Welcome to another edition of the South Carolina football mailbag.
SEC Country reporter Hale McGranahan takes a stab at answering questions submitted by you, the readers.
Away we go:
Joe Milton and the quarterback from Fort Dorchester (Dakereon Joyner) seem to be the top two options at quarterback (for the Class of 2018). Would we sign both of them and what do you know about Milton, as far as his recruitment and the type of player he is?
I think that’s a fair assessment, especially with Joyner. He’s a priority for this staff — along with pretty much every other relevant in-state recruit. Without any direct knowledge of what the quarterback recruiting board looks like for 2018, I can’t say with 100 percent certainty that Joyner is actually the guy at the top of the board. Heck, Kurt Roper may not even know. After all, these high school guys are just a game or two into their junior seasons.
If it was up to me, I’m doing my best to sign two quarterbacks in 2018. With the way things could play out with Jake Bentley and Brandon McIlwain, you’ve got to think that one of those guys will be somewhere else by the time the 2018 class steps on campus. From a numbers standpoint, two 2018 quarterbacks make the most sense.
Milton is very much in the early phases of his recruiting the process. I think he’s better than just offers from South Carolina and Iowa State. I believe others will make themselves available over the next 5-6 months. It was smart for Roper to go ahead and pull the trigger on Milton, because he has so much raw, physical talent. There’s a lot of untapped potential there. Because that offer was made, South Carolina has a leg up on the field.
After Thursday’s game, what is your thoughts? Basically, after game one, what seems to be the strengths and weaknesses?
I’ll start with the strengths, which I’ve previously said would be the offensive line and linebacking corps.
The offensive line was up and down, with most of the downs coming via untimely penalties. I thought they did a fair job in pass protection and were OK in run-blocking. I think a lot of A.J. Turner’s yards were picked up by his own tough running.
The linebackers, for the most part, played really well, especially Jonathan Walton. They hemmed up Ralph Webb pretty well.
These were some of the other positives I took away from Thursday:
- Turner runs hard, even if he isn’t a big, bruising, every-down back.
- Mark King looked as advertised at cornerback.
- Chaz Elder and D.J. Smith don’t mind coming up in run support one bit.
With time, we’ll see more from the wide receiver group as a whole, but there were too many drops — we heard about that all throughout camp, and not just at that position. I like what I saw from Bryan Edwards, but can he become a dependable deep-threat? That’s something this offense will need moving forward.
I still want to see what the secondary looks like against a functional passing attack. Hand in hand with that group is the pass rush. After one week, that’s my biggest concern for this defense. How much pressure can it generate?
And, of course, the quarterback position is a work in progress. I would imagine it will be that way for a good bit of the season.
Will there be any way to watch the game Xavier Thomas is playing in tonight other than actually being there?
Johnathan Dodd (Facebook)
Thomas actually played on Thursday night. Wilson High School’s game at Conway was moved to Thursday because of the heavy rain. Conway won, 35-7.