Update: Four-star cornerback Mark Fields decommitted from the Gamecocks on Tuesday, South Carolina’s sixth such casualty.

Offensive lineman Jozie Milton’s decommitment over the weekend was South Carolina’s fifth of the recruiting season, setting up for a potentially devastating blow if any additional players flip prior to signing day. Steve Spurrier’s recent admission that he planned on staying ‘two or three more seasons’ in Columbia has caused recruits to freeze in their tracks and rethink playing for a coaching staff nearing transition.

The Gamecocks are up against first-year Florida coach Jim McElwain for several big-time players as well as Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. Securing signatures from the 26 current commits remaining would lock in a Top 10 class and get South Carolina back where it feels comfortable with a competitive edge in the SEC East.

OFFENSE: C+ (9 total commits)

The only four-stars currently committed on offense are offensive linemen Zack Bailey (Summerville, S.C.) and Christian Pellage (Brooksville, Fla.). Pellage, an athletic 6-foot-7, 260-pound tackle, is being pursued hard by Florida State and Alabama but appears strong with the Gamecocks. Recently downgraded to a three-star prospect is Lorenzo Nunez, a strong-armed quarterback from Kennesaw, Ga.

DEFENSE: B (14 total commits)

A well-rounded class defensively with several four-stars in the mix, the impact position of defensive end hangs in the balance for several verbal commits including Arden Key (Atlanta) and Marquavius Lewis (Hutchinson C.C., Kan.). Lewis will sign his JUCO letter of intent on Wednesday and Auburn appears to be back in the running for his services. Key, a four-star with five-star potential, is considered the gem of the 2015 class and is down to South Carolina and Georgia. He’ll take an official visit to Columbia on Jan. 23 and Athens on Jan. 30. Other possible impact incoming freshmen on defense include pass rushers Shameik Blackshear and Dexter Wideman along with linebacker Sherrod Pittman.


Entering the dead period this week, South Carolina’s in great shape to fill holes and replace current starters with impact rookies — if commits hold. Along the defensive line, the Gamecocks were dreadful this season and that’s been one of the points of emphasis with this year’s class. Most expect Key and Lewis to play early, along with Blackshear who is still recovering from a ligament tear.