In little more than two weeks, South Carolina and South Florida will square off in the Birmingham Bowl.
The 10-2 Bulls come in with a high-powered offense and a host of experienced players defensively. In this five-part series, SEC Country will take a look at the 10 USF players to know heading into the Birmingham Bowl.
To start, we take a closer look at players Nos. 7 and 8 in Part 2:
8. Nigel Harris – senior linebacker
Harris made his biggest mark to date as a sophomore when he forced five fumbles to lead the nation. He had a down season in 2015, but has been a decent pairing with linebacker Auggie Sanchez this season.
Harris made 9.5 tackles for loss in 2016 as part of his 74 total tackles – second on the South Florida defense behind only Sanchez’s 108.
7. Deatrick Nichols – junior cornerback
The 5-foot-10, 189-pound cornerback Nichols followed a first-team all-conference selection in 2015 with a second-team nod this season.
He started every game for the second straight season at cornerback, making four interceptions to tie for fifth in the American Athletic Conference. Three of those interceptions came in the final three games, as Nichols has closed well down the stretch after a slow start. He also ranked seventh in the AAC with 11 passes defended.
Nichols figures to draw the challenge of guarding South Carolina’s Deebo Samuel, who will be looking to put up big numbers on a pass defense that gave up a lot of yards in 2016.