3 Biggest Questions South Carolina Needs to Answer Before 2014 Signing Day
South Carolina is stacked with talent for next season. Though, the future of the team rests with the latest recruiting classes, including the 2014 class.
While 2014 is not a huge recruiting year based on team needs for the Gamecocks, South Carolina is in need of bolstering a couple of units for the immediate and long-term futures of the program.
The 2014 class is rounding out, and South Carolina still needs to address the defensive line and secondary as well as look toward some future power on offense.
A lot of South Carolina's units are set on players, yet there is more to recruiting than landing the players. South Carolina has dominated the in-state recruiting scene, as it tends to snag the top-rated players in the state and draw them away from rival Clemson.
The old ball coach Steve Spurrier and his staff have had a great spree of recruiting, and I expect that to continue as 2014's national signing day approaches. But, some questions still remain.
Here are the three biggest questions South Carolina needs to answer before national signing day.
1. Can South Carolina Boost the Defensive Line Some More?
The Jadeveon Clowney era is coming to an end. Oh, and don't forget the Gamecocks will also lose Chaz Sutton and Kelcy Quarles from the defensive line, too. That means there will be some gaps to fill despite the depth of the position.
The Gamecocks pride themselves on being "Defensive Line University" and have been a prime location for quality defensive linemen. The distant future is set with a top recruit from the 2015 class, Shameik Blackshear, who could be Jadeveon Clowney 2.0.
The immediate future is a little more cloudy.
South Carolina is trying to land a pretty big-time recruit in weak-side defensive end Dante Sawyer. He could be a huge addition to the line with his closing quickness to make stops combined with his instinctual pass-rushing ability to gain the edge off the line.
The defensive line has some spots in place, but the addition of Sawyer can give the unit a solid future talent and a potential immediate impact in the post-Clowney era.
2. Will South Carolina Swipe D.J. Smith from Rival Schools?
Cornerback D.J. Smith is a 4-star cornerback with a great frame and all of the instincts coaches want to see in a hard-nosed, highly involved defensive back.
Smith is highly touted in the South and is interested in a long list of schools, though South Carolina looks to be the favorite. Clemson, Tennessee and other SEC schools are trying to land the talented Smith.
With the loss of Victor Hampton to the draft, Jimmy Legree to graduation and the recent news of Ahmad Christian transferring, Smith could be one of the team's top cover corners going into the 2014 season.
Smith could be a building block of the secondary and the entire defense as soon as he puts on the garnet and black. His presence both on and off the field even as a freshman could have astronomical results for the Gamecocks. They need an excellent defensive back, and Smith looks like he could be that guy.
With a long body and the tackling abilities of a middle linebacker, Smith is always sniffing out the football and breaking up plays. He is raw in coverage, but he can pick things up quickly.
Smith looks to be leaning toward South Carolina, and he will provide a huge boost to the defense as well as not end up in a rival's jersey.
3. Will South Carolina Land a Future Star on Offense?
South Carolina has a highly rated quarterback in line with Connor Mitch, superior depth at running back and a slew of receiving talent, highlighted by incoming 2014 recruit Shaq Davidson. Don't even get me started on how deep the offensive line talent is with guys like D.J. Park and Na'Ty Rodgers.
So why does South Carolina need another star on offense?
Quite frankly, it doesn't hurt, and Mike Davis might only be around for another season.
Running back Derrell Scott is an all-purpose back who plays similar to Mike Davis, which wouldn't be so bad to have for the future of the South Carolina offense. Scott can run, catch and block and is a playmaker, much like Davis. Scott also runs patiently and has excellent vision to go with his compact body.
Running back is a key position for the Gamecocks, and the talent has been there in recent years with Marcus Lattimore and Mike Davis. Scott could be next in line to fill the shoes of great running backs past.
Running back is the most likely spot that South Carolina can land a future star at seeing as how Shaq Davidson and Connor Mitch are likely to be studs at their respective positions.