In less than two weeks, South Carolina will sign its 2017 recruiting class with hopes of having many early impact players.
Who will make the biggest impact among this year’s recruits? We won’t know until this time next year. But with that in mind, SEC Country takes a look back at players who had the most influential freshman season in the past 5 recruiting classes.
There were a lot of candidates from the 2016 class. Quarterback Jake Bentley had the biggest significance on the season, but he wasn’t in the lineup until the seventh game.
Edwards, a wide receiver, was the first freshman to make a splash and played throughout the season. He missed one game because of a sore hamstring. He had 101 yards receiving in his debut and finished the season with 44 catches for 590 yards and four touchdowns.
Including this one, from the Birmingham Bowl:
— NCAA Football (@NCAAFootball) December 29, 2016
A defensive lineman, Lewis stepped into the starting lineup after transferring from Hutchison (Kans.) Community College. He was sixth on the team with 45 tackles. He had 3 sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss.
There also is a case to be made for quarterback Lorenzo Nunez (two starts) and offensive lineman Zack Bailey (five starts) from the 2015 class.
Allen-Williams was South Carolina’s top-ranked commitment in the 2014 class. He played in all 12 games, starting twice, including in the season opener against Texas A&M. He made 27 tackles, splitting time between linebacker and defensive end.
Allen-Williams, one of the few immediate contributors from the class, also had 2.5 tackles for loss.
Moore arrived in a big way, leading the Gamecocks in tackles with 56 as a true freshman. He landed on the All-SEC freshman team named by the coaches for his efforts, which saw him play in 13 games and make four starts.
Moore also led South Carolina in interceptions with four and recovered a fumble.
Running back was a crowded position when Davis was a freshman, with Marcus Lattimore as the lead back. Senior Kenny Miles was the primary backup, but Davis carved out a role.
He rushed for 275 yards and two touchdowns on 52 carries before becoming the feature back in 2013.