The South Carolina football team’s 2018 recruiting class has commitments from eight prospects that profile to play on the defensive side of the ball.
With four full months left before National Signing Day, the Gamecocks are approaching max capacity on both sides of the ball, offense and defense. Several targets remain for the defense, including 5-star defensive end K.J. Henry, 4-star defensive tackle Rick Sandidge and 4-star linebackers Dax Hollifield and Channing Tindall.
The Gamecocks’ 2018 class of defensive players includes several junior college transfers, two of whom are set to play tackle.
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Defensive end (2)
3-star Kingsley Enagbare (Atlanta, Ga.), 3-star Tyreek Johnson (Sumter, S.C.)
Luring Enagbare away from Georgia was a nice win for Will Muschamp in his ongoing recruiting war against Kirby Smart. Johnson, a holdover from the 2017 signing class, will enroll in January after taking a greyshirt this fall.
There’s always the possibility of flipping Gerald from Tennessee, especially if he follows through with an official visit this fall. Henry, who profiles at the ‘Buck’ position or South Carolina, is also in play, but Alabama and Clemson are widely believed to be the teams to beat.
Defensive tackle (3)
3-star Dantrell Barkley (Independence Community College), 3-star Jabari Ellis (Georgia Military College), 4-star Rick Sandidge (Concord, N.C.)
Ellis and Barkley will add a veteran presence to a defensive tackle rotation that loses two seniors after this season. Bringing Sandidge on board would certainly help grow the star power, but he’s also a really good prospect. Perhaps that’s why Georgia and Michigan are also knocking on his door.
3-star Ernest Jones IV (Waycross, Ga.), 4-star Dax Hollifield (Shelby, N.C.), 4-star Channing Tindall (Columbia, S.C.)
Jones was a nice addition in May, even though he doesn’t carry the same recruiting profile as Hollifield and Tindall. Jones could potentially play the middle or weakside linebacker positions for South Carolina.
Hollifield is also considering Florida State, North Carolina, Stanford and Virginia Tech. Tindall’s lead group includes Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Georgia.
The Gamecocks’ need at linebacker is particularly appealing to Hollifield, among other things. For Tindall, the proximity is in play. Both have regular contact with Muschamp and linebackers coach Coleman Hutzler.
4-star Marlon Character Jr. (Northwest Mississippi C.C.), 4-star Jaycee Horn (Alpharetta, Ga.)
Character committed to South Carolina out of high school, but later flipped to Auburn, when Muschamp and Travaris Robinson were both on staff as Tiger assistants. Character transferred after redshirting his freshman year. After spending this fall in junior college, he’ll reunite with the Gamecock coaches.
Horn remains committed to Tennessee, but he’s still listening to South Carolina, a school he once listed as a favorite. Can the relationship with Robinson and his father’s respect for the Gamecock coaches prevail? Sure.
3-star Jonathan Gipson (Hoschton, Ga.), 3-star R.J. Roderick (Summerville, S.C.)
South Carolina has some depth concerns at safety this season and both starters will be gone in 2018, so both will have a chance to compete for playing time as freshmen.
Gipson has some coverage skills, so his future may not only be at safety, though he’s got plenty of size and pop to play the position.
Roderick is an option quarterback at his high school with a little bit of experience on the defensive side of the ball. How soon he’s able to pick up the position could dictate how soon he’s ready to play.