With National Signing Day coming up on Feb. 3, here are five things to watch as South Carolina closes on its 2016 recruiting class.
1. More commitments
The Gamecocks have added eight commitments under new head coach Will Muschamp and have 21 total. With six early enrollees and a plan to sign a full 25 in February, USC has room for 10 more prospects. The next commitments could come as soon as this weekend as Muschamp and his staff host the first of three weekends of official visits. The class currently is No. 29 in 247Sports Composite’s team recruiting rankings after hovering in the 70s earlier in this cycle.
2. Class attrition
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It wouldn’t be unusual to lose more commitments, particularly from those who made their pledge to Steve Spurrier and his staff. At least three USC commits will visit other schools this month: receiver Tre Jackson is scheduled to visit Tulane, while offensive lineman Lloyd Cushenberry and defensive lineman Cecil Stallings will make trips to Mississippi State. The Gamecocks have lost three from the class since Muschamp’s arrival (Jordan Smith, defensive end; Kelvin Harmon, receiver; and J.J. Givens, defensive back).
Muschamp has a reputation from his Florida days for “flipping” prospects, or getting them to change their commitments from one school to another. He was able to change the minds of at least 18 recruits in his first three seasons at Florida, according to a report in the (New Orleans) Times-Picayune. He’ll have the chance to flip a few to the Gamecocks in the coming weeks. Five recruits who are committed to other schools are scheduled to visit USC, with Muschamp extending offers to other committed prospects as well.
The highest-rated member of the class, four-star quarterback Brandon McIlwain, is on campus and wrapping up his first week of classes. Still, it appears Muschamp and quarterbacks coach Kurt Roper want to add one more signal-caller to the 2016 group. The staff in December reached out to Spartanburg quarterback Austin Scott and Dorman’s Collin Hill. The focus this week shifted to Western Kentucky commitment Steven Duncan (6-5, 233) of Ashley Ridge High in Charleston. Louisville commit Tylin Oden of Columbia, Tenn., canceled plans to officially visit USC this weekend and is now undecided about making the trip at all.
5. Instate efforts pay off
“Win the state back” was a theme of Muschamp’s introductory press conference last month and in interviews since. In addition to getting Conway receiver Bryan Edwards back into the fold, USC has received commitments from receiver Chavis Dawkins (Byrnes); receiver Diondre Champaigne (Fort Dorchester); and defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw (Goose Creek). Muschamp also made sure defensive back Chris Smith (South Pointe) was able to enroll early. Two uncommitted instate recruits are scheduled to visit USC this month: linebacker T.J. Brunson (Richland Northeast) and athlete Stephen Davis Jr. (Dutch Fork).