South Carolina defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson had to make do through the 2016 season.
His secondary was depleted to the point of only having three true cornerbacks, and one of the two safety spots was a revolving door that mostly relied on players who started the season at other spots. So in the last recruiting cycle, Robinson and the Gamecocks loaded up, and he broke down the haul for GamecocksOnline.
“Another great get for us. A guy who is dynamic with the ball in his hands, will be our punt returner, kick returner. He will play nickel and outside at corner some. I'm very excited with what he brings to the program from a toughness standpoint. Excited about him being part of the family.”
“A guy who came to camp and earned his scholarship. Did a really, really good job throughout his senior season of attacking the football. The one thing I would say about Tavyn, when you call the guy, every conversation was about football, about the tendencies of the team that he's getting ready to play, all the things that let you know he's an intelligent football player with great football IQ.”
“A guy that's versatile. Also, is a punt returner, kick returner at the junior college level. A guy that can play any position in the secondary, which is what you need in our type of defense. A guy that can learn, so I'm excited about him and what he brings as far as from a physicality standpoint and coverage.”
“When you look at his tape, you see the physicality. A guy that came into camp, did a really good job of covering man-to-man. I guy that was able to, turn on the tape, he could tackle, he can run. A versatile guy that played both ways.”
“What a terrific get for us. Very excited about what he brings to the program. The guy is electrifying. He played quarterback. He played running back. He played a lot of different various positions for his high school team. Excited to have him because he's smart, he's athletic and he's exactly what we need at the safety position.”
”A guy that had experience. A guy that had been through another program and practiced against college guys and different things like that. Just so excited to have him in the program. Very quick and fast. Got a good sense for football.”
The Gamecocks return the cornerback trio of Rashad Fenton, Chris Lammons and Jamarcus King, plus safety D.J. Smith and utility defensive back Steven Montac.
But Will Muschamp said late in the season the team needed more from the defensive backs, so no roles are set.
Chalmers, a former Clemson player, and Nixon could be in good positions for roles in 2017 because of their junior college experience, and the Muschamp-Robinson pairing hasn’t been shy about playing young players if they’re good enough.