South Carolina recruiting could finish with a bang.
Or it could end on a whimper.
Either way, the next week will be an interesting one for South Carolina as the Gamecocks await the decision for several recruits left on their recruiting board. It includes two critical positions for the Gamecocks - linebacker and defensive tackle - and a long list of names that would definitely add value to the South Carolina roster.
At the defensive tackle position, South Carolina is down to one final recruit and that's Delray Beach's Keith Bryant. The Gamecocks were in the mix for Deandrin Senat, who committed to USF earlier this week.
South Carolina hosted Bryant on an official visit this past weekend and all reports coming out of the Gamecocks camp were good vibes for the Gamecocks. Was it enough to overcome FSU or Miami? We'll find out in a week. Bryant has individuals around him that would like to see him play college football under Steve Spurrier. His family all loaded up and made the trip this past weekend which is always a good sign. However, it's still incredibly tough to pull a top notch player from the state of Florida over schools like FSU and Miami. It's safe to say South Carolina has done just about everything they can do to convince Bryant to become a Gamecock.
The other critical position left for the Gamecocks is at linebacker. South Carolina has several names hanging in the balance here and they are Skai Moore, Yannick Ngakoue, Jonathan Walton and Tyell Lyons. All seem to have the Gamecocks in their top two schools but the Gamecocks could possibly strike out on all four. It does appear that they stand a better chance of landing one of them, though, and that's Moore.
Moore took an official visit to South Carolina two weekends ago and recently tripped to Rutgers this past weekend, the school he was formerly committed to. Moore decided today to cancel a trip to Arkansas and has decided not to visit Tennessee this weekend. His final three schools are South Carolina, Rutgers and Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks are the most high-profile team out of the group, closer to home and offer immediate playing time. It's hard to see South Carolina losing out on Moore at this point so this may be one of the final prospects that the Gamecocks land in 2013.
Ngakoue, Lyons and Walton have all visited South Carolina within the past two weekends and all had extremely good visits to Columbia. Walton's trip was so good, he nearly committed before leaving. That's unfortunate for the Gamecocks as he made an official visit to Auburn this past weekend and is now deciding between both schools. Walton is from the state of Alabama and "dreamed" of playing in the Iron Bowl. It's a likely conclusion that Walton will commit to Auburn in the coming week.
Lyons is a new name that popped up on the board for the Gamecocks in recent weeks and were able to work out an official visit this past weekend. The Florida State commitment has some interest in South Carolina but he's expected to hang tight with the Seminoles. He was a class shy of enrolling early at FSU and wanted to make sure he was making the right decision hence the visit to Columbia. I wouldn't expect him to make the switch to the Gamecocks.
Ngakoue is down to Maryland and South Carolina. He was one time committed to the Terrapins but backed off the pledge before focusing on a select group of schools. Those schools dwindled down to South Carolina and Maryland and he's expected to decide between the two. South Carolina, again, offers a higher profile school with immediate playing time in a highly ranked defense. Maryland has the family feel being close to home and can offer a comfort level that South Carolina doesn't have. Like Bryant, South Carolina has made its pitch and made it well. There's not much else they can do to convince Ngakoue to come to Columbia. They'll have to wait and see what happens in the coming days and whether or no Ngakoue makes that choice. I'd expect Ngakoue to stick with home and play for Maryland.
It's been an interesting recruiting season for the Gamecocks. They filled up early and often months ago and were seemingly left with just a few remaining prospects left during the final months of recruiting. They did pick up Na'Ty Rodgers and David Williams during the month of January, which were two big recruits for the Gamecocks.
Some may say they didn't close well if they strike out on their remaining prospects. You can argue that to a degree. They definitely fell short in their linebacker recruitment if they miss out but you do have to look at who is committed and who is currently on the roster. This team is loaded with talent and an excellent coaching staff. They've been able to get a lot of value out of their players the last few years and I expect the same for the 2013 recruiting. There are a lot of high character/high quality players that make up this recruiting class and they will certainly continue the winning ways for the Gamecocks in the near future.
National Signing Day is Wednesday, February 6th.