What South Carolina’s Will Muschamp said about each of his February signees
Will Muschamp National Signing Day News Conference — 2/6/19
"It's great to be here. We're glad you guys are here. It's an exciting day to be a Gamecock, andobviously we got better today with the four young men that have signed with us. As I say every single year, we'll know about this signing class in two or three years. You look back at last season, at our 2018 class, 16 of the guys that signed have played. Six have started. Some of that was attrition by injury, but all of those guys gained valuable experience. I saw there was a stat, in our first three seasons, I think we've played as many true freshmen as anybody in the country. Obviously, the opportunity is there. If you're good enough, you'll play. If you're the best, you'll start. Our guys understand that. Two guys, Dylan Wonnum and Jaycee Horn, were both Freshman All-SEC guys and All-Americans. Both of those guys, I'm extremely proud of. Looking at that signing class, the contributions were very good, and the returns on that class have been very good so far. We're looking forward to continuing to develop those guys.
"The four signees from today, if you had told me in December 'you can sign these four guys,' I'd have taken it. All four can make a difference in our program."
Coach Muschamp on Wednesday's new signees...
"Will is a guy that came to our camp and worked out in our camp. He's a guy we targeted early. He was a 300-plud pounder and vertical jumped over 28 inches, which not many offensive linemen are doing that at the NFL Combine. He can bend in his lower body and plays with power. He will be an interior offensive lineman for us. He did play some defensive line at Lovejoy High School, but he will be an interior offensive lineman for us. Having him and his Mom Karen here two weeks ago for the official visit, he firmed up that he wanted to be a Gamecock, and we're excited to have him as part of our family."
"Jaquaze is another guy that was in our camp. As a matter of fact, all the guys that we signed were in our camps. He's got a tremendous work ethic. He's a very explosive young man, a guy that is athletic enough to play on the edge. He can play inside. We're really excited about him and getting him today. I felt pretty good about him in the process, andobviously we secured him at about 1:30 this afternoon.
"Jammie was a state champion at Lee Country High School. He and his mom called us this morning to confirm that they were going to be Gamecocks. We're really excited about Jammie. He's a guy that was in our camp. He's got coverage ability in the slot and can play outside if he needs to. He's a safety or nickel and can play in the slot as a dime as well. He's a very instinctive player and the defensive player of the year in the state of Georgia. I'm really excited about adding Jammie to our roster."
"Shilo has really only played high school football for two years. He's really only spent his time dedicated to the game for the last two years. Kevin Mathis was his position coach, who played with (Travaris Robinson) with the Atlanta Falcons. Listening to him talk to us about how quickly Shilo has matured, his genetic upside is huge. He's got really good length. He's got speed on the top end and very good change of direction. He also played receiver and has return skills."
On the changes to the team's coaching staff...
"We've got a couple new coaches on our staff. Thomas Brown will coach our running backs. You've been able to meet with Thomas, and you've seen how impressive he is. He certainly makes us better. It's great to have, and we're very fortunate to have, a guy like Bobby Bentley on staff who's been a head coach. He's been a coordinator. He's been a quarterbacks coach, and he's been a running backs coach. It will be a seamless transition for him (to tight ends coach) and certainly give a good perspective for our tight ends, to see the game in some different ways. He'll do a great job with our tight ends. We added John Scott as our defensive line coach. John was very impressive in the interview process. It was a very lengthy interview process. He's worked in the National Football League and coached elite, first-round talent like Leonard Williams and Sheldon Richardson. Todd Bowles, who I've got tremendous respect for... working for Todd means an awful lot to me as far as John's progression. We're really excited to have him on our staff."
On the strong close to National Signing Day over the last two years and what that says about the program's ability to recruit...
"I don't really look at it as closing. I look at it as the whole process. You look at Jammie Robinson's recruiting, it started two and a half years ago. He came on our campus in summer of, I couldn't even tell you when, before his junior year of high school. It's about building relationships. It's about building trust with people. Jaquaze we started recruiting, not as long as Jammie, but a good while ago. You look at Shilo Sanders and his relationship that [Travaris Robinson] got with Kevin Mathis obviously helped in that situation. All of those relationships that Bryan McClendon's got with Coach Carson over at Lovejoy High School, and the trust he's got with Bryan McClendon and Thomas Brown to be able to have those guys on our staff. It's not really, to me, about finishing at the end. It's about the relationships you build and the comfort level a family has with you and how you're going to develop their son."
On how much Deion Sanders will be around the program...
"Obviously Deion brings a lot ofcredibility. He was wonderful in the recruiting in the recruiting process as a father, as far as telling me basically, 'You need to recruit my son, not me.' I appreciate that. He was great throughout the entire recruiting process. How much he'll be around will be up to him. I know he's got a busy schedule. He's still coaching high school football in Dallas. He coaches on Friday nights, and he works with NFL Network on Sundays and Saturday night. He's busy with some things on the West Coast, we do know that. To have a guy that's probably the best-ever at the position to lace up the cleats at the corner position to entrust his son with us says an awful lot about the confidence he has in this coaching staff, I can tell you that."
On if this is the best group of defensive linemen since he's been here...
"That'll be tested over a period of time. We've got some good players on our campus right now and we're pleased with the guys we were able to sign. I'm not a lot intorating, I'm into our evaluations and we like all of these guys and pinpointed a lot of these guys early in the process. I'm glad they're Gamecocks."
On the players who transferred out during the offseason...
"Transfer comes under a lot of different circumstances with a young man, whether it's getting closer to home, getting a new opportunity, a different situation, a better situation maybe in their eyes. We'll talk about the players that are on our team, not the ones that aren't."
On the defensive back class...
"We're going to be young, but we're going to be talented. These guys are all guys we pinpointed in the process. You look at coming out ofDecember, like I said, if there's two defensive backs we wanted it was Shilo (Sanders) and Jammie (Robinson) and we were able to sign both of those guys today. That helps our class tremendously. You add them to John (Dixon) and Cam (Cameron Smith) who we're extremely excited about. I think it's a very good class, again, time will tell how good.
On addressing the talent and depth issues of the past couple of years with the recruiting class...
"Competition is your best friend as a coach. When you have a lot of competition in different positions, it brings out the best in every player every single day. That's what we've got to continue to recruit to, to have the type of program we want to have and it's something that happens every single year. We recruit really good players that come in and compete and guys understand on the roster regardless of what they accomplished before really doesn't matter. You've got to earn your opportunity every single day in our organization."
On the status of the early enrollees that aren't on campus yet...
"Cam Smith, Tyquon Johnson and TraevonKenion are all good guys. It has nothing to do with the University of South Carolina admissions process, I can assure you of that. We are working through that right now. There are always snags here or there that you have to work through and you have to deal with deadlines as far as enrolling and getting in classes. That was kind of what we dealt with in those situations but has nothing to do with South Carolina admissions."
On if the transfer portal affecting the recruiting process...
"Obviously, if you have some guys that enter the portal, it's going to affect your numbers. I, personally, am a proponent that we need to go to 30 initials each year. If you look at the number of players that leave for the NFL Draft and you add thatin to the possible guys transferring out of your program and graduate transfers that leave your program, it's really affecting the depth of your football team. You got to be able to replenish and replace those numbers as far as that's concerned. Keep the cap at 85 but let's go to 30 initials to help you with those numbers because you're going to be hard set, especially if you're taking over a program like we did three years ago, there's always natural attrition within the program. New coaching change, new scheme, new position coach, new coordinator, there's going to be national attrition with that being said. It's hard to catch those numbers up if you're limited to 25 every year when you have natural attrition you always have every year. You have medical issues or whatever the case may be, early entries to the NFL. It's hard to make your number up to 85 when you're sitting at 25 every year."
On how the transfer portal has worked so far...
"You can't lump everyone that transfers into one thing. That's where I get a little disjointed because a lot of guys maybe want a better opportunity somewhere else. I've had guys come to me and want to get closer to home and I think it's a great reason to transfer. They may have had a struggle in their family and they want to get closer to home and they have very good reasons why they want to transfer. The disturbing thing isthere's 1,100 players, over 1,100 players I think, that have entered the portal and there's not that many spots out there. That's a little concerning."
On Bryan Edwards, Donell Stanley and Jake Bentley all returning for 2019...
"I think all the guys made really good decisions as far as where their draft status was. Whatever the information the NFL gave them is their business, not mine. We had good discussions and I thought our guys made very good decisions."
On if he has decided on a No. 2 QB...
"It'll be an open competition. Obviously, Jake [Bentley] andDekereon [Joyner] have been here and Ryan [Hilinski] will have an opportunity to compete there. All positions are open in the spring. You have to create competition on your football team. You recruit good players to give them an opportunity to play at all positions."
On J.T. Ibe and Eldridge Thompson seeking a sixth year of eligibility...
"Eldridge [Thompson] is still a part of the program. I don't know that his appeal has come through yet, but we feel confident that it will be in his and our favor. And, J.T. [Ibe] will be back for a sixth year with us."
On what the early enrollees have shown already...
"We've been with them really just one day - I've been on the road the last few weeks. Jeff Dillman has been with the entire group. We have them lift as one group so we were able to pay close attention to them and the proper techniques in the weight room to go through. We're very pleased with their work ethic. We're very pleased with their eagerness to learn and to work. That's really my expectation - bring your best version of you every single day. If you do that, that'll be fine."
On the players who may be unavailable for spring practice due to injury...
"We have a couple guys I don't really want to comment on right now. We had a couple postseason surgeries that weren't serious. I think we'll get some guys back for spring. I'll comment on that before spring ball. I think there are just three or four guys right now won't be [available]. Tyreek Johnson and Caleb Kinlaw both are still recovering from their ACL [injuries], and they won't be in any contact or non-contact activities. T.J. Brunson has had a sports hernia and cleaned up a meniscus. He probably will not be cleared for spring. Javon Kinlaw has the hip labrum and will not be cleared for spring. Jamyest [Williams] will be part of some non-contact drills. Eldridge Thompson will be part of non-contact. D.J. Wonnum will be full speed. Daniel Fennell will not partake in spring. Rosendo Louis Jr. has shoulder surgery. We went ahead and fixed his labrum. Those are the only guys that will not partake."
On recruiting players like Shilo Sanders and Jaycee Horn and if there is any extra consideration when recruiting the son of a former player...
"No, not at all. Joe (Horn) and Deion (Sanders) were first class in the recruitment of their sons. First class."
On reflecting on his first recruiting class...
"Coming into a situation where we had just won three games and trusting us to come into our program in our first year and getting to a bowl game, which, probably, a lot of people didn't think we were going to be able to do and we did. To progress to win nine games in the second year, we improved. I still think we had at times a better team (this year) than we did the year before. It didn't reflect as far as wins were concerned. We had some injuries on defense that were out of those players' control. All of those guys have contributed a lot to our program. They mean a lot to me from the standpoint of trusting us, coming into a situation that wasn't exactly the most promising-looking situation to come into. They trusted us to come into it and they've helped us build a very solid foundation for our program moving forward."
On the candidates for the left tackle position...
"Since Sadarius Hutcherson can bump outside and play - he has before and certainly has the ability. Dylan Wonnum is a guy that can play either the right or the left tackle position. Those are guys we've looked at. Max (Iyama) is a guy that can bump out. Jordan Carty is a guy that we've looked at. We've got some options there as far as those things are concerned."
South Carolina football brought in the final four members of the 2019 recruiting class here they are below:
Will Muschamp said if he was told in December he got those four, he would’ve taken it. What said about each of his new signees:
Shilo Sanders, DB
Three stars | 6-0, 185 | Cedar Hill, Texas
“A guy that’s really only played football for two years. So really he’s only spent his time dedicated himself to the game the last two years. Kevin Mathis was his position coach, who played with T-Rob at the Atlanta Falcons. So listening to him talk to us about how quickly he’s matured. His genetic upside is huge. He’s got really good length. He’s got speed on the top end. He’s got good change of direction. Also played receiver and has return skills.”
Jammie Robinson, DB
Three stars | 5-11, 200 | Lee County, Ga.
“A state champion over there with coach (Dean) Fabrizio. ... His mom and Jammie called is this morning to confirm they were going to be Gamecocks. Really excited about Jammie, a guy again in our camp, has coverage ability in the slot. Can play outside if he needs to, but is a safety/nickel. Can play in the slot as a dime as well. Very instinctive player. Defensive player of the year in the state of Georgia.”
Jaquaze Sorrells, DL
Four stars | 6-2, 310 | Orlando, Fla.
“A 6-foot-3, 300-plus pounder. Another guy that was in our camp. … Got a tremendous work ethic. Very explosive young man. A guy that is athletic enough to play on the edge, play inside. But we’re really excited about him and getting him today. Felt pretty good about him in the process.”
William Rogers, OL
Three stars | 6-5, 295 | Hampton, Ga.
“A guy that came to our camp, we targeted early. Was a 300-plus pounder who verticaled at over 38 inches, which not many offensive linemen are doing that at the NFL combine. Can bend in his lower body. Plays with power. Will be an interior offensive lineman for us. Did play some defensive line at Lovejoy, but will be an offensive lineman for us. Having him and his mom Karen here two weeks ago for the official visit firmed up that he wanted to be a Gamecock.”