Recruiting analysts weigh in on Gamecocks' class, top players

GoGamecocks staff reportsFebruary 12, 2014 

We asked recruiting analysts for their take on South Carolina's 2014 signing class.

Here's what we heard from Rivals' Woody Wommack, ESPN's Gerry Hamilton and 247Sports' Keith Niebuhr.

OVERALL IMPRESSION OF THE CLASS

WOODY WOMMACK: "They've got a solid class. They do a good job of evaluating guys and coaching them up once they get there. When you're trying to get over the hump like they are in the SEC and sort of get to the championship game or winning the conference, they're 10th in the conference out of 14 teams. That's not where they want to be."

GERRY HAMILTON: "People are going to look at the national rankings or the SEC rankings and say, 'South Carolina had an OK class.' You have to dig a little deeper. South Carolina doesn't have the full class in numbers. Filling needs is what it's all about and I think they've done that. They're evaluating well on the offensive line. The defensive line is huge. They're doing a lot of really good things. The class is a good one that may not be as ranked as highly as past classes. Instate there's not the really great player in this class, the guy ranked in the top 5 or top 10 in the country that really elevates the class in people's eyes. Losing out on Drew Barker was a tough loss in this class."

KEITH NIEBUHR: "There aren't a ton of headline guys, but lo and behold you look up and it's a top 20 class. That's basically what they've had every year. Clearly they're identifying players that fit what they do and they're not looking for a class that's got to be earth shattering. They had needs at cornerback. They've addressed that. Some good players along the offense and defensive lines, and that was important."

TOP PLAYER

WOODY WOMMACK: "Bryson Allen-Williams. He's a guy we weren't sure about for awhile. He had played defensive end as a junior. He was about 6-1, 214, we weren't sure about his size. He went out to Army and was one of the best players there. It's hard to argue that. We thought for awhile it might be Shaq Davidson or DJ Smith. If I were to put my money on one guy being successful there or having an impact early, it would probably be him. Right behind him would probably be Dante Sawyer."

GERRY HAMILTON: "Dante Sawyer. He's got a lot of upside. He's got a lot of versatility. He could play end. He could also continue to stack muscle mass, so he could slide he inside. He's got some pass rush ability. He's probably the top guy. I like Bryson Allen-Williams more than for a ranking. He's a hard guy to rank. As far as a pure football player and a competitor, and a talent maximizer, he's going to be a better player than wherever he's ranked. The linebacker corps has a chance to take three or four steps the next few years."

KEITH NIEBUHR: "Donell Stanley. I've always liked him. I've always thought he was a super intelligent kid that really understood how to play and what it meant to be an offensive lineman. Great frame. Huge feet, which give him a terrific base with massive tree trunk legs. And I think he's highly intelligent and really gets it, understands how to play. We've seen South Carolina's offensive line get a little bit better every year that Steve Spurrier has been there. I think he's going to be a star."

BIGGEST STEAL

WOODY WOMMACK: "Dante Sawyer. They did a good job of landing him. He got a lot of attention during the summer, with Alabama, Georgia and a lot of schools pushing for him. He's a good one."

GERRY HAMILTON: "Dexter Wideman. Despite him being an instate guy from down the road, you're flipping him from the national champions. That's a huge win. That's one the fans can stick their chest out, the coaches can feel good about."

KEITH NIEBUHR: "Bryson Allen-Williams. They went into Georgia and at the time he wasn't a top 100 guy. They recognized his ability early and built a relationship with him and basically stole him out of the state of Georgia. Now you see the Georgias and the Alabamas of the world wish they were part of their class. He's a terrific kid. This is a guy, more than anybody else in this entire class in the country, buys into the team concept, which is exactly what you want."

BIGGEST SLEEPER

WOODY WOMMACK: "Tyshun Samuel. He's a guy they identified early. We've had a chance to seem him a few times and he's gotten bumps in the rankings. I'm not sure how they see him fitting in or what his role can be, but I think he's going to have an impact in that offense probably earlier in his career than most would have thought. Early in the year a lot people weren't even after him. I think he's going to be the guy, assuming he develops physically, could be a nice guy, especially a slot receiver or home run threat. I really like him. Also, Malik Young - he can play. He's a big-bodied guy that they found who's probably going to play guard."

GERRY HAMILTON: "Al Harris Jr. Obviously he has the pedigree. That doesn't mean he's going to be an all pro like he dad. You're going to forget about him for a year. he physically needs time to develop. It may not be until after year two where you really see the type of player he can become. He's got good feet. He's got instincts. He just needs a couple years to get stronger. If he does that and he makes that move physically, I think he's got a chance to be a really good player late in his career at corner. He could end up being the steal of the class."

KEITH NIEBUHR: "Kalan Ritchie. He's a solid football player with a great frame, a great piece of clay with which to work. In two years down the road when we look at him, he's going to be unrecognizable physically. He's a good football player that comes from winning program. When you put those things together: solid talent, great frame, knows how to win, it's usually a pretty powerful combination."

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