With college football's national signing day inching closer, college staffs are starting the stretch run to finish the 2013 cycle. In our latest “Finish Line” feature, 247Sports and TheBigSpur.com take a look at what left for South Carolina in the 2013 cycle, which is a class currently with 22 commitments.
David Williams is the top running back prospet on South Carolina's 2013 board.
David Williams, RB Philadelphia (Pa.) Imhotep Institute Charter
If there is a prospect remaining in the 2013 class that many feel will end up playing for the Gamecocks, it’s Williams. The 6-foot-0, 195-pound back has long been a South Carolina lean, but the work is not done for Steve Spurrier and staff.
TheBigSpur.com’s Wes Mitchell on Williams’ recruitment: "South Carolina has long been the leader for the four-star running back. At times Williams had listed Tennessee as a co-leader with the Gamecocks, but he officially dropped the Volunteers this week with the news that Derek Dooley was fired. Williams took an official visit to Arizona State on Sept. 8 and could officially visit Ohio State this weekend. Miami, Nebraska, Wisconsin and now potentially Notre Dame are also in the mix but it would be a surprise if he didn't ultimately end up at South Carolina. An official visit date hasn't been set but Williams has said the Gamecocks will get the last official.”
Jaelen Strong, WR, Los Angeles (Calif.) Pierce Community College
South Carolina continues to look to add a big wide receiver to the 2013 class, and the top target could be the former Philadelphia standout. The competition for the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder is many, including Arizona State, Mississippi State and Oregon State. There is some question about when exactly Strong will be able to graduate from Pierce.
Mitchell on Strong’s recruitment: "South Carolina hasn't offered the JUCO receiver yet but he's still one to watch where the Gamecocks are concerned. Strong is friends with running back target David Williams and with likely three years of eligibility left, Strong could be the perfect bigger receiver for the Gamecocks to try to add to their receiving corps as they only plan to take one this cycle.”
Taj Williams, WR/Ath., Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln
One of the top prospects in the Southeast region still uncommitted is the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Williams. The high school cornerback and wide receiver remains on the board of several programs in the region while he works to make the needed qualification improvements.
Mitchell on Williams’ recruitment: "Williams has claimed South Carolina as his leader for some time but has also had many planned visit to campus that have just never taken place for whatever reason. Williams also places Alabama, Florida State and Louisville in his top four (not a take for the Noles or Tide at present). It's not clear exactly where Williams fits in with the Gamecocks' class since they only plan to take one receiver and overall numbers are limited, but he's still one to keep an eye on."
Na’Ty Rodgers, OT, Pomfret (Md.) Maurice J. McDonough
The top offensive line prospect on the board for South Carolina is the 6-foot-5, 275-pound Rodgers. Rodgers visited Oklahoma in late September, but it appears the race for the Maryland prospect will come down to the Gamecocks, and the newest member of the Big 10, with Washington still playing the sleeper roll.
Mitchell on Rodgers’ recruitment: "Rodgers had been a heavy South Carolina lean for months and has made the drive down from Maryland for unofficial visits three times during the season. This week, with the news of Maryland's move to the Big Ten, Rodgers said that Maryland is now tied at the top with the Gamecocks. He'll take an official visit to Maryland in December and South Carolina in January but it would be a surprise if he doesn't ultimately end up in Columbia. He plans to announce at the Under Armour All-American game."
Keith Bryant, DT, Delray Beach (Fla.) Atlantic
Like with a number of other Miami (Fla.) commitments, there is uncertainty surrounding the recruitment of defensive tackle Keith Bryant. While the 6-foot-1, 292-pounder remains committed to the Hurricanes, he will officially visit South Carolina and Florida State with a switch still a possibility.
Mitchell on Rodgers’ recruitment: "The Miami commitment visited South Carolina for its win over Georgia earlier this season and was blown away by the atmosphere. While Bryant has been committed since January, there have been strong indications that a switch is possible. The question is, to which team? Bryant plans officials to both South Carolina and Florida State and each could be in the running. South Carolina defensive backs coach Grady Brown has done an excellent job getting the Gamecocks in the mix and has forged a great relationship with Bryant."
Yannick Ngakoue, ILB, Washington (DC) Friendship Academy
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Ngakoue is one of the top uncommitted linebacker prospects in the 2013 class. The Gamecocks are one of five teams expected to receive and official visit, but Spurrier and staff will have to fight off the home town program to ink the hard-hitting linebacker.
"The former Maryland commitment has a top five of Maryland, Miami, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia in no particular order and plans to officially visit all five schools. Ngakoue took a visit to South Carolina over the summer and they're in the mix, but Ngakoue isn't one to do many interviews, so it's hard to tell just which programs might be standing out at this point. The five official visits will be huge here."