South Carolina football: How we'll remember the 2020 recruiting class ultimately depends on Jordan Burch
There’s no doubt that this South Carolina recruiting class will be remembered for blue chip recruit DL Jordan Burch. For several reasons.
First of all, Burch shocked the college football world when he decided to stay in state — and in the same city — to play for the Gamecocks. Then Burch decided he wouldn’t sign immediately after his Dec. 18 announcement and instead sign in February with his teammates. The worry for Gamecocks faithful, though, was he took an unofficial visit to LSU on Jan. 25. Burch also took another visit to South Carolina last weekend.
Burch’s recruitment overall has not been full of drama, but the announcements have led to a nationally-televised audience to be on the edge of its seat. His announcement Wednesday will be his second to declare, or confirm, his college destination.
The 6-5, 275-pound 5-star prospect from Columbia is rated as the No. 8 overall recruit in the nation and the nation’s No. 2 defensive tackle prospect by 247Sports Composite Rankings.
If the Gamecocks are able to land him, they can accurately claim a Defensive Line U. nickname after they’ve already produced the likes of Jadeveon Clowney, Javon Kinlaw — a fast riser in the NFL Draft world — and this would be the second consecutive 5-star DL recruit after Zacch Pickens.
Including Burch, South Carolina has commitments from 7 of the 10 prospects in the state and is expected to land an 8th, too (Ger-Cari Caldwell).
The class is heavy on defensive line talent. Burch and 4-star teammate Alex Huntley still needs to sign, but 4-star Tonka Hemingway already has.
In terms of in-state talent, South Carolina has been the prime beneficiary of Clemson recruiting nationally, as there continues to be plenty of talent in a state that produced the likes of Clowney, Stephon Gilmore, Alshon Jeffery and A.J. Green.
Tennessee, East Carolina and Kentucky are their primary opponents for the remaining players, so their primary rivals, Clemson and Georgia, are not in the mix as both are recruiting much more nationally than regionally. South Carolina is reportedly in good position to land Caldwell, a 6-4, 3-star WR from Rock Hill, S.C. (Northwestern). He has narrowed his choice to Tennessee and South Carolina.
The best prospect in this class, outside of Burch, is RB MarShawn Lloyd, who is enrolled after offers from Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and Florida, and is expected to compete for the starting job in the spring alongside Kevin Harris. The Gamecocks have desperately needed a true No. 1 running back for several years, but multiple promising possibilities have fizzled out. Perhaps most impressive is that Lloyd stayed consistent with the Gamecocks even with the turmoil surrounding coach Will Muschamp. He didn’t even visit another school after he committed in May.
Muschamp made headlines at his Early Signing Period press conference when he referenced a lack of attrition and credited parents and coaches.
“When you don’t have a year you want to have you deal with a lot on the recruiting trail and about 90 percent of it is not true from some of our lovely competitors,” Muschamp said. “… Our staff did a fantastic job of keeping these guys together. We faced a lot of negativity outside our campus and some on our campus. I appreciate the type of young men and the character we have in this class. All of these guys, other than 2, committed before the season started, and never wavered and had a lot of people coming after them. That says a lot about the young men and the character we are signing in this class.”
All of that has added up to the No. 8 class in the SEC, according to 247Sports, and the No. 19 class in the country.
The class also added a quarterback for the future in Luke Doty, a 4-star dual-threat from Myrtle Beach. While Ryan Hilinski is expected to be the starter, Gamecocks fans even with a short memory remember that Hilinski and Jake Bentley each made starts as true freshmen.