Signing Day 2014 was another victory for South Carolina football. Steve Spurrier’s staff received commitments from 21 players, including 10 four-stars according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. The Gamecocks class was a unanimous Top 25 group, with Rivals and 247 both putting them at 16th in the country. Now, it looks as if over a third of the players in the class may not make it to Columbia this season.
GoGamecocks.com reports that eight of the 21 signees in the class have yet to make it to campus, and three are definitely not going to play for South Carolina in 2014.
Defensive ends Dante Sawyer and Kalan Ritchie have previously announced they will not meet qualifying requirements and attend junior college with the hope of re-signing with South Carolina. The USC options for defensive end signee Jhaustin Thomas appear to be done after he failed to qualify from his junior college.
Cornerbacks Wesley Green, Chris Lammons and Darin Smalls, fullback Joe Blue and defensive tackle Dexter Wideman still are trying to meet qualifying standards in time to join the Gamecocks in August.
Most teams take a shot on a few kids with academic concerns, knowing they might have to wait a year to get them to campus. Having one or two academic casualties from a class is pretty common. There is no chance that South Carolina took that kind of risk with eight, if not more, players. If the remaining five guys can’t make it to campus, the Gamecocks could have some pretty tough depth issues this year. Steve Spurrier Jr., the recruiting coordinator for the program, says that cornerback is the position that is the biggest concern.
“We would like to hope that at least two out of three (cornerbacks) are going to make it,” Spurrier Jr. said. “That’s a pretty critical area for our 2014 football season getting those guys here.”
South Carolina expects to play, and perhaps start, at least one first-year player at cornerback this year. Cornerbacks Al Harris Jr. and D.J. Smith already have enrolled in summer classes.
South Carolina should contend for the SEC East this season, and has sights on the College Football Playoff. To get there, they better hope the injury bug doesn’t come around this year.