Hale McGranahan/SEC Country
Will Muschamp could bring in a top-15 class if things go his way on National Signing Day.

ESPN heading to Columbia for signing day; more recruiting news and notes

Welcome to SEC Country’s Chicken & Waffles, your daily dish for all things South Carolina Gamecocks football, basketball and more.

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ESPN coming to Columbia

With National Signing Day just around the corner, things are reaching a fever pitch in Cola Town. And whether a certain 4-star prospect sticks with USC, there’s plenty more excitement around the football program.

Related: ESPN will be on hand for South Carolina’s signing day

Count ESPN among those getting in on the signing day action with the Gamecocks.

The Network will be sending Tony Barnhart to Columbia as its agent in the field for what could be potentially be a spectacular day for the Gamecocks.

USC is one of just 16 schools receiving an on-campus correspondent for the big day.

Help in the trenches?

As one recruiting cycle ends, another begins … especially for a staff that puts so much emphasis on signing and developing talent.

Related: Updating the Gamecocks’ efforts to help fill the trenches

Carolina’s coaches seem to have their eyes on a lot of offensive linemen in the Class of 2018, specifically 4-star OG Reuben Unije, 4-star OG Cleveland Reed, among others.

From SEC Country:

Donell Stanley, Malik Young, Blake Camper and Christian Pellage are all sophomores. Stanley’s a guard, while the other three are tackles.

With a steady stream of offensive line attrition coming down the pike, look for South Carolina to sign another four or five offensive linemen in 2018.

Though we might have to wait a year to see a massive offensive line haul, the 2017 class still has plenty of talent at the position — including OT commit Dennis Daley. Daley was in Columbia this past weekend as an unofficial visitor.

Despite his position coach changing (Shawn Elliott out, Eric Wolford in), Daley appears solid to USC.

More on Dickerson

In his series profiling the Gamecocks’ early enrollees, SEC Country’s Mike Wilson takes a closer look at Jaylin Dickerson …

Jaylin Dickerson, a safety from Southern Pines (N.C.) Pinecrest, is the first high school defensive back to get on campus for the Gamecocks, as he enrolled early. The 6-foot, 180-pound prospect brings a “reckless” approach to playing safety, his high school defensive backs coach, Aaron Powell, told SEC Country. That has to excite the coaches at South Carolina who want more physicality.

A consensus 3-star DB, Dickerson brings young blood and versatility to the South Carolina secondary.

In a unit that seems pretty set at corner (with Jamarcus King and Chris Lammons, and two JUCO early enrollees), it wouldn’t be at all shocking to see the North Carolina native get a serious look at safety.

For a defense that prides itself on turnovers, Dickerson’s return abilities could give him a leg up on the depth chart. Check out some of his highlights:

Salute to Sindarius

The Garnet & Black Attack has an exhaustive retrospect on senior Sindarius Thornwell and his contributions to the basketball program.

“However of all the recruits who’ve come through the door in Columbia over the last 20 years — maybe even 40 years — Thornwell may be the most important one of them all,” writes Chris Stanley. “South Carolina simply isn’t the program they are now without his talents and what he meant in terms of recruiting.”

Sure his ill-timed suspension may have put the Gamecocks’ tourney aspirations in doubt back in December, but with his absence came the rise of PJ Dozier. So, I guess, in a way, we can thank Thornwell for that, too!

Columbia’s favorite son has given a lot to USC on the hardwood — he’s at least owed a game on the biggest stage in March.

Gamecocks basketball-Sindarius Thornwell-South Carolina Gamecocks
If the Gamecocks make it to the NCAA tournament, Sindarius Thornwell will arguably be the biggest reason why.

Women’s hoops heads to Athens

The No. 5 Lady Gamecocks (17-1, 7-0) look to continue their winning ways when they take on the Lady Bulldogs on Thursday night.

Fresh off a victory over No. 4 Mississippi State, I’d normally be worried about a letdown … alas, not the case against a border-state rival in UGA.

Even more reason to feel good about Dawn Staley’s team moving forward? Superstar guard A’ja Wilson appears to be back in top form …

From Gamecocks Online:

“In Thursday’s win over #4/4 Mississippi State, junior forward A’ja Wilson showed both that her ankle is fully recovered and why she is on the top of every national player of the year list this season. Her SEC career-high 26 points included 16 of the team’s 28 in the first half, scoring in a variety of ways — drive, midrange jumper, putback. In the second half as Allisha Gray warmed up her offense, Wilson attacked on the defensive end, blocking 2 shots and swiping 2 steals while helping secure the defensive glass.”

Former USC goalkeeper heading to Atlanta

Former Gamecock Brad Guzan is set to join Atlanta United FC for the 2017 season.

Guzan was acquired by the expansion club on Wednesday through the MLS Expansion Priority Draft, leaving Middlebrough Football Club in the process.

Via The Big Spur:

After two years at the University of South Carolina, Guzan began his professional career in MLS, making 79 appearances for Chivas USA from 2005-08. In 2008, Aston Villa bought Guzan for a $1 million transfer fee.

The Big Spur has more details on Guzan’s journey from USC to Aston Villa and back to the southeast.

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