Class Snapshot: South Carolina (18 commits)
Current Rank: No. 19 nationally, No. 8 Southeastern Conference 0.8835 average 247Sports Composite rating.
Top Commit: Linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove) played defensive end early in his high school career, but transitioned to linebacker and was one of the better prospects at that position at this year's U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Alabama and Georgia have not given up on the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Allen-Williams, but as several college assistants have commented “he's the face of the South Carolina class” -adding that it will be a tough flip for any program. Allen-Williams is the No. 8 outside linebacker prospect and the No. 102 overall prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports Composite rankings.
Class Strength: This is a balanced class where no position group jumps out at you, but defensive line is where the numbers are high in terms of commitments. South Carolina has already enrolled four-star JUCO defensive tackle Abu Lamin and has pledges from U.S. Army All-American defensive end Dante Sawyer (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett) and a pair of JUCO defensive ends- Darrius Caldwell (Pearl River, Miss.) and Jhaustin Thomas (Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley). The Gamecocks also found defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth at Murphy High in Mobile, Ala., the same school they plucked current Carolina Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn from in the Class of 2006. Depending on academic qualification and ultimate enrollment from several of these prospects, this could be one of the better groups of defensive linemen this cycle.
Sleeper: Wide receiver Tyshun Samuel (Inman, S.C./Chapman) was one of the top overall prospects at the Shine Bowl of the Carolinas this December and out-shined several prospects more highly-regarded in terms of rating (0.8483 247Sports Composite rating is second-lowest in the South Carolina class). He is a power athlete with good size and great hands who should catch a lot of balls in the Gamecocks' offense.
Top Remaining Target: Defensive end Dexter Wideman (Saluda, S.C.) was one of the biggest risers during the December all-star games, shining at the Shrine Bowl and then more than holding his own at the Under Armour All-America Game. The 6-foot-4, 255-pounder also is committed to BCS Champion Florida State. The Gamecocks, however, had Wideman in for an official visit on Jan. 17 and feel good about their chances to flip him from the Noles. If he ends up at South Carolina and is ready to roll for preseason practice, he could play a good bit next season.
Remaining Needs: South Carolina is in a desperate situation at cornerback in terms of immediate need and has four-star D.J. Smith (Marietta, Ga./Walton) and NFL legacy Al Harris Jr. (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) already committed. Two other four-star targets remain: Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) and Chris Lammons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation). Harris is highly-skilled and Smith, Green and Lammons rank among the top 25 cornerback prospects in the 2014 class. South Carolina is battling Georgia for Green, who used to be committed to the Gamecocks, and Wisconsin for Lammons.
Top Recruiter: Running game coordinator/offensive line coach Shawn Elliott is the primary recruiter-of-record for two of South Carolina's big in-state gets- offensive lineman Donell Stanley of Latta and wide receiver Shaq Davidson of Gaffney, both four-star prospects per 247Sports Composite rankings. Elliott also is the primary for Samuel. The former Appalachian State assistant who was on the Mountaineers staff that beat Michigan is a Palmetto State native who has deep connections throughout the Carolinas. South Carolina has won 42 of 53 games since the 40-year old Elliott joined the staff for the 2010 season. He currently ranks as the No. 22 recruiter in the SEC, No. 42 nationally according to 247Sports Recruiter Rankings for 2014.