It’s no doubt to even the strongest of fans, Will Muschamp’s first season with the Gamecocks was, at best, a rocky one. Ending the season with only 6 wins, while racking up 7 losses, is not how the former Gator coach wanted to start his career at South Carolina. None the less, there were some signs of hope from the Muschamp squad.
That hope came during their loss during the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 29th. Though they eventually loss in overtime, their offensive game was the best it had been all season. Now, with National signing day behind them, Muschamp’s Gamecocks are preparing for his second season at the helm.
On National Signing day, Muschamp signed 24 letter’s of intent from some of the top recruits from around the nation. Notably, Muschamp signed wide receivers OrTre Smith, Chad Terrell and Shi Smith, along with wide receiver Will Register. Jake Bentley, the unsung leader of the offensive showing during the bowl game, had this to say about the new recruits:
“Just more weapons for us and more depth. If someone gets tired, a guy just as good is coming in. For them to get here and just learn and learn how we do things and learn the plays is going to be great.”
Perhaps a point of greater importance, when considering the 2017 recruiting class for the Gamecocks, is the number of offensive lineman picked up. Out of the 24 recruits signed on February 1, 9 total lineman were added, 5 of which going towards the offense. Considering the 2016 squad allowed 41 sacks, 23 of which came while Bentley was at the helm, this should go along ways to giving their backfield time to develop their plays.
However, the start of the offseason hasn’t been a bed of roses for South Carolina. Linebacker Sherrod Pittman announced on Friday that he would be leaving the team. Though he only had 2 tackles during his entire career as a Gamecock, Pittman was a former four-star recruit with lots of potential. Though the loss of Pittman is great, with loss comes gain.
Skai Moore will be returning to the linebacker position after spending the entire 2016 season nursing a neck injury. A 2015 All-SEC selection, Moore will bring strength and charisma back to the Gamecock defense.
With the start of the season still 7 months away, Will Muschamp and his crew still have plenty of time to whip these new recruits in to shape. Though it’s been a few years since Carolina has been at the top of the SEC, this new class, along with the excellent coaching staff, looks to bring the losing streak to an end. It will be exciting to see how the Gamecocks come out during their opener against North Carolina State on September 2, 2017.