COLUMBIA, S.C. – The roster Will Muschamp inherited when he took over at South Carolina was short of a couple of ingredients that are crucial to compete in the SEC.
Upgrading team speed was chief among the priorities Muschamp and his staff set forth for the 2017 recruiting cycle.
The Gamecocks signed a pair of junior college defensive backs on Wednesday, Kaleb Chalmers and Keisean Nixon, that will provide an upgrade in that department.
“Athletically, from a speed standpoint, both run extremely well,” Muschamp told reporters on Thursday, before the Gamecocks’ first Birmingham Bowl practice.
“Both have extremely good ball skills down the field, as far as playing and judging the ball. Both can make plays down the field, I just think from a speed standpoint.”
Chalmers, who signed with South Carolina instead of Ole Miss, spent just over a year at Clemson after graduating from Greenwood (S.C.) High School in December of 2014.
For Northwest Mississippi, he had 30 tackles, 13 pass breakups and an interception.
Nixon, a native of Compton, Calif., signed with South Carolina over a handful of late offers, including Tennessee, Georgia and UCLA.
This fall, Nixon had 30 tackles and six interceptions (two returned for touchdowns). He also returned a pair of kickoffs for scores.
The No. 3-ranked cornerback in the country is also ranked as the No. 18 overall JUCO prospect in the class of 2017.
“Both of them have shown to be solid tacklers on tape,” Muschamp said. “The physicality of the game, they embrace. I think, in all areas, they make us better.”
Chalmers and Nixon are permitted to practice with South Carolina while the team is still in Columbia. Neither of the JUCO transfers can travel with the team to the bowl site and participate in practice.
The Gamecocks also signed two JUCO defensive backs in the 2016 class: JaMarcus King and Steven Montac.
Unless otherwise indicated, all rankings and ratings are based on the 247Sports composite.