When Will Muschamp was hired at South Carolina, he stated recruiting well in state would be a big priority for the Gamecocks.
In his first year full year on the recruiting trail for USC, Muschamp accomplished his goal.
The Gamecocks signed 11 prospects who played high school football in the state on Wednesday, including the top three recruits and five of the top six, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
The list is headlined by a pair of receivers in Wando’s OrTre Smith and Union County’s Shi Smith.
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“I think we have very good players in our state, and I think we have very good high school coaching in our state,” Muschamp said Thursday at the Hilton in Greenville before breaking down USC’s class to fans in the Upstate. “The further you get away from your campus, the less you know about someone, and we know an awful lot about OrTre and Shi and the other players we signed right here in the state of South Carolina.”
Muschamp added that Carolina’s staff did not reach to sign in-state players. USC feels all 11 recruits are capable of helping the Gamecocks over the next several years.
“These are all guys we’re very familiar with. We had them in camp. We worked them out. We’ve built great relationships with them, and we’re excited about them being here,” he said. “They’re not anybody that we’re falling back on. These are guys we offered early in the process that we knew were important for us moving forward with our program.”
In addition to the two highly touted receivers, the Gamecocks signed four-star defensive linemen Javon Kinlaw and Brad Johnson, three-star offensive linemen Summie Carlay and Dennis Daley, three-star defensive back Kaleb Chalmers, three-star tight end Will Register, three-star quarterback Jay Urich and three-star linebackers Damani Staley and Davonne Bowen.
“Davonne Bowen is a 10.6 100-meter (runner) at 230 pounds. Damani Staley has led the state the last two years in sacks. Brad Johnson has set himself apart as a two-way player at Pendleton High School. All three of those guys we’re extremely excited about to be able to do some different things,” Muschamp said. “You look at OrTre Smith who’s on campus here from Wando High School. We’re really excited about Shi Smith (who) we had in camp as a slot receiver and returner. (He) can give you a lot of different things as far as contributions are concerned. Summie Carlay is an offensive lineman from Laurens that again, on campus, great work ethic and a guy that we’re excited about. All the way down the line.”
The class of 2018 is loaded with in-state talent, headlined by Xavier Thomas of Florence, who transferred to IMG Academy in Florida.
The Gamecocks have extended 17 offers to players from South Carolina in the class of 2018 and have also started recruiting for the class of 2019 and class of 2020.
“We started recruiting 2018 and 2019 my first day on campus,” Muschamp said. “It’s not like we start recruiting them now, that’s an ongoing process that happens every single day.”