How the Gamecocks plan to improve, build depth in the trenches
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South Carolina fans have got to be feeling pretty good about the skill positions heading into the 2017 season.
With QB Jake Bentley behind center, handing off to a deep, talented group of running back and throwing passes to an athletic group of receivers and tight ends, what’s not to like?
As exciting as those players might be, games in the SEC are won and lost in the trenches – and coach Will Muschamp and his staff are well aware of this.
“Pass rushers. If there’s any out there, come on, come to South Carolina,” Muschamp said following the Gamecocks’ 46-39 loss to USF in the Birmingham Bowl.
The coaching staff has put a premium on pass rushers and offensive line talent. Just look at the players the Gamecocks signed in February.
From defensive ends Javon Kinlaw and Aaron Sterling to offensive tackles Eric Douglas and Dennis Daley, Carolina is focused on getting talent and depth in the trenches for the future. In fact, the prospects discussed below might have a thing or two to say about that…
Ericson on options
Warren Ericson, the No. 17 offensive guard in the Class of 2018, detailed his SEC options with Hale McGranahan on Wednesday, chatting up South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.
“They kind of have their own selling point, for sure,” Ericson said of the Crimson Tide. “They don’t have to send you a bunch of envelopes in the mail, to convince you to go there. They show you the facts. They’re going to win wherever they go and they’re going to work hard and they’re going to get it done.”
McGranahan said it best, “While the Gamecocks are one of the primary options, they certainly aren’t the only one.”
‘Close to home, great program’
Three-star JUCO DT Jabari Ellis recently named the Gamecocks as one of his two favorites – drawn by USC’s proximity to his hometown (Santee, S.C.) and its coaching staff.
“They mainly just talk to me about coming in and doing everything I want as a player, developing my game and hopefully having a career after college, going to the NFL,” said Ellis when discussing USC. “Close to home, great program. I actually like the coaching staff.”
Ellis is rated as the No. 9 overall JUCO prospect in the 2018 recruiting class according to the 247Sports composite.
DT heads to NYC
Devin Taylor is joining fellow ex-Gamecock Jerell Adams in the Big Apple.
The Giants signed the former South Carolina defensive end on Wednesday afternoon.
Giants sign player best known for controversial facemask foul that set up the Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary in Detroit https://t.co/H72TcHaTuC
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) May 24, 2017
A fourth-round pick in 2013, Taylor had 11.5 sacks in his last two season with the Lions.
Wright State graduate transfer G Mark Alstork announced his transfer destination on Wednesday afternoon and, unfortunately, Illinois was the pick.
“On Wednesday, Alstork picked Illinois over LSU, South Carolina and Pittsburgh, as relayed by The Advocate’s Sheldon Mickles,” reports Andrew Astleford. “The 6-foot-5, 190-pound guard averaged 19 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game last season. He also considered Dayton, Georgetown and Louisville before eliminating those programs from consideration.”
Inking Alstork would’ve gone a long way in helping the Gamecocks fill the void left by departing guards PJ Dozier, Sindarius Thornwell, Justin McKie and Duane Notice.
The Gamecocks still have plenty of reinforcements coming to campus, including former Delaware G Kory Holden and incoming freshmen David Beatty and Justin Minaya, among others.
The Gamecocks couldn’t sustain the magic in Birmingham, losing 7-3 to No. 3-seeded Kentucky on Wednesday afternoon.
South Carolina jumped ahead 2-0 early, but the Wildcats’ bats woke up shortly thereafter.
“A three-run, bases-clearing double from Kentucky’s Evan White in the sixth inning blew the game open for the Wildcats, who already led 3-2 going into the frame,” writes Mike Wilson.
South Carolina will face Missouri in an elimination game on Thursday afternoon.
Former South Carolina goalkeeper Brad Guzan (2003-04) is headed stateside to join Atlanta United FC later this summer.
Guzan sat down with FOX Sports South’s Brittany Arnold to discuss his return to MLS…
— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) May 23, 2017