With the recent success of the South Carolina football program, the Gamecocks have used that to their advantage when it comes to recruiting.
South Carolina has themselves in position to land a highly-rated class in 2014 as well as stepping out and focusing on other players in the 2015 class and beyond.
This weekend, several prospects were on campus for Junior Day as well as a few others who visited during the week for one of the Gamecocks' spring practices.
In regards to Junior Day, South Carolina hosted several players like Bryson Allen-Williams, Drew Barker, Milan Richard, Dexter Wideman, Christian Taylor, Derek Bennett, Chris Williams, Tyler Harris and more.
Allen-Williams is a name that should be very familiar for Gamecock recruiting fans as he's been a long-time lean for the Gamecocks for several months. He, and his family, all think highly of the Gamecocks coaching staff and he echoed how much he enjoyed his visit earlier today.
Coach Ward mentioned that Allen-Williams would be used in a role similar to Eric Norwood. He's definitely got the versatility to handle that spot as he will likely fluctuate between linebacker and defensive end in certain packages. South Carolina has success there and should be another selling factor for the Gamecocks when it comes to gaining a commitment from Allen-Williams. South Carolina still leads after his visit.
Quarterback Drew Barker made the trip down from Kentucky and is still hanging around Columbia through the end of the weekend. South Carolina's only quarterback offer is getting an opportunity for some quality time around the program and this is the Gamecocks chance to make sure and sell Barker on the program and erase any doubts he may have. Kentucky has made Barker their main priority in this recruiting class and its paid off. However, it'll be hard to erase the lead South Carolina has built and USC will have him on campus again for the spring game in a few weeks. Barker is still likely to make a decision within a few months.
Tyler Harris appears to be the secondary option at quarterback for the Gamecocks right now. Should Barker commit to another school, the Gamecocks will increase their efforts on Harris and would likely offer. Harris has seen his offer list grow in the past few weeks with Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi State all throwing offers out to the four-star prospect. However, this is a guy that South Carolina could make a push for if they need to. For know, it all hinges on Barker.
Derek Barnett and Milan Richard are two of the Gamecocks' main tight end recruits for the 2014 class. South Carolina is also heavily involved with instate players KC Crosby and Kalan Ritchie and certainly have their hands full when it comes to the tight end position. Barnett is a big guy who's built in the mold of Justice Cunningham. The Gamecocks could end up taking two of the four here but it'll be interesting to see who those prospects may be.
In looking at some other recruiting news, running back prospects Derrell Scott made a visit to Columbia on Thursday and got some one-on-one time with the coaching staff for South Carolina's spring practice. Scott made the trip early in the morning and stayed till early evening, taking in all that the Gamecocks had to offer. Havelock has been great to the Gamecocks for the last few years and Scott's recruitment could be one that continues the trend for South Carolina. The Gamecocks still sit out front here.
Another prospect was in town for Thursday's practice and that was Andrew Marshall. Marshall is from Georgia and plays at the same high school as 2013 signee Mohamed Camara. He currently doesn't have an offer at this time but is one offensive lineman to watch in this upcoming class.
In 2015 recruiting news, Albert Huggins picked up a big offer this past week when Alabama stepped forward with an offer to the talented defensive lineman. He's already got offers from Florida, FSU, Clemson and South Carolina. He, along with Shamiek Blackshear, are expected to be contenders for the top spot in the 2015 class instate and could be top recruits nationally as well.
Finally, the Gamecocks reached out to Shai McKenzie and extended an offer to the four-star running back in the class of 2014. He's from Pennsylvania and is being recruited by GA Mangus. South Carolina has limited spots available so they will unlikely take more than one running back recruit in this upcoming class. McKenzie has a load of offers but the Gamecocks' standing with Derrell Scott right now more than likely means McKenzie becomes a viable secondary option for the Gamecocks.
As you can see, this is an extremely strong list of players for the Gamecocks. The 2014 class is expected to be small, but loaded with star potential. Recruiting is a major part of the Gamecocks success and from the look of it, it will definitely help the Gamecocks stay at the forefront of the SEC for years to come.