A college football team usually has to wait until spring to get a look at its incoming early enrollee freshmen facing off with college-level talent.
Yet South Carolina’s players and staff got to skip the wait with defensive lineman M.J. Webb.
The 6-foot-3, 270-pound lineman from Madison, Ga., graduated early and arrived at USC over the weekend in time for developmental bowl practices. He showed well in the early going, and older teammates expect getting his feet wet now will only benefit him down the road.
“I think it’s going to help him a lot,” guard Zack Bailey said. “I’m not saying that people should leave high school early or anything like that, but the earlier you do get in here, the more it’s going to benefit you. You’re going to learn plays faster. You’re going to develop faster than other guys might, and it’s going to give you that time. So I think it’s going to benefit him a lot.”
Bailey said Webb worked with the defensive tackles in one-on-one pass drills, but his position hardly seems set. Defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth said Webb can play both inside and outside and will probably move around the line.
Webb was listed as a defensive end coming out of high school, but with his build, there’s flexibility. The Gamecocks had a similar prospect in freshman Keir Thomas, who signed at 245 pounds as a projected defensive end or Buck and ended up playing tackle most of the season at 265 pounds.
It’s still early and Webb is quite new to the college level. Teammates see his potential, but there’s still a way to go.
“He wasn’t able to do as much as we thought,” Stallworth said. “What impressed me, he’s quick off the ball, his speed. He’s explosive. I’m looking forward to that next year.”
Note: Senior safety Chris Moody said incoming junior college defensive backs Kaleb Chalmers and Keisean Nixon aren’t on campus and practicing. Coach Will Muschamp said they might join USC for bowl practice.