Gamecocks Football 2012 Signing Day: Defense Analysis

South Carolina signed the players it expected to on Wednesday.  The Gamecocks have a solid class for the future.

Here is our break down on both sides of the ball regarding the Class of 2012.  This is our look at the offensive side

Here are the players who are projected to play defense for the Gamecocks for the next 3-5 years:

Defensive Line

The defensive line was not an area of emphasis this year.  Last year the Gamecocks signed 8 defensive linemen, so there were fewer players targeted.  Carolina raided Georgia, and here are the three commitments, all from the Peach State.

Darius English, 6’6″, 210 (Scout 3 Star / Rivals 3 Star / ESPN 3 Star)

English looks to be made in the mold of a Devin Taylor.  He is a tall, long defensive end whose build could hold some more weight.  With the depth at the position now, he could take a redshirt.

Carlos Hood 6’4″, 275 (Scout 3 Star / Rivals 3 Star / ESPN 3 Star)

Hood projects to play inside.  He committed last spring, so there hasn’t been a lot of media coverage of him, but he should grow into a quality interior lineman.  Like English, he could take a redshirt due to the depth already on campus at his position.

Jhaustin Thomas 6’5″, 230 (Scout 3 Star / Rivals 3 Star / ESPN 3 Star)

Thomas is listed as a defensive end, and will probably get his first shot there.  Like Clowney and Taylor, he is tall, quick and dominating.  There might be a sleeper here.

Linebackers

South Carolina’s defense is designed to have two linebackers on the field in the base set.  Because of that there aren’t going to be big linebacker recruiting classes.  USC signed two recruits this year, which is about what they wanted.  Those two are:

T. J. Holloman 6’2″, 215 (Scout 3 Star / Rivals 3 Star / ESPN 3 Star)

Holloman was South Carolina’s first defensive commitment back in April of 2011.  He is a typical linebacker’s size, but his athleticism will probably get him a look at Spur.

Kaiwan Lewis 6’2″, 225 (Scout 3 Star / Rivals 3 Star / ESPN 4 Star)

The New Jersey native will have an opportunity to play early.  He is probably going to play linebacker after spending some time at defensive end in high school.  I would be mildly surprised if he redshirts, but I don’t expect him to start either.

Defensive Backs

This was an area of emphasis for this year’s class, and the Gamecock signees indicate that effort was a success.  There are high profile players and plenty of them.

Jordan Diggs 6’0″, 200 (Scout 4 Star / Rivals 3 Star / ESPN 4 Star)

At 200 lbs coming out of high school, Diggs projects as a safety or perhaps a Spur.  Like the other incoming DBs he could vie for playing time early.

Chaz Elder 6’2″, 180 (Scout 4 Star / Rivals 3 Star / ESPN 4 Star)

Elder took some time to commit.  It seemed like he was on the cusp of annoucning South Carolina on multiple occasions, but didn’t until late.  He is a sought after commit and one the Gamecocks expect to produce early.

Kyle Fleetwood 5’11″, 200 (Scout 3 Star / Rivals 3 Star / ESPN 3 Star)

Another larger defensive back, Fleetwood looks to be a safety in college.  He comes from the same high school as DT Carlos Hood and RB Mike Davis.

T. J. Gurley 5’10″, 180 (Scout 3 Star / Rivals 3 Star / ESPN 3 Star)

A versatile player from Georgia could play cornerback or safety.  Some scouts are very high on him though it will be difficult to break away from the large group of DBs coming in.

Rico McWilliams 6’0″, 170 (Scout 3 Star / Rivals 3 Star / ESPN 3 Star)

A fast defensive back, McWilliams will probably be a cornerback.  He is a consensus 3 star prospect, but some evaluators (including Flounder) think he has the tools to make an impact early.

Chris Moody 6’0″, 197 (Scout 3 Star / Rivals 3 Star / ESPN 3 Star)

Until very recently, Moody had been committed to Vanderbilt.  Right before signing day, he accepted the 25th scholarship for USC’s class.  He is listed by some as an athlete, and he could run some of the plays in the Wildcat formation.

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