As the 2016 signing class gets ready to enjoy its first official practice with the South Carolina football program, SEC Country takes a look back at previous Gamecocks recruiting classes.
We take a look at the careers of the players in those classes and provide a simple grading scale on their stock: up, even or down. Next up: The 2012 recruiting class.
WR Shaq Roland
The Skinny: The No. 40 prospect in the nation per the 247Sports Composite, Roland came to Columbia from Lexington with a whole heap of promise. But things never quite worked out as planned for him with the Gamecocks. He was suspended for multiple games as a sophomore then quit the team in December of his junior season. He finished his USC career with just 56 catches for 891 yards and 10 touchdowns.
RB Mike Davis
The Skinny: Davis proved a steady backup option as a true freshman before breaking out as a sophomore, earning All-SEC second-team honors. He ran for just less than 100 yards per game, totaling 1,183 yards with 11 touchdowns on 203 rushes. Davis followed it up with a junior season with 199 carries for 982 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns despite injuries. The San Francisco 49ers made him their fourth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
OT Brock Stadnik
The Skinny: Injuries defined Stanik’s career, as the big offensive tackle never could stay healthy enough to contribute heavily. He played in a handful of games in 2013 and 2014, but The State reported he took a medical hardship disqualification after that.
WR Kwinton Smith
The Skinny: Smith made five catches for 42 yards as a redshirt freshman, but the 6-foot-4 receiver took on other pursuits after that. Smith was drafted in the 14th round of the MLB Draft out of high school and went back to the diamond at Florence-Darlington Tech, reported The State.
TE Jerell Adams
The Skinny: Adams had a nice four-year career in Columbia, leading to being the sixth-round selection for the New York Giants in the 2016 NFL Draft. He was an SEC All-Freshman pick in 2012, while his best season was his last as he led the Gamecocks with 28 receptions for 421 yards and three touchdowns.
DE Darius English
The Skinny: English enters 2016 with the chance to build on a team-leading 4.5 sacks in 2015. He’ll be competing at the BUCK spot with a handful of others. To date, he had made seven starts in 38 games with 74 tackles and six sacks.
S Chaz Elder
The Skinny: Elder’s career has fluctuated between starter and riding the bench in the last three seasons. The bulk of his playing time came as a freshman, when he made six starts. But he played in just two games last season and now is competing for playing time as a senior. He’s listed as a starting safety on the preseason depth chart. He had made 52 tackles with one interception so far.
LB Kaiwan Lewis
The Skinny: Lewis started 10 games as a sophomore in 2013 before seeing his playing time dip drastically in 2014. He graduated then headed for Rutgers after the 2014 season and had 69 tackles with two picks for the Scarlet Knights in 2015.
WR Jody Fuller
The Skinny: Fuller played in just one game in 2013 after redshirting in 2012. He left the program after the season for Eastern Arizona College then landed at Wingate University.
TE Kelvin Rainey
The Skinny: Rainey enrolled early, but never found a lot of success at USC. He was a special teams player before transferring to Iowa Western Community College, where he made the move back to linebacker. He will play at Faulkner University in Alabama in 2016.
OG Cody Waldrop
The Skinny: Waldrop became the starting center in 2013 before moving to right guard in 2014. An injury slowed that season then another injury robbed him of the 2015 season. Like Stadnik, he took a medical DQ, per The State.
S Jordan Diggs
The Skinny: Diggs has been a frustrating player for USC fans. He shows flashes, but not consistency. He has a chance to change that as a senior and could be a starter if he bounces back after missing the spring with an injury. He started 10 games last year and made 48 tackles. He has played in 40 games with 13 starts.
QB Brendan Nosovitch
The Skinny: Nosovitch moved to tight end in 2014, but then headed for Boston College despite being moved back to QB for the 2015 season. He had a rushing touchdown as a QB in his redshirt freshman season.
S Kyle Fleetwood
The Skinny: Fleetwood was only in Columbia for two seasons before transferring to Coastal Carolina.
RB Kendric Salley
The Skinny: After a redshirt year, Salley never got a carry in 2013. He transferred to Presbyterian College.
LB T.J. Holloman
The Skinny: Holloman was a captain last season and will be a starter at either the middle linebacker spot or one of the outside spots this season. He already has 140 career tackles and looks like he will be in line for a big senior season as the key linebacker in a group without Skai Moore.
CB Rico McWilliams
The Skinny: McWilliams brings back the most starts to the Gamecocks this season, having 18 in 33 career games. He’s slated to start at cornerback as a senior, needing to take a leap forward for the Gamecocks to be successful.
S Chris Moody
The Skinny: Moody looked like he would be playing somewhere else this season, but then returned to South Carolina. He’ll be a senior at safety, looking to provide depth. He has seven starts with 48 tackles in his career.
CB T.J. Gurley
The Skinny: Gurley was an SEC All-Freshman pick and built on it to make 23 career starts between the safety and SPUR linebacker spot. He had 59 tackles as a senior.
C Clayton Stadnik
The Skinny: While his twin brother suffered multiple injuries, this Stadnik was helpful when injuries hit. He got seven starts at center in 2013 after Waldrop went down. He started 10 games in his career, finishing his time as a Gamecocks at tight end after losing a lot of weight after having his tonsils removed.
K Nick St. Germain
The Skinny: St. Germain redshirted and then transferred away from South Carolina.
OT Mason Zandi
The Skinny: Zandi has had a nice career to this point, but the 2016 season should be his time to shine. He’s moving from right tackle, where he made 10 starts last year, to left tackle. There, he will be tasked with protecting likely either Brandon McIlwain or …
QB Perry Orth
The Skinny: A former walk-on, Orth has been competing for a starting spot with the freshman McIlwain, as the senior hopes to go out with a nice final season. He missed the back end of spring with an injury after starting in 2015 and throwing for 1,929 yards and 12 touchdowns on 143 of 261 passing.
2012 recruiting class
The Skinny: The class has lacked the high-end production from the top recruits in the class apart from Davis.
Adams turned into a nice player, but the way this class will be viewed will be decided this season. If Orth is QB1 and has a good year, the class will boost. Zandi has put himself in position to be one of the best players from the class, while Diggs, McWilliams, English and others have one more year to leave a bigger mark.
Mike Wilson covers South Carolina athletics for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on the Gamecocks.