The Gamecocks landed the No. 16 recruiting class in the country in ’14, as the team leveraged three consecutive 11-win seasons to sign 10 four-star players.

But how much did that class contribute to the 2014 team that fell back to 7-6 and barely made a bowl game?

Player Position Starts Games Played
Bryson Allen-Williams LB 2 12
D.J. Smith CB 1 12
Chris Lammons CB 7 10
Abu Lamin* DT 0 10
Kevin Crosby TE 0 1
Al Harris Jr. CB 4 12
Taylor Stallworth DT 0 8

*Junior college transfer

Overall, seven of the 17 enrollees played at least one game. Those seven players participated in a combined 65 games, starting 14.

Three of the four players who started for the Gamecocks as true freshmen played cornerback. The best of the group, Chris Lammons, not even 5-foot-10, got thrust into the action immediately against Texas A&M, then became a starter in the final seven games. He’s got a chance to start for three more years at South Carolina.

Al Harris Jr. and D.J. Smith ended the season as backups, but each played in 12 games as true freshmen and should play even bigger roles in the secondary starting this season.

Harris and Bryson Allen-Williams were the first true freshmen to start a season-opener for South Carolina since Jadeveon Clowney in 2011. The linebacker/defensive end hybrid will be a rotational player who needs to continue to grow comfortable within the scheme so he can let his athleticism take over.

Overall, this class is more notable for who didn’t play — and who didn’t even enroll at the university in 2014. To win 33 games in three years as an SEC team and then to have just six players from your incoming recruiting class play in at least two games, even on special teams, can only be qualified as a disaster. But there’s reason to think the ’14 class will contribute much more this year.

Five of the 22 players who signed with South Carolina didn’t make it to campus, including four-star defensive end Dante Sawyer, who made 10.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks for East Mississippi Community College before finally transferring to Columbia, S.C. for this season. Dexter Wideman, another four-star defensive lineman who didn’t qualify academically, also finally will join the Gamecocks this season. He’s already enrolled and will participate in spring practice.

Donnell Stanley, now 6-foot-4 and a slimmer 325 pounds, took a redshirt due to an injury. The third-ranked prospect from the ’14 class behind Allen-Williams and Sawyer, he’ll start the spring as a backup offensive lineman, but will have a chance to compete for a starting position.

Shaq Davidson, Terry Googer and Deebo Samuel, all redshirt receivers from the ’14 class, will try to emerge this spring as contributors in the passing game.

Overall, the lack of production and star power from the ’14 class is concerning. But it takes at least three full seasons to properly judge recruiting classes. With contributions from some of the players who didn’t see the field last season and continued development from the young cornerbacks, this group of players could become serviceable this fall.