As recruiting in the 2014 cycle comes fully into focus following the signing of 2013 class, we take a look some of the states that are cycling up in terms of talent. We began first with Louisiana last week, and now shift gears to the state of South Carolina, which is among the top NFL producing states per capita.
Wide receiver Shaq Davidson is the No. 68 overall prospect in the Class of 2014 247Composite rankings.
After somewhat lean cycles in 2012 and 2013, the 2014 class in The Palmetto State has the early appearance of the best since the star-studded 2011 class led by the nations No. 1 prospect, Jadeveon Clowney. While the 2014 class may not have the same star power at the top, it features impressive depth and on par with recent top classes.
Leading the way in the class is a trio of Top247 prospects that are among the best in the country at their respective positions. Offensive guard prospect Donell Stanley (Latta) checks in with the highest 247Composite ranking at No. 39, while wide receiver Shaq Davidson (Gaffney) is currently ranked No. 68 in the 247Composite. Rounding out the talented trio is outside linebacker and recent Florida commitment Christian Miller (Columbia/Spring Valley), who is No. 91 in the 247Composite.
While Miller is off the board, both Stanley and Davidson are in play with both considered leans to the Gamecocks with both regional national offers being considered.
In a state that has recently produced highly-regarded defensive linemen such as Clowney, Da’Quan Bowers, Sam Montgomery, Robert Quinn, Carlos Dunlap, Cliff Matthews and Devin Taylor among others; the 2014 class looks like more on are the horizon.
Defensive tackle prospect Dexter Wideman (Saluda) is currently the highest ranked prospect at the position, checking in at No. 108 in the 247Composite. The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Wideman is currently considered a South Carolina lean over Clemson, Florida, Michigan and a host of others.
Joining Wideman as highly regarded defensive tackles are Naquez Pringle (Hemingway/Carvers Bay) and Poona Ford (Hilton Head Island). The 6-foot-2, 270-pound Pringle currently favors South Carolina over Clemson, and checks in at No. 222 in the 247Composite. The least publicized to this point, Ford, may have the highest upside of the trio. The 6-foot-1, 282-pound all-state selection is among the most explosive athletes at his position nationally in the 2014 class, and has a quickly growing offer list consisting of South Carolina, Arkansas, Louisville, Missouri and a number of others.
Add Zeek Rodney (Rock Hill/South Pointe) (who some coaches feel is the best pure player at defensive tackle in the state) and K.J. Ford (Bluffton) to the list and the defensive tackle position is filled with depth and athleticism.
On offense, four-star quarterback Jacob Park (Goose Creek/Stratford) and three-star running back Caleb Kinlaw (Goose Creek) top their respective positions. The 6-foot-3, 202-pound Park, No. 123 in the Top247, is considering offers from Virginia Tech, Alabama and North Carolina; while Kinlaw has offers from Tennessee, Clemson, North Carolina and South Carolina.
While Davidson, Park and Kinlaw all bring talent to their respective positions, the position that is the most talented early on is tight end. Clemson commitment Cannon Smith (Columbia/Hammond School) is the top ranked checking in at No. 170 in the 247Composite, and is joined by versatile four-star Kevin Crosby (Bamberg-Ehrhardt) and the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Kalan Ritchie (Goose Creek). The 6-foot-2, 236-pound Crosby picked up an offer from LSU last week to go with offers from Clemson, South Carolina, Auburn and a host of others. Ritchie, who has as much upside as any offensive prospect in the class at tight end, has offers from Clemson, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and others.