What was once a robust 2014 recruiting class for South Carolina could look rather sparse once summer camp rolls around early next month.
In a conversation earlier this week, assistant coach Steve Spurrier Jr. conceded to Josh Kendall of The State that eight of the Gamecocks 2014 signees have yet to meet the academic qualifications to enroll in the school. Not only that, but three of the eight — defensive ends Dante Sawyer, Kalan Ritchie and Jhaustin Thomas — have either already announced they are headed to the JUCO ranks (the first two) or have whiffed on signing with the Gamecocks twice (Thomas signed with USC out of high school and, after failing to qualify initially, JUCO).
Sawyer has already stated that he plans to sign with the Gamecocks again in 2015.
The paper writes that “[c]ornerbacks Wesley Green, Chris Lammons and Darin Smalls, fullback Joe Blue and defensive tackle Dexter Wideman still are trying to meet qualifying standards in time to join the Gamecocks in August.”
Wideman is the highest ranked of the remaining five, rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals.com.
“We have a plan either way with him,” Spurrier Jr. said of the defensive lineman. “There are three or four that kind of fit into that group.”
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah