A look a five under-the-radar – but not under-rated – recruits in South Carolina’s 2012 football signing class.
Darius English, defensive end, Powder Springs, Ga.
English committed to USC in June 2011 then went on to have a monster senior year that featured 100 tackles, 21 sacks and Parade All-American honors.
... “With his length what he’s able to do, not only in rushing the passer, showing strength off the edge but also in his ability to get into throwing lanes and disrupt the short passing games with his long arms. He could be a kid that we’re talking about in a couple of years as being a freak of a kid and an NFL-type prospect.” – Barton Simmons, 247Sports national recruiting analyst
... “He’s a perfect fit for what Carolina does. They love those long and rangy defensive ends.” – Chad Simmons, Scout national recruiting analyst
Jerell Adams, tight end, Fork Union Military Academy, Fork Union, Va.
Jerell Adams, who played all over the field for Scott’s Branch High in South Carolina, was a gem in USC’s class of 2011. He turned heads after converting from quarterback to tight end and catching three touchdowns in the 2010 Shrine Bowl. Things didn’t work out academically, so Adams headed to Fork Union for a few months. Now he’s back.
... “Coming out of Fork Union, he’s already got that semi-redshirt under his belt as far as getting one year out of high school physically. He’ll be ready to play. He’s a very athletic kid.” – Chad Simmons
... “Jerell Adams could be a difference-maker. He is very athletic and can stretch the field. Adams is a mismatch guy because he’s so tall and athletic.” – Mike Farrell, Rivals national recruit analyst
Kwinton Smith, wide receiver, Dillon High, Dillon
Smith makes this list if only because you don’t hear as much about him as you do fellow S.C. receiver Shaq Roland, the state’s top player. Smith, by most rankings, is a four-star prospect who picked USC over offers from Florida, LSU and Alabama. He had a down year statistically (564 yards, 10 touchdowns), largely because he rarely played into the second half in Dillon’s run-first offense.
... “Kwinton Smith, to me, is such a fluid kid. Is he the second coming of Alshon Jeffery? Maybe so.” – Chad Simmons
... “Kwinton Smith is a big physical guy. He is your big wide receiver that you’re just going to throw the ball up there and let him catch it. He’s not going to beat you deep. But third and six, he’s a guy who’s going to come in handy coming across the middle.” – Mike Farrell
Cody Waldrop, offensive lineman, Armwood High, Seffner, Fla.
Waldrop is a three-time all-state selection for the national powerhouse Armwood Hawks, which won a state championship and finished No. 3 in USA Today’s final top 25.
... “The kid’s a mauler, extremely physical. If it’s the right situation at offensive guard, he could come in and compete for playing time.” – Chad Simmons
... “Cody Waldrop has kind of old-school mentality. He’s going to bring some nastiness to that offensive line. He’s a really good player.” – Jamie Newberg, ESPN Southeast recruiting analyst
Rico McWilliams, cornerback, Lovejoy High, Lovejoy, Ga.
McWilliams has the size, physicality and athleticism to play early at South Carolina. For Lovejoy, he got hurt his junior year and only played about half the season. This year Lovejoy lost in the state championship.
... “I think if he plays as a full junior year, he’s able to go out and do those camps and really market himself as a top senior. I think he would have had many more top SEC offers like Alabama and LSU. He’s really a four-star kid potentially. If there’s anybody that South Carolina scooped up and stole, it’s him.” – Chad Simmons
... “Rico McWilliams is a big-time steal. He is a really good player that I envision playing corner.” – Jamie Newberg