Breaking down the 2016 recruiting class

So Will Muschamp has inked his first signing class at South Carolina. The class topped out at No. 26, according to, and finished with 24 players committing to come to Columbia.

Here’s a breakdown of each position in the recruiting class.


Those who committed: Brandon McIlwain (early enrollee)

Stars: 4

Height: 6-foot

Weight: 198 pounds

What to be excited about: McIlwain is probably the most talked-about guy from the class. He’s a dual-threat guy who can make an impact right away with his passing and running abilities (he combined for over 3,200 yards and 49 touchdowns his senior season). And, according to Muschamp, will have a chance to start right away.

What to be know: McIlwain isn’t your average SEC quarterback stature-wise. He’s only 6-foot, but his running ability could negate that disadvantage.

Running back

Those who committed: Rico Dowdle, C.J. Freeman (early enrollee)

Average stars: 3

Average height: 5-foot-11

Average weight: 202 pounds

What to be excited about: Both guys can be big-name guys here. Freeman averaged 150 yards per game his senior season, and Dowdle rushed of over 2,500 in his career. Both are speedy backs who fit well into Kurt Roper’s up-tempo scheme.

What to be know: They are both inexperienced, and it could take them a little while to catch on to the college game.

Wide Receiver

Those who committed: Korey Banks Jr., Randrecous Davis, Chavis Dawkins, Bryan Edwards (early enrollee), Kiel Pollard

Average stars: 3.2

Average height: 6-foot

Average weight: 195.6 pounds

What to be excited about: These guys will get some early playing time. With Deebo Samuel and D.J. Neal the only receivers with game experience, these incoming guys will be competing for starting jobs early on. Bryan Edwards is the guy to watch in this group. He’s 6-foot-3, 200-pound, possession receiver who can be a big target in the middle of the field.

What to know: Some of the guys will take some molding, especially in an up-tempo offense. With Samuel and Neal on the team, and Jalen Christian coming back from injury, some of these freshman will likely redshirt.

Tight end

Those who committed: Evan Hinson, Robert Tucker Jr.

Average stars: 3

Average height: 6-foot-3

Average weight: 233 pounds

What to be excited about: These guys are big, and they’ll likely compete for the starting position vacated by Jerell Adams. Hinson is very promising recruit on the field and the hardwood and could play for Frank Martin’s team as well.

What to know: South Carolina has been blessed with good tight ends over the last five years with Adams and Rory Anderson. It’ll be hard to replace them, and it will be up to a lot of younger guys to fill the void. It could be a learning curve and take them some time to get used to the offense.

Offensive line

Those who committed: Akeem Cooperwood, Sadarius Hutcherson, Pika Leota, Will Putnam

Average stars: 2.5

Average height: 6-foot-5

Average weight: 294 pounds

What to be excited about: Akeem Cooperwood. The guy is colossal (6-foot-7, 359 pounds). Putting him on the line would be the equivalent of maybe, say, a brick wall at guard. South Carolina’s known for good offensive lines, and these guys are talented enough to live up to that with some coaching.

What to know: Some of the guys are a little undersized (Hutcherson is only 30 pounds heavier than Bryan Edwards). If these guys can get in the gym and get a little heavier, they can make a huge impact.

Defensive line

Those who committed:  Griffin GentryKobe Smith (early enrollee), Stephon Taylor,Keir Thomas (early enrollee), Aaron ThompsonDarius Whitfield and Dennis Wonnum Jr.

Average stars: 3

Average height: 6-foot-3

Average weight: 263 pounds

What to be excited about: The depth of this class is remarkable. This is the biggest group of signees and Stephon Taylor will be a big impact on the line.

What to know: It’ll be hard to know what they can do right away. South Carolina has some guys ahead of them on the depth chart and the freshman could be a year or two away from starting.


Those who committed: T.J. Brunson

Stars: 3

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 225 pounds

What to be excited about: A local boy, he has measureables similar to Skai Moore (6-foot-2, 205 pounds). Moore is a little speedier, but Brunson could be similar in the way he gets around the field.

What to know: Brunson is still a year or so away from getting a shot. The Gamecocks are stacked at linebacker this year, and a redshirt or backup role could give him good opportunity to learn from experienced guys.


Those who committed: Jamarcus King, Chris Smith (early enrollee)

Average stars: 3.5

Average height: 5-foot-11

Average weight: 169 pounds

What to be excited about: After a weak showing from the Gamecock secondary this year, these guys can come in and make an impact. King had 10 pass breakups this year in junior college and Smith had five interceptions his senior season at state powerhouse South Pointe.

What to know: Wide receivers in the SEC are pretty good, and they will need to learn how to get physical with those guys. It’ll take some coaching, but these guys have some talent already.