COLUMBIA, S.C. — D.J. Smith has the gift of gab, so it’s no wonder South Carolina coach Will Muschamp wants him to take that skill that to the field.
“I can be more of a quarterback,” Smith said. “That’s what Coach Muschamp has been telling me. He wants me to help the younger guys and the other veteran guys from the back end, just making more calls on defense and being able to call stuff out.
“Just being a quarterback at safety, because I know a lot of the defense from last year.”
And, of course, because Smith believes he can blab with the best of them.
“I don’t mind. I talk a lot. It isn’t going to bother me,” Smith said, with a smile.
That’s a trait that a South Carolina safety needs to possess, according to defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson.
Smith, who led the Gamecocks in tackles last season as a junior, is accompanied by Steven Montac at the other starting safety spot. Rashad Fenton, Jamarcus King and Chris Lammons round out the defensive back group at cornerback.
“I feel like we know everything from last year. We’ve just got to build on it,” Smith said. “Everybody knows the coaches’ expectations and what they expect, so I feel like everybody is just going out there. I feel like everybody is mature, moving forward.”
For South Carolina, the 2017 recruiting class included a handful of defensive backs, including safety Jaylin Dickerson and cornerback Kaleb Chalmers, both of whom are already on campus. Chris Smith is the only other scholarship defensive back on campus.
“With the corners, everybody has been rotating. As far as the new guys, they don’t really know much. They don’t know what they’re doing, so they put them with the second group. The ones that’s been running, it’s pretty much the older guys from last year that we had playing, just because we already know what we’re doing (and) a lot of the stuff from last year.”
The rest of the Gamecocks’ 2017 defensive back haul — Zay Brown, Tavyn Jackson, Keisean Nixon and Jamyest Williams — will arrive later this summer.