In this South Carolina recruiting story, SEC Country takes its second look at the top-20 prospects from the state’s Class of 2018.
SEC Country ranks the top 2018 in-state prospects: South Carolina 1.0
20. 3-star CB Elijah Rodgers (6-1, 170): Indiana
Rodgers, who’s from Blacksburg, committed over offers from BYU, Cincinnati and Purdue. Had he not committed to Indiana in April, Rodgers probably could have hit the summer camp circuit and collected more offers. With his size and physicality, he could find a home at safety, after settling in at the next level.
19. 3-star WR Demarcus Gregory (6-3, 196): Ole Miss
One of two prospects out of Byrnes High School to make the list, Gregory is one of the bigger receivers in the state’s class, which has several comparable possession-type receiving prospects. If his desire to compete wasn’t in question, Gregory would be ranked higher.
18. 3-star DE Eli Adams (5-11, 230): Virginia Tech
One of two prospects out of Rock Hill’s South Pointe High School to make the list, Adams is a tweener. He’s a little too small to play defensive end, but not quite fluid or fast enough to play inside linebacker. However, he’s been productive as a pass rusher. Adams should do well as an edge player in Bud Foster’s defense.
17. ILB Khalid Jones (6-1, 220): Northwestern
The other prospect from Byrnes, Jones feels like a good fit as an inside linebacker in the Big 10. He’s at his best between the tackles, defending against the run.
16. OLB Jake Venables (6-2, 224): Clemson
The son of the Tigers defensive coordinator is one of several players who recently made the move from Daniel High School to Clemson. Venables could play strongside defensive end in his dad’s system.
15. WR Darius Rush (6-2, 173): South Carolina
Rush has been productive over the last few weeks, hauling in 3 touchdown catches in each of C.E. Murray’s last two games.
14. 3-star RB Mataeo Durant (6-0, 180): Duke
Durant was one of the first, if not the first 2018 prospect to emerge in the state. After rushing for nearly 2,000 yards as a freshman at McCormick High School, he’s been one of the state’s most productive players, even though injuries have limited him at times through his career. Durant could potentially play safety at the next level.
13. 3-star ATH Kyle Wright (6-0, 211): Temple
Wright, who plays at the SCISA level for Ben Lippen School, could play linebacker or running back at the next level. From this perspective, the defensive side of the ball could be his best fit.
12. 3-star WR Sam Pinckney (6-3, 205)
Another possession receiver, Pinckney gets the edge among those types in this class. He’s big, high-points the ball, makes contested catches. But, like the others, speed is a question mark for the Greenwood prospect.
11. 3-star OL Wyatt Campbell (6-6, 285): South Carolina
Tough. Nasty. Physical. Plays with an edge. Better than average athlete. Campbell could work at a couple of different positions along the Gamecocks offensive line.
10. 3-star OL Hank Manos (6-4, 275): South Carolina
Tough. Nasty. Physical. Plays with an edge. Better than average athlete. Sound familiar? Manos, however, profiles as a center for the Gamecocks. He played well for Chapin in a Columbia-area showdown with Irmo.
9. S R.J. Roderick (6-0, 205): South Carolina
Roderick recently set the all-time rushing mark at Cane Bay High School (Summerville). Though he’s a nice option quarterback, when he arrives to South Carolina, he’ll play safety.
8. 3-star ATH Bryce Thompson (6-0, 185)
Thompson could play defensive back or wide receiver at the next level, but this observer likes what he could potentially add as a slot receiver. The Irmo-Dutch Fork prospect was spotted in a shoulder sling last weekend while he was on campus at South Carolina.
7. 3-star TE Braden Galloway (6-3, 218): Clemson
A basketball player before he joined the Seneca football team as a junior, Galloway is more prospect than player right now, but he’s a really good athlete who runs well. There’s a lot of upside there, though he looks inconsistent as a pass catcher.
6. 3-star OL Raiqwon O’Neal (6-5, 260): Rutgers
Two of his teammates from Conway High School received consideration for the list, but O’Neal is among the top overall prospects in the state because he could play on either side of the ball. The Gamecocks offered him to play defense — probably a three technique tackle — but he’ll sign with Rutgers to play offense. His future on that side of the ball, probably, is at tackle.
5. 4-star DT Josh Belk (6-4, 305): Clemson
Another Clemson commitment who’s more of a prospect than a player right now. Belk’s upside is through the roof. If things don’t work out as a defensive tackle, he could be an effective offensive guard.
4. 3-star WR Dennis Smith (6-2, 185): Duke
Smith returned to action earlier this month, after missing an extended period of time with a shoulder injury. In a cycle that’s strong on wide receivers, he’s the best in the state, at least for now.
3. 4-star QB Dakereon Joyner (6-2, 200): South Carolina
Joyner led Fort Dorchester to a big road win over Thompson and Dutch Fork earlier this month. The two schools have a chance to meet again when the state playoffs begin.
2. 4-star OLB Channing Tindall (6-2, 213)
Tindall is an elite athlete who will be a versatile defender at the next level. Depending on the system, he could play inside linebacker, outside linebacker or defensive end. He’s played well this season, but his drop from No. 1 to No. 2 is more about what the other prospect has done, not what he hasn’t.
1. 4-star WR Derion Kendrick (6-1, 195): Clemson
Kendrick recently led South Pointe High School to a big-time win against Georgia high school football powerhouse Buford. He’ll be an effective player for Clemson at wide receiver, but his future might be brighter as a safety, though he is explosive with the ball in his hands.