USC Gamecocks Football

These young Gamecock defenders are turning heads among teammates, coaches

First look: Jaycee Horn, USC freshman defensive back

Defensive back Jaycee Horn signed with South Carolina out of Alpharetta High in Alpharetta, Ga., as part of the 2018 recruiting class.
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Defensive back Jaycee Horn signed with South Carolina out of Alpharetta High in Alpharetta, Ga., as part of the 2018 recruiting class.

Steven Montac has become a veteran presence on the back end of the South Carolina defense.

And he has an eye on two of its newest members.

There’s already been a good bit of praise for Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu. The former was a top recruit who has showed well early in camp, the latter a towering talent who inserted himself into the conversation at cornerback quickly.

Count Montac and Will Muschamp among the chorus.

“They’re going to be great,” Montac said. “Not good, they’re going to be great. I see them leaving as juniors. They’re very good.”

Early in practice, they appeared to be getting second-team work and occasionally first-team looks. Both are taller players, Mukuamu at 6-foot-4 and Horn at 6-foot-1, and add length Muschamp and defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson wanted to bring in.

Muschamp said Horn had an interception Saturday and that he will “play a bunch” this fall. He said Mukuamu has answered questions about his strength in the spring.

“(Jaycee) is a good football player,” Muschamp said. “He’s got a good work ethic. He’s got really good ball skills down the field. He matches up well against some really good receivers that we have.”

The pair is working behind a set of seniors, so they could well be the future of South Carolina’s secondary before long and will likely have an impact this season.

“I don’t see why they shouldn’t,” Montac said. “Jaycee’s very, very good. He’s like a young Pat P out there. Israel, you don’t see too many 6-foot-4 corners. In pads, he’s probably 6-foot-5.”

Pat P refers to Patrick Peterson the seven-time Pro Bowler for the Arizona Cardinals.

USC already has good players at the spots in Rashad Fenton and Texas A&M transfer Nick Harvey, someone who Muschamp described as once being an elite SEC player. USC has also had to rely, basically, on two players at the outside spots for most of the past two seasons.

But with the freshman pair waiting in the wings, that might change.

“Two good corners,” Fenton said. “They are going to be some problems for the whole SEC. Those guys are looking good.”

South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp with an update on how the defensive backs are progressing ahead of the 2018 season.

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