South Carolina defensive back Chris Lammons will play somewhere in USC’s secondary in 2017.
But somewhere could be anywhere, maybe everywhere.
The senior has been working at safety during fall camp, after primarily playing cornerback through his career. The move has often been talked about and alluded to, but off a year where he doubled as the team’s slot corner against high-powered spread teams, his versatility is again being put to use.
“We’re trying to create depth on our football team, which is not about putting the next guy, it’s about putting the next best guy in,” Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp said. “So Chris is obviously going to be one of our best five. So we need to be able to put him in situations where he can play nickel, corner, safety. He’s extremely bright.”
The coach’s assessment of Lammons has come a long way since last season. After a loss to Mississippi State, a question about Lammons was met with a comment about needing to like the physicality of football.
By the end of that season, he hardly left the field against the majority of South Carolina’s opponents. At the start of fall camp, he promised he was a more physical player with more of a taste for hitting.
Now it appears he’ll be getting more backup.
Muschamp praised the work of starting corner Rashad Fenton in camp. He said former four-star prospect Jamarcus King needed to be more consistent, noting Lammons would still be one of the team’s two best corners if the played there. Then a couple of newcomers are coming along.
“The two young corners are going to be really good,” Muschamp said. “Jam Williams and Tavyn Jackson.”
That pair was working with the second-team defense during an open portion of practice on Friday.
Both corners are on the smaller side, with Williams at 5-foot-9, 175 pounds and Jackson at 5-foot-10, 174 pounds. Williams was a blue chip prospect with enough speed to potentially make some plays on offense and special teams. Jackson didn’t get nearly as much press, but he excelled in man coverage in high school and had a reputation as a hitter.
One other newcomer was getting second-team reps in junior college transfer Keisean Nixon. His recruitment was supposed to add instant depth to a thin USC secondary, and that grew more important with Saturday’s news freshman Jaylin Dickerson will miss 2017 after shoulder surgery.