Ranking South Carolina's units in the 2019 recruiting class
South Carolina has at least two major building blocks in this year’s recruiting class, which reaches a crescendo this week with the Early Signing Period from Dec. 19-21.
Once this period passes, coach Will Muschamp has said that the class will have a total of 22 players fill the remaining scholarships available. But all but a few of those have already committed.
This class has been largely intact for several months, but it’s not likely to intimidate many rivals. The Gamecocks are ranked No. 11 in the SEC, and No. 23 in the nation, according to the 247 Sports Composite.
The remaining spots are expected to be filled along the offensive line and the defensive backfield.
Here is a breakdown per unit, ranked from top to bottom:
No. 1 DL
Skinny: The defensive line, both in talent and sheer numbers, is easily the best position for the Gamecocks in this class. Zacch Pickens, a 5-star SDE, is the No. 18 player in the country, and No. 2 at his position in the country. But South Carolina also counts 4-star Joseph Anderson, also at SDE, along with a trio of 3-stars in DT Jahkeem Green, WDE Rodricus Fitten, WDE and SDE Devontae Davis, SDE.
No. 2 Backfield (QB/RBs)
Skinny: QB Ryan Hilinski is the second-ranked pocket passer in the country in this class. A 4-star recruit, Hilinski completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,771 yards and 29 touchdowns this past season. He’s the No. 54-ranked player in the country. It was recently announced that Hilinski would receive the 2018 Sam B. Nicola Award, also known as the national high school football player of the year, from the Touchdown Club of Columbus, Ohio. Throw in 3-star RB Kevin Harris, and the Gamecocks add depth to an already deep running back position.
No. 3 DBs
Skinny: In-state CB Cameron Smith, a 4-star, is ranked the fourth-best prospect in this class, but he might be more valuable because of who he chose the Gamecocks over. He has 24 other offers, including from the likes of Georgia, Florida State, Maryland and Tennessee. He’s also one of the top 25 cornerbacks in the nation, a position that suffered from injuries and sub-par play this past season. He was the fist commit in the secondary for this class, but those numbers are expected to swell soon.
No. 4 LBs
Skinny: With a pair of 3-stars, the Gamecocks look to shore up some depth as Derek Boykins and Jahmar Brown join the fold. Boykins is the No. 26-ranked outside linebacker, and a bigger body at 224 pounds, and expects to have a chance to play early as an early enrollee. Brown is a little undersized at 6-1 and 200 pounds and won’t arrive early, but he is expected to contribute in pass coverage and have speed to go sideline to sideline. He’s one of two South Carolina pledges from St. Thomas Aquinas, a powerhouse from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
No. 5 WRs
Skinny: There are three wide receivers in this group, plus Keshawn Toney, a tight end who has the potential and frame, 6-3, 240 pounds, to grow into a meaningful contributor. The best receiver of the group, though, is Keveon Mullins, the No. 10 player in Tennessee and someone good enough to hear a recruiting pitch from Hilinski.
Mullins is a 4-star prospect listed as an athlete, but expected to be a pass catcher on offense. Another tight end, Traevon Kenion is a 3-star recruit and another who could be considered underrated as a newcomer a 6-3, 245-pound frame, who shook off an injury as a high school junior to deliver a big senior season. He has 12 offers, including several ACC schools. Add in Tyquan Johnson, who was a member of the 2018 class and went to Fork Union Military Academy in the mean time.
No. 6 OL
Skinny: Vincent Murphy, the other St. Thomas Aquinas recruit, is the fifth-best center in this class, but he’s the best of a bunch that leaves him as the 10th-best player for South Carolina in this class. He has 20 offers, including five other SEC schools and Texas in the mix. Mark Fox is a 3-star offensive tackle who is like many of his fellow South Carolina commits in that he made his pledge nearly a year ago, and has reeled in several other offers from Power 5 schools. The last offensive lineman, tackle Jaylen Nichols, is 6-5, 300 pounds, and another player who dealt with an injury in high school. He also played on defense, which cut into his recruiting profile.