USC Recruiting

What the experts are saying as four-star Gamecocks target closes in on announcement

Update: Murphy picked UNC on Monday.

South Carolina has long been in the thick of things for four-star North Carolina defensive end Myles Murphy, and he would be a big catch for the staff to say the least.

The Big Spur’s John Whittle wrote adding the No. 117 player in the 247 Sports composite rankings would move the Gamecocks 2020 class from 19th in the country to 13th in the country. The 6-foot-4, 280 pounder said at points USC was his leader, but less than a day before his 3 p.m. Monday announcement, recent predictions from the experts have started to take a turn toward home state UNC.

In 247’s crystal ball, there are 11 predictions, while Rivals’ futurecast has 10. All 13 picks that came in before the end of June project him joining the Gamecocks.

But every pick in the past week, including national voices such as Adam Friedman, Steve Wiltfong and Brian Dohn.

A shift in those expert picks can often mean a change in the rumblings behind the scenes. It’s often a strong indicator, though not foolproof (Gamecocks linebacker Mohamed Kaba was a unanimous pick to N.C. State until the moment he picked USC).

Murphy told told TV station WFMY he had already made his decision. He visited USC, UNC, Florida and Alabama over the past few months. He explained how the staff he’s joining plans to use him.

“They see me fitting in as a 3-technique or a four or a five,” Murphy said. “They’re telling me I can play anywhere. I can play d-tackle, d-end. Any mismatches on the field, they can put me on there.”

Alabama’s defensive structure doesn’t primarily used a 3-technique, though almost all defenses these days are flexible with their fronts. South Carolina’s can, as does Florida’s, while UNC is installing a new scheme.

South Carolina also has a commitment from one of his high school teammates in four-star wide receiver Mike Wyman.

If the Gamecocks were able to pull in Murphy, he would join Alex Huntley as the second blue chip lineman in the class and the third defensive lineman overall. USC is also right in the mix with Conway four-star Tonka Hemingway and after players such as five-star Columbia-area lineman Jordan Burch and Tennessee four-star Reggie Grimes.

Will Muschamp’s staff has made progress in North Carolina the past few years, but his former boss, Mack Brown has been making headway with his first full class. The Tar Heels have four commits among the 11 top-17 players in the state that are committed and are in on a few other big targets.

South Carolina faces North Carolina to open the season in Charlotte on Aug. 31.