A&M, LSU, South Carolina, and Florida State. No doubt Alabama is top dog, but for 2013, the toughest division in the conference is the SEC East.

Looks like the balance of power, minus Alabama, has shifted to the SEC East....right?

Get more great South Carolina sports analysis over at Leftover Hot Dog.

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