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NCAA Football South Carolina Gamecocks

Five Impact Freshmen For South Carolina Gamecocks

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Impact Freshmen For South Carolina Gamecocks

Five Impact Freshmen For South Carolina Gamecocks
Kim Klement - USATODAY Sports

It may not stack up compared to the heavy weights in the SEC, but head coach Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks signed a recruiting class this year ranked in the top-25 nationally. Considering that the state of South Caroline is not as rich with high school football talent as some of the other southern states and that the Gamecocks have to compete head-to-head with a Clemson Tigers program that is quickly on the rise, a top-25 recruiting class is quite an accomplishment.

When all was said and done, the Gamecocks signed 21 players, 12 of which are projected to play defense, and nine that will compete on the offensive side of the ball. It’s a well-balanced class and should help South Carolina make up for the losses they suffered due to graduation.

Just because South Carolina’s recruiting class isn’t getting praised as one of the best in the conference, Gamecock fans should still be happy with the players coming in. Also, just like any other SEC recruiting class, the Gamecocks have plenty of incoming freshmen that will be able to step on the field right away and contribute. Of course, not all true freshmen will be given the chance to play right away, but depending on their position, a lot of them will at least get the opportunity to prove themselves. Let’s take a look at five incoming freshmen for South Carolina that we think will not only get on the field as true freshmen, but will make an impact for the Gamecocks in 2013.

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David Johnson, Defensive End

David Johnson, Defensive End
Kim Klement - USATODAY Sports

The Gamecocks have a few freshmen coming in at defensive end, but Johnson may be the most ready physically to play right away. South Carolina will need some depth at that position behind Jadeveon Clowney and Chaz Sutton, and Johnson would be a nice fit as a smaller speed rusher coming off the edge, where he’ll be able to do some damage with teams focusing on Clowney.

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Larenz Bryant, Linebacker

Larenz Bryant, Linebacker
Joshua S. Kelly - USATODAY Sports

Bryant is a phenomenal athlete, with sideline-to-sideline speed that can be utilized both in run defense and pass coverage. He’s too light to be an everyday player at this point, but he has too much range and too much speed not to get on the field as a freshman. South Carolina will find a role for Bryant this year, and he’ll certainly make his presence known on the field.

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Kelsey Griffin, Defensive Tackle

Kelsey Griffin, Defensive Tackle
Joshua S. Kelly - USATODAY Sports

Griffin could step in right away at a few different positions along the defensive line. He doesn’t have the ideal height for the defensive line, but he’s quick and moves well, which means he can get into the backfield and make plays. Griffin should be in the Gamecock’s defensive line rotation from the start.

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David Williams, Running Back

David Williams, Running Back
Kim Klement - USATODAY Sports

The Gamecocks have had plenty of success in recent years with true freshman running backs, and Williams could be next in line. He has a nice combination of power and speed, and he should be able to run between the tackles, even in the SEC. Williams will certainly get a chance to prove himself, and could emerge as one of South Carolina’s primary ball carriers.

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Jonathan Walton, Linebacker

Jonathan Walton, Linebacker
Kim Klement - USATODAY Sports

Walton was a nice signing-day surprise for the Gamecocks, and he’ll have a chance to compete for a starting spot right away. South Carolina has an opening at middle linebacker, and Walton may be more physically imposing than any of the either candidates, while the others don’t have much more experience than Walton does. There’s a good chance Walton will see a lot of time on defense this year, and he may even be able to move himself into a starting role.