Sunday, February 10, 2008

A look at the USC Recruiting Class

I read this article in the paper today By JOSEPH PERSON of The State. I thought it would be good to post here on LOHD, so here goes.....
The State examines the newest 22 players on the Gamecock football team and their anticipated roles.

Quarterbacks (two)

-Aramis Hillary (6-2, 205, Edgefield)
-Reid McCollum (6-4, 195, Summerville)

Ones who got away: None.

How they fit in: With Stephen Garcia, Chris Smelley and Tommy Beecher set to compete for the starting job in the spring, Hillary and McCollum are likely destined for redshirts. But with Spurrier and quarterbacks, you never know. If a freshman plays, it figures to be Hillary because his running skills are unique among the quarterbacks.

Running backs (two)

-Eric Baker (5-11, 190, Jacksonville, Fla.)
-Kenny Miles (5-10, 200, Lawrenceville, Ga.)

Ones who got away: Jamal Womble (North Carolina), Dontavious Jackson (Georgia), Andre Ellington (Clemson).

How they fit in: Regardless of whether Mike Davis is suspended the first two games for violating the class-attendance policy, the Gamecocks need to develop another tailback. Brian Maddox (5-11, 225), bigger than the two freshmen, is eager for a chance after playing special teams as a freshman. Baker, the leading rusher in Florida in 2006, should have a leg up on Miles after participating in spring practice.

Wide receivers (one)

-D.L. Moore (6-4, 178, Bowling Green, Ky.)

Ones who got away: Jaron Brown (Clemson), T.J. Lawrence (Florida), Tommy Streeter (Miami), Alfred Jenkins (Illinois).

How he fits in: Spurrier said the fact USC signed the nation’s top-ranked receiving class last year likely scared off a few receivers. Now the key will be getting a couple of members of the Class of 2007 to step up or find another position. Chris Culliver will get a shot in the secondary, while Mark Barnes would seem a likely candidate to return to defense. USC wants to develop depth behind Kenny McKinley and Dion Lecorn. Moore is built like Joe Hills and Jason Barnes, both of whom are big targets.

Tight ends (one)

-Mike Triglia (6-4, 234, Jacksonville, Fla.)

Ones who got away: Dwayne Allen (Clemson).

How he fits in: Spurrier referred to the tight end position as one of the Gamecocks’ leanest, citing the broken leg Nick Prochak sustained during a January scooter accident. While Jared Cook and Weslye Saunders return, both are known more for their pass-catching abilities than their blocking. That could open the door for Triglia to step into the blocking role vacated by Andy Boyd and Robert Pavlovic.

Offensive line (two)

-T.J. Johnson (6-4, 285, Aynor)
-Elliot Williams (6-6, 275, Woodstock, Ga.)

Ones who got away: Dalton Freeman (Clemson), Kenneth Page (Clemson), Zebrie Sanders (Florida State), David Spurlock (Florida State), Jonathan Cooper (North Carolina), R.J. Mattes (N.C. State).

How they fit in: USC returns four of the five linemen who started the season finale against Clemson: guards Gurminder Thind and Heatch Batchelor and tackles Jamon Meredith and Justin Sorensen. Behind them are several players with starting experience: Lemuel Jeanpierre, Seaver Brown, Hutch Eckerson and Garrett Anderson, who figures to get first crack at replacing center William Brown. Offensive line coach John Hunt also will get his first long look at last year’s redshirts: Kyle Nunn, Ryan Broadhead and Quintin Richardson. Given that depth, it’s hard to imagine Johnson or Williams playing this year.

Defensive line (five)

-Ronald Byrd (6-6, 258, LaGrange, Ga.)
-Kenny Davis (6-4, 295, Newberry)
-Jarriel King (6-7, 315, North Charleston)
-Chaz Sutton (6-4, 236, Savannah, Ga.)
-Devin Taylor (6-6, 225, Beaufort)

Ones who got away: Glenn Harbin (Alabama), Everett Dawkins (Florida State), Jomarcus Savage (Auburn).

How they fit in: Explaining why USC signed 12 defensive linemen the past two years, recruiting coordinator David Reaves said schools never can have enough big men capable of playing on either side of the ball. King, a 2005 signee, fits that description and could end up on offense. If King makes it to USC — he must graduate from Georgia Military and get an SEC waiver on a rule requiring JUCO transfers to be enrolled the final four quarters at their two-year schools — he will compete with Jordin Lindsey and Clifton Geathers for the DE spot opposite Eric Norwood. Sutton also should play if he qualifies.

Linebackers (two)

-Reggie Bowens (6-2, 210, Garner, N.C.)
-Shaq Wilson (6-0, 220, Jacksonville, Fla.)

Ones who got away: Sterling Lucas (N.C. State), Terrell Manning (N.C. State), Robert Quinn (North Carolina), Christian Robinson (Georgia), T.J. Pridemore (Florida).

How they fit in: The Gamecocks’ biggest commitment came from middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley, who passed on the pros to return for a fifth season. Coaches are eager to see if Alonzo Winfield can play every down, while determining if Cliff Matthews would be more productive at end. Bowens and Wilson have similar physical builds, although Bowens’ recent shoulder surgery could lead to a redshirt.

Defensive backs (six)

-Antonio Allen (6-2, 190, Ocala, Fla.)
-Akeem Auguste (5-11, 180, Hollywood, Fla.)
-Jarrett Burns (6-3, 185, Huntsville, Ala.)
-Darrell Simmons (6-1, 185, College Park, Ga.)
-Jay Spearman (6-0, 187, Greenwood)
-C.C. Whitlock (5-11, 175, Chester)

Ones who got away: T’Sharvan Bell (Auburn).

How they fit in: USC returns all four starters in the secondary, but there are opportunities for first-year players to earn spots on the two-deep and guarantee playing time. Whitlock expects to begin the spring at receiver, but he has the coverage skills and instincts to get in the corner rotation with Carlos Thomas and Captain Munnerlyn. Allen and Auguste should be in the mix at safety and corner, respectively.

Specialists (one)

-Ryan Doerr (6-3, 185, Katy, Texas)

Ones who got away: Jeff Locke (UCLA).

How he fits in: When Doerr began mailing his highlight DVDs, he targeted schools with a need at kicker. The Gamecocks have an All-SEC caliber kicker/punter in Ryan Succop, although he has just one year of eligibility left. New special teams coordinator Ray Rychleski wants to give Doerr a shot to punt or kick off to take some of the strain off Succop.

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