The calendar year is less than a month old, so it’s not too late to make some bold predictions for South Carolina football and recruiting in 2018.
Heading into Year 3 under coach Will Muschamp, expectations are high for the Gamecocks, and they’ll continue trending upward as the year grows older.
This will certainly help feed into the hype.
South Carolina football predictions
Jake Bentley will pass for 3,000 yards. He threw for 2,794 in his sophomore season, which had its share of ups and downs.
D.J. Wonnum hits double digits in sacks. After notching 1 1/2 sacks in limited playing time as a freshman in 2016, Wonnum led the team with 6 in 2017.
Rico Dowdle leads the team in rushing. OK, so this may not be so bold, considering he would have done it in 2017 had he not missed so much time with an injury. How about this one: Dowdle rushes for 1,000 yards in 2018.
T.J. Brunson finishes with 100 tackles. It wouldn’t be bold to suggest he’ll lead the team in tackles in 2018, because Brunson led the way for much of this past season. But with no Skai Moore, there will be plenty of tackles to be made.
Two Gamecocks finish among the top 10 in the SEC in total receptions. Bryan Edwards made it in 2017 and Hayden Hurst finished just outside of the top 10. Edwards should be back there again next season. And if he can stay healthy, Deebo Samuel will, too.
The team wins 10 games. To sweeten the pot, South Carolina will knock off at least two of the teams that beat the Gamecocks in 2017: Kentucky, Texas A&M, Georgia and Clemson.
South Carolina recruiting predictions
Two 5-star prospects sign in December. Several have been offered, including running back Quavaris Crouch (Charlotte, N.C.) and defensive end Zacch Pickens (Anderson, S.C.). Those are the two most likely options, but others could emerge between now and December.
The in-state number will be the lowest it’s been under Muschamp. The Gamecocks signed four recruits from South Carolina in the 2016 class, a figure that was topped in 2017 and 2018. It won’t be higher in 2019. Quite frankly, it will be a down year in the state — Pickens, 4-star wide receiver Jamario Holley (Rock Hill-Northwestern) and 3-star running back Michel Dukes (Charleston-First Baptist) might be the only prospects who are takes for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina flips a Georgia commit. Though it may not necessarily be someone who’s committed to the Dawgs right now, there are some candidates, though one stands out: 4-star defensive tackle Rashad Cheney (Ellenwood, Ga.). His teammate, 5-star wide receiver Jadon Haselwood, also took multiple visits to Columbia in 2017, but he seems less likely to flip.