South Carolina’s first full weekend of on-campus high school camps was fruitful to say the least on the recruiting front. Three attendees were among four high school commits during the weekend.
After four days off, the team is gearing up for what projects to be a crowded weekend in Columbia.
“We’ll have 72 teams come through Thursday and Friday for 7-on-7s,” Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp told SportsTalk on Tuesday. “We’ll have over 1,000 offensive linemen, defensive linemen in here. And the camps have gone great. We’ve had numbers of up over 300 campers each day and over 400 one day. It’s a great evaluation for us.”
That evaluation seems to be a favorite part of the recruiting process for Muschamp. This part of the summer is usually dotted with commitments, players the staff has had an eye on that lock in an offer with the hands-on work.
That brought Sumter corner O’Donnell Fortune, Georgia lineman Makius Scott and Abbeville lineman Trai Jones into the fold. They along with Alex Huntley, a longtime target, gave the Gamecocks 12 commits for the class and has it ranked No. 10 nationally.
“I’m very pleased with where we are and some of the evaluations we had this weekend of guys that were very good football players on tape,” Muschamp said. “Sometimes the tape can lie. To be able to work them out and be able to see their testing numbers, see their speed, their length, their athleticism, it reassures me about what kind of player they can be.”
The coach said his staff has some factors and testing numbers it looks for, maybe not hard-and-fast benchmarks, but levels of performance a player needs to be near. He picked up some of that from his time with the Miami Dolphins, when he went through the draft process with Nick Saban.
He rattled off the batch of characteristics he can use to judge a player, two he can observe at camp, size and speed, two that come from high schools, transcript and tape, and one where a staff has to make its best read, character.
Camp can factor into that last one because it shows a little of how players approach the nitty gritty of the sport.
“Some of these guys want to come and walk around and sit on the golf cart,” Muschamp said. “They’re not for me.”
He said he looks for players who seek out 1-on-1 competition and win when that time comes.
As is often his line, he warned none of those commitments are fully locked down until signing day. The camps blend with the evaluations that are already finished, the litany of phone calls and messages daily and the on-the-road visits yet to come as part of the overall effort.
But coming next is lineman camp, 7-on-7 teams criss-crossing the area around the stadiums and all the rest.
“There’s a long time till December and a long time till February,” Muschamp said. “And you’ve got to just keep working and grinding away. It’s an everyday process.”