Gamecocks' recruiting outlook: 2015 class filling up fast

dmclemore@thestate.comJune 24, 2014 

If you blinked at any point in June, you might have missed the fact that South Carolina has added quite a few commitments for the Class of 2015.

The Gamecocks have eight new pledges this month after adding three Monday, bringing the still-growing class to 20 prospects. The group ranks No. 4 in the latest Rivals team recruiting rankings.

The class is expected to total around 25, the maximum allowed by the SEC. It could grow beyond 25 if one or more prospects enrolls mid-year and "counts back" to the previous year.

Here is an updated position-by-position look at this year's recruiting class and outlook. (Star ratings are from 247Sports' Composite index, which factors in all networks, unless otherwise noted.)


QUARTERBACKS

SIGNING: 1

COMMITMENTS: 1

• LORENZO NUNEZ, 6-2, 190, Kennesaw, Ga., 4 stars: Top QB prospect in Georgia

OUTLOOK: One is typically the magic number when it comes to QB signings, so the Gamecocks should be done here.


RUNNING BACKS

SIGNING: 1-2

COMMITMENTS: None

TARGETS

• RAY-RAY MCLOUD, 5-9, 175, Tampa, Fla, 4 stars | Has not narrowed huge offer sheet

• TRAVEON SAMUEL, 5-8, 180, Phenix City, Ala., 3 stars | Has USC among his top schools

• JORDAN SCARLETT, 5-11, 210, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 4 stars | Committed to FAU, says he'll visit USC

• BRADRICK SHAW, 6-1, 205, Birmingham, Ala., 4 stars | Visited last week; has offer from Alabama

• AJ TURNER, 5-11, 180, Clifton, Va., 3 stars | Called USC visit 'amazing'

• TY’SON WILLIAMS, 5-11, 200, Sumter, 4 stars | Top instate RB prospect likes USC, just visited with family; Aug. 1 announcement set

OUTLOOK: South Carolina would like to sign as many as two backs in this class with three juniors on the roster -- Mike Davis, Brandon Wilds, Shon Carson -- and Davis likely NFL-bound after this season. The Gamecocks did not add a running back for 2014, while one of its 2013 signees (Jamari Smith) moved to defense and 2012 signee Kendric Salley transferred.


WIDE RECEIVERS

SIGNING: 4-5

COMMITMENTS: 4

• MICHAEL BOWMAN, 6-0, 195, Havelock, NC, 3 stars | Follows Pharoh Cooper, Corey Robinson in picking USC

• JALEN CHRISTIAN, 5-10, 165, Damascus, Md., 4 stars | Picked Gamecocks after visiting Columbia

• DEXTER “DJ” NEAL, 6-2, 195, Stone Mountain, Ga., 3 stars | Committed to USC in May 2013 from Stephenson High

• JERAD WASHINGTON, 5-9, 165, Jacksonville, 3 stars | Speedy WR committed to USC in July 2013

TARGETS

• IRVIN CHARLES, 6-4, 212, Haddonfield, NJ, 3 stars | Planning to visit USC

• VAN JEFFERSON, 6-2, 175, Brentwood, Tenn., 4 stars | Wants to visit USC

• AUDEN TATE, 6-4, 195, Tampa, Fla., 4 stars | Used to live in SC, was athlete at Dutch Fork

OUTLOOK: South Carolina may or may not add one more receiver, and there is no major push to do so yet with four in the fold.


TIGHT ENDS

SIGNING: 2

COMMITMENTS: 2

• KYLE MARKWAY, 6-4, 219, St. Louis, 3 stars | Likes chance to play early in SEC

• CONNOR REDMOND, 6-4, 220, Lawrenceville, Ga., 3 stars | Picked USC over BC, Virginia and K-State

OUTLOOK: USC is likely done recruiting this position. The Gamecocks will sign two tight ends this class with Rory Anderson a senior and Jerell Adams draft-eligible.


OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

SIGNING: 5-6

COMMITMENTS: 3

• AUSTIN CLARK, 6-6, 296, Lexington, Va., 4 stars | Picked Gamecocks over Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Ohio State.

• JOZIE MILTON, 6-3, 294, Clinton, La., 3 stars | Will switch from DL to offense; likely a center

• PARIS PALMER, 6-8, 305, Scranton, Pa., 4 stars | Originally from N.C., committed to USC March 23

TARGETS

• ZACK BAILEY, 6-5, 307, Summerville, 4 stars | Instate battle for top instate lineman

• MATTHEW BURRELL, 6-5, 290, Woodbridge, Va,. 4 stars | USC made his top 15

• JALEN MERRICK, 6-5, 295, New Smyrna Beach, 3 stars | Fast-rising prospect just visited USC

• CHRISTIAN PELLAGE, 6-7, 282, Brooksville, Fla., 4 stars | Visited USC in the spring

• BRANDON SANDIFER, 6-3, 325, Warner Robins, Ga., 3 stars | Counts USC among his favorites

• MATT WOMACK, 6-7, 320, Hernando, Miss., 3 stars | USC just offered fast-rising tackle

OUTLOOK: Offensive line might be the biggest priority in this class. J.P. Vonashek left the program, and fellow Class of 2013 signee Bryce King will transfer. Meanwhile, A.J. Cann, Corey Robinson and Cody Gibson are seniors, and Brandon Shell and Mike Matulis are draft-eligible.


DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

SIGNING: 5-6

COMMITMENTS: 4

• SHAMEIK BLACKSHEAR, 6-5, 240, Bluffton, 4 stars | Committed to USC before junior season

• ARDEN KEY, 6-6, 228, Atlanta, 4 stars | A two-time USC pledge; was teammate of Wesley Green

• DANTE SAWYER, 6-2, 235, Scooba, Miss., 4 stars | Now at JUCO, 2014 signee expected back for 2015 class

• QUANDESKI WHITLOW, 6-3, 221, Opelika, Ala., 3 stars | Says USC “feels like home”

TARGETS

• DEVANTE COVINGTON, 6-4, 220, Georgia Military College, 3 stars | Class of 2013 signee could be back for 2015

• ALBERT HUGGINS, 6-3, 279, Orangeburg, 4 stars | No. 2 instate prospect wants to be DE in college

• DJ JONES, 6-2, 305, Scooba, Miss., 4 stars | Originally from Wren High; now JUCO teammate of Dante Sawyer

• MARQUAVIUS LEWIS, 6-4, 271, Hutchinson, Kansas, 4 stars | No. 1 JUCO DE likes USC; originally from Greenwood

• DARIAN ROSEBORO, 6-3, 293, Lincolnton, N.C., 4 stars | USC still in consideration; visit coming soon

OUTLOOK: Defensive line is an annual priority regardless of current and future depth charts. It wouldn't be surprising to see USC sign six more or more total on the line.


LINEBACKERS

SIGNING: 2-3

COMMITMENTS: 2

• SHERROD PITTMAN, 6-1, 215, Jacksonville, 4 stars | Longtime USC pledge is among highest-rated commits

• JALEN HENRY, 6-0, 219, Foley, Ala., 3 stars | Can play outside, inside; good tackler

TARGETS

• AMONTE CABAN, 6-2, 210, Smiths Station, Ala., 3 stars | Was at USC for junior day in March

• RICKY DEBERRY, 6-2, 245, Richmond, Va., 4 stars | Has USC in top 20; has visited

• DAVON DURANT, 6-2, 240, El Dorado, Kansas, 4 stars | Originally from Greenwood; now at JUCO, likes USC

• ROQUAN SMITH, 6-2, 205, Montezuma, Ga., 4 stars | Huge offer list; plans to visit USC

OUTLOOK: USC could sign up to three linebackers this go-round after having one in its 2014 class.


DEFENSIVE BACKS

SIGNING: 4-5

COMMITTED: 4

• JAIRE ALEXANDER, 5-11, 170, Charlotte, 3 stars | Had seven interceptions as a junior

• MARK FIELDS, 5-11, 183, Cornelius, N.C., 4 stars | Top target committed to USC in March

• ANTOINE WILDER, 5-11, 175, Atlanta, Ga., 3 stars | Teammate of DE commit Arden Key

• OCTAVIS JOHNSON, 6-1, 181, Homerville, Ga., 4 stars | Recruited as athlete, wants to play corner

TARGETS

• DAMON ARNETTE, 6-2, 185, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 3 stars | Teammate of signee Al Harris Jr. was on commitment watch, will now visit Kentucky

• CARLTON DAVIS, 6-1, 182, Miami, 3 stars | Has USC in his top five

• RASHARD CAUSEY, 6-0, 185, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 3 stars | FAU pledge still interested in USC

• MIKE HUGHES, 5-10, 170, New Bern, 3 stars | Plays QB in high school

OUTLOOK: This isn't the immediate need it was for 2014 when USC signed five cornerbacks. Still, four to five again in this class looks realistic.

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