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South Carolina's 2011 class picked up a late addition when Jadeveon Clowney signed with the Gamecocks on Valentine's Day of 2011.
This bumped the Gamecocks up to the No. 18 spot in the Rivals recruiting rankings. This class was heavy in prospects with 32, but there were several players who expect to play major roles for the Gamecocks.
A few of those players are:
- DE Jadeveon Clowney
- WR Damiere Byrd
- DT Phillip Dukes
- WR Shamier Jeffery
- DB Sheldon Royster
- OL Brandon Shell
- TE Rory Anderson
- RB Shon Carson
- QB Tanner McEvoy
- RB Brandon Wilds
This class had a lot of balance, but its prized piece was Jadeveon Clowney. He's considered one of those rare players that doesn't come around every year, and he performed well in 2011. He has room to grow and lot to learn, but expect a huge leap in 2012 for Clowney.
Byrd, Carson, Shell, Anderson, Jeffery and McEvoy are part of the future on offense for the Gamecocks. Shell is the future starter at tackle for the Gamecocks, while Carson is the change-of-pace running back. He missed the 2011 season with injury.
Jeffery, Anderson and Byrd are expected to become part of the group to replace Alshon Jeffery in 2012. Byrd is a speedster and Jeffery looks like a star at wide receiver. Anderson was a nice surprise at tight end for 2012.
Brandon Wilds ended up being a huge surprise for South Carolina, replacing Marcus Lattimore as the starter and rushing for three 100-yard games towards the end of the season. He has a future on this football team.
Dukes and Royster should step right in during the 2012 season and become fixtures for the South Carolina defense for years to come. Both players could end up starting for South Carolina as red-shirt freshmen and are expected to play big roles next season.
A few other names to watch are LB Cedrick Cooper, WR KJ Brent, DB Ahmad Christian, DE Gerald Dixon, DT Deon Green and TE's Drew Owens and Jerrell Adams. Adams would end up becoming part of the 2012 class due to grades.
This class has a lot of star players for the Gamecocks and gives a glimpse into the future of South Carolina football. There's a lot of bright talent here, and things look good for continued success for South Carolina if this group can continue to grow and become fixtures on the field in 2012.