A strong finish to the 2017 recruiting class was no surprise for South Carolina coach Will Muschamp.
“To be honest with you, when you’re going into it, you kind of know,” Muschamp said Wednesday after the Gamecocks received five commitments on National Signing Day.
Offensive lineman Jordon Carty, defensive linemen Brad Johnson, Javon Kinlaw and Aaron Sterling and defensive back Jamyest Williams all entered the day saying they were undecided between South Carolina and at least one other school, but the Gamecocks coaching staff had a very good indication when they went to bed Tuesday night about how Wednesday would go.
“I know everybody likes to show the war room and everybody jumping up and down and hugging each other, but for the most part you usually know,” Muschamp said.
Many South Carolina fans spent Wednesday agonizing over Williams, a four-star cornerback from Loganville, Ga., whose final choice was between the Gamecocks and Georgia. Williams didn’t reveal his decision publicly until he signed at 2:45 p.m., but had already sent all his paperwork to South Carolina.
The Gamecocks signed 24 players in a class that was ranked No. 20 in the nation and No. 8 in the SEC by 247Sports.com’s composite rankings.
Home State Haul
The Gamecocks signed the top three, and five of the top six players in South Carolina, based on 247Sports.com’s composite player rankings. Wide receivers OrTre Smith and Shi Smith and defensive lineman Brad Johnson were the most highly rated players in the state, with tight end Will Register and offensive lineman Summie Carlay coming in at Nos. 5 and 6.
“They are not anybody we are falling back on. These are guys we offered early in the process that we knew were important for us moving forward with our program,” Muschamp said. “This state has got really good players and really good coaching.”
Quarterback Jake Bentley didn’t speak to the media this season because of Muschamp’s rule barring first-year freshmen from media availability, but Bentley made an appearance Wednesday on the SEC Network during an on-campus interview.
“I think we are going to see a more explosive offense just building on that bowl game, and then defensively, I think we will be better the second year in Muschamp’s system and guys returning who know what he wants,” Bentley said. “I think we’ll be a far better team.”
On the recruiting class, Bentley said, “A lot of great guys coming in. Just more weapons for us, more depth.”
Smith, an early enrollee, is out of the walking boot he arrived on campus with, but might not be ready for the first week of spring practice. Smith’s senior season was cut short by an ankle injury that required surgery.
“He’s progressing extremely well,” Muschamp said.
If Smith isn’t available for the first week of spring practice, which begins on Feb. 25, he’ll return for the final three weeks after spring break, Muschamp said.
Drew Dinsmore, of Collins Hill High in Suwanee, Ga., announced plans to walk on with the Gamecocks. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound three-star prospect had offers from Cornell and Eastern Kentucky. Wren’s Jay Urich is the only signed QB in USC’s class.