You could quibble whether new South Carolina signee Brian Bowen was the No. 14 player in the Class of 2017 (put there by ESPN), or the 19th (247Sports) or the 21st (Rivals).
What seems pretty clear is he’s likely the highest-rated player to come to South Carolina since recruits started getting rated in the modern sense.
His spot at No. 19 in the 247Composite is the best since the current recruiting services started tracking such things in the early 2000s. He’s the fifth McDonald’s All-American to sign with USC, joining P.J. Dozier (2015), Terry Dozier (1985), BJ McKie (1995) and Rolando Howell (2000).
P.J. Dozier was the No. 25 player in his class. His teammate and eventual partner leading USC to the Final Four was Sindarius Thornwell, who ranked 30th in the 2013 class.
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The next best since 2002 was eventual football star Bruce Ellington, who was No. 57 in 2010.
Devan Downey didn’t sign with USC, instead transferring from Cincinnati, but he was No. 37 on the on the 247Sports list for 2005.
Going back before that gets tricky, as recruiting rankings were far less organized.
According to a Spartanburg Herald-Journal story from 1999, Howell was considered the No. 9 player in the country at one point by All-Star Report publisher Bob Gibbons. At one point, the Lower Richland product was No. 19 among seniors by HoopScoop.
McKie, from Irmo, was at one point considered No. 26 in his class by HoopScoop.
Gamecocks greats such as Terry Dozier, P.J.’s uncle, Alex English or John Roche came long before players were rated.