NATIONAL SIGNING DAY

USC signs 20 new Gamecocks

By DENNIS BRUNSON
dennis@theitem.com
Posted 12/21/17

Will Muschamp admits he's lukewarm on the first early signing period for college football that began on Wednesday. However, as far as the results go for his initial early class, the University of South Carolina head coach couldn't have been much …

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NATIONAL SIGNING DAY

USC signs 20 new Gamecocks

Former Lakewood High School defensive end standout Tyreek Johnson (3) signed with the University of South Carolina on Wednesday. He was grayshirted from the 2017 class after having a torn labrum.
Former Lakewood High School defensive end standout Tyreek Johnson (3) signed with the University of South Carolina on Wednesday. He was grayshirted from the 2017 class after having a torn labrum.
Sumter Item file photo
Posted

Will Muschamp admits he's lukewarm on the first early signing period for college football that began on Wednesday. However, as far as the results go for his initial early class, the University of South Carolina head coach couldn't have been much happier.

It's been a great day," Muschamp said at a press conference on Wednesday at Williams-Brice Stadium. "We signed 20 guys in the early signing period, and it helped us make a major improvement in our program. Of course, we won't know how good this class is for two or three years, but it helped us improve our program today."

One of those 20 who signed was former Lakewood High School defensive end standout Tyreek Johnson. He was originally supposed to be part of the 2017 recruiting class, but when an examination showed he had a torn labrum, Johnson was grayshirted.

"He is on campus right now," Muschamp said of Johnson. "He's taken part in some pads-only practices the past couple of days."

Muschamp and his staff were able to sign three players they turned who were committed to Florida State and Tennessee, respectively, both of which have gone through coaching changes in the last month. Defensive back Jaycee Horn, who was committed to Tennessee and former FSU commits defensive back Israel Mukuamu and linebacker Rosendo Louis Jr. signed on Wednesday.

Also, defensive back Jonathan Gipson decided to sign after saying he might wait to February 7, 2018, to sign. Offensive lineman Jovaughn Gwyn of Charlotte picked USC over North Carolina State as well.

Carolina also signed quarterback Dakereon Joyner of Fort Dorchester High School in North Charleston. The speculation has been that he could come in and push 2-year starter Jake Bentley.

"What comes to mind with Dakereon are the intangibles," Muschamp said. "He was 40-3 as a high school quarterback. He's a charismatic young man who positively affects the people around him.

"Dakereon is going to be given every opportunity to contribute to the program."

Of the 20 who signed, 13 of them, including Johnson, will be mid-year enrollees.

"I've never been part of a mid-year signing class this big," Muschamp said. "I've never been part of a mid-year player to come in and it not be a benefit to him. All of the stuff that they'll have to go through, they'll go through together."

Muschamp is looking to sign five more players in February to complete the class.

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR CHATTER

Reporters spent almost as much time asking about the offensive coordinator position as the recruiting class. Bryan McClendon will handle the play-calling duties against Michigan in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 after Kurt Roper was let go after the regular season.

Muschamp said he will make an official hire after the first of the year, but didn't specify a date. He did state that McClendon is the only current coach under consideration for the job, thus ending ending any thought that Bobby Bentley might be in the running. Coach Bentley, who coached the running backs all season, is now the quarterbacks coach with the departure of Roper.

Muschamp did say that the added 10th coach on the staff will be named on Jan. 9.