INDIANAPOLIS — South Carolina may not have sent any of its players to this year’s NFL combine, but coach Will Muschamp will have plenty of old players to watch this weekend.
Seven of Florida’s former defensive stars will participate in drills over the next couple of days, including four potential first-round picks. As defensive ends and linebackers met with the media on Saturday, a handful of them spoke highly of the ex-Gators boss for assembling such a formidable group of talent at UF.
“Muschamp and his staff, they really built the basis for us as a defense,” linebacker Jarrad Davis said. “They put together a group of guys from across the country that was really talented. They brought us all in and they got us thinking how to be a dominant defense. And when they moved on to their next job, (Jim) McElwain came in and we never lost that mentality.”
They think he’ll soon have the Gamecocks luring elite players to Columbia, as well. In Muschamp’s first full recruiting cycle, South Carolina’s signing class ranked 21st in the nation (247Sports composite) and featured blue-chip prospects such as cornerback Jamyest Williams, receiver OrTre Smith and defensive end Javon Kinlaw.
From restocking Florida’s recruiting pantry after the departure of Urban Meyer to doing the same at South Carolina following Steve Spurrier’s retirement, here’s what Davis, Caleb Brantley and Alex Anzalone — all members of UF’s No. 3-ranked Class of 2013 — had to say about Muschamp:
Brantley: “He knows how to recruit. He’s a great coach. I think he’s going to turn that program around and they’re going to be a competitor in the SEC East.”
Anzalone: “He’s a coach that can really recruit well. You can see in the class he’s put together this past year, he’s done well. He’ll build some momentum, especially when he starts winning some games. He’ll be in contention in the SEC East just because of the way he coaches.”
Davis: “I expect Muschamp to take off. He is a great coach. He has a great staff around him. Guys like Travaris Robinson, strength coach Jeff Dillman, Mike Peterson. It’s a great group of guys. When they were at Florida, they helped us out in every phase of the game. I don’t see them falling off at all. They’re going to get their recruits in, they’re going to get the talent they need to turn that program around. And they’re going to win.”