Gamecocks recruiting: Five story lines for the Class of 2015

dmclemore@thestate.comMay 26, 2014 

Lorenzo Nunez

247SPORTS PHOTO

South Carolina football’s 2015 recruiting class has entered double-digit territory.

The Gamecocks are up to 11 commitments, with four pledges already in May.

Here are five early story lines for the in-progress class.

1. OUT-OF-STATE INFLUENCE

South Carolina’s 11-member group includes 10 from outside the state. The past three commitments came from states outside of USC’s usual geographic footprint: Louisiana (offensive lineman Jozie Milton); Maryland (wide receiver Jalen Christian); and Missouri (tight end Kyle Markway). The Gamecocks also are a favorite for New Jersey lineman Tommy Hatton.

Defensive end Shameik Blackshear is the lone Palmetto State representative, for now. USC is heavily recruiting Orangeburg-Wilkinson defensive tackle Albert Huggins; Summerville offensive lineman Zack Bailey; and Crestwood running back Ty’Son Williams. The Gamecocks signed nine instate prospects in the 2014 class.

2. OFFENSE TAKES OVER

The early mix of pledges for the Gamecocks has a heavier blend of offensive prospects. Eight of the 11 are being recruited for offense. That number includes a quarterback, four wide receivers, a tight end and two linemen. USC is expected to sign up to two running backs, two tight ends and five or six linemen.

In the 2014 class, 13 of the 21 signees were on defense.

3. TOP 10

South Carolina is up to No. 5 in Rivals’ team recruiting rankings and third in the SEC after the commitments from Christian and Milton. The top four consists of Alabama, Penn State, Clemson and Auburn.

The current USC group also has an average player star rating of 3.64 from Rivals (seven four-star and four three-star prospects). By comparison, the 2014 signees had a 3.48 average rating, and that was the highest under Steve Spurrier.

Six USC commitments are inside the latest release of the Rivals250. Four finished inside the Rivals list for 2014.

4. QB IN THE FOLD

Lorenzo Nunez of Kennesaw, Ga., made his pledge to the Gamecocks on May 8. The spring timing for a quarterback pledge is in line with most years. It’s early compared to 2014 signee Michael Scarnecchia, who committed to USC in late October 2013.

Nunez is the fourth four-star quarterback commitment for the Gamecocks under Steve Spurrier, according to Rivals. And Nunez is right there at the top with 2007 signee Stephen Garcia. Both have Rivals ratings of 5.9, the highest of any quarterbacks recruited to USC by Spurrier.

Nunez plays for Harrison High in Kennesaw, about 30 minutes northwest of Atlanta. Last season, he passed for 1,148 yards and 5 touchdowns and rushed for 786 yards and 7 touchdowns.

5. NUMBERS GAME

This year’s class is expected to total 20 to 22, but it could be 25 if the Gamecocks wind up signing a full group. That’s the maximum allowed by the SEC, but the Gamecocks were limited to 22 in recent years because of NCAA sanctions. Those restrictions have expired, and the team also returns to a full 85 available scholarships instead of 82.

There also are 15 scholarship seniors, 10 more than the Gamecocks had heading into last season. The 2014 group was expected to number 15 to 18 but ended up growing to 21.

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