Breaking down the USC signing class

February 4, 2010 

Sharrod Golightly

RIVALS.COM PHOTO

IMMEDIATE HELP

RB Marcus Lattimore

The Parade All-American from Byrnes said he was not guaranteed a starting spot, but the state's Mr. Football will get a long look in a rushing attack that has been the SEC's worst three years in a row. Running backs coach Jay Graham said Lattimore is a good receiver out of the backfield and has the size and speed to run inside and out.

QB Connor Shaw

Shaw's prospects for early playing time have improved since the right-hander from Flowery Branch, Ga., enrolled last month. With backup quarterback Reid McCollum leaving the program, Shaw will compete for the No. 2 spot this spring behind Stephen Garcia. Shaw has the pedigree: His father was his high school coach and his brother, Jaybo, is a backup QB at Georgia Tech.

DL Kelcy Quarles

The Greenwood native joined Lattimore on the Parade All-America team after finishing with 77 tackles, including 17.5 for loss, and nine sacks as a senior. Quarles' father, Buddy, played at USC under Joe Morrison. USC is looking for line depth with Nathan Pepper graduating and Travian Robertson recovering from knee surgery.

PROJECTS

DL Corey Simmons

The son of former NFL defensive lineman Clyde Simmons was a late addition to the Gamecocks' recruiting class. Simmons' other offers were from FCS schools Samford and Western Carolina, where his dad played. He needs to fill out his 6-5, 225-pound frame.

P Patrick Fish

With Spencer Lanning returning as punter and place-kicker, specialist was not a huge need for the Gamecocks. But the Gamecocks offered Fish after he punted well at their camp. He will compete with a number of walk-ons for the backup job.

OL Cody Gibson

Steve Spurrier said Gibson and Corey Robinson, another offensive line signee, might need a redshirt year to gain weight and strength. The 6-6, 260-pound Gibson is a three-star prospect, according to Rivals.com, and picked the Gamecocks over South Florida, Maryland, Middle Tennessee and others.

STEALS

WR Ace Sanders

After South Florida fired Jim Leavitt, USC assistant coach G.A. Mangus swooped into Bradenton, Fla., to turn Sanders from his local school. Sanders, ranked among the top 50 prospects in talent-rich Florida, is on the small side (5-9, 165). But with his speed and athleticism, he could compete for the slot receiver spot vacated by Moe Brown.

DB Sharrod Golightly

Golightly was a Vanderbilt commitment until a few days ago when he dropped the Commodores. The 5-10, 178-pounder played at Southwest DeKalb High, a football power in the Atlanta area. He had 113 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions and made all-state as a senior.

ONES WHO GOT AWAY

OL Eric Mack

The big lineman from Calhoun County was a longtime USC commitment who appeared ready to follow former Saints teammate Alshon Jeffery to Columbia. But Mack began wavering during the fall and de-committed following his USC visit. A day later, he announced for Auburn.

WR Sean Tapley

The Jacksonville, Fla., native was the first player to commit in USC's class of 2010 when he pledged in November of 2008. But recruiting coordinator Shane Beamer said Tapley had been giving off mixed signals, so the Gamecocks were not shocked when he switched to North Carolina on Wednesday. They moved quickly to sign Javon Bell, another Jacksonville wideout.

LB Justin Parker

USC was the first school to offer Parker as a sophomore and was in the hunt until the end. But the athletic linebacker from Beaufort went with Clemson over USC and LSU.

- Joseph Person

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