South Carolina football: Commits could be affected by delayed start of high school sports

The South Carolina football team has 15 players in its current 2021 recruiting class. How will those prospects be affected by the delayed start of high school sports?

Yesterday, the states of California and Georgia announced their plans for the upcoming high school sports season, in particular, football. They became the 13th and 14th US states to delay the start of fall sports.

California announced that it has no intentions to conduct a fall football season at all, saying that December is the earliest start date they’d consider. Georgia was a bit more relaxed on the issue, but has ultimately decided to push the season back a couple of weeks.

States like Arizona, New York, Tennessee, and South Carolina have voted to postpone the season start date for at least a few weeks, while others like Virginia have decided to make the move to cancel football in the fall altogether.

The Gamecock recruiting class currently consists of prospects from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. How will these changes affect the 2021 pledges?

ALABAMA

Alabama has not yet made the call on whether it will delay the season start date or continue on as planned. That meeting is set to take place on Wednesday. South Carolina has two commits from the Yellowhammer State in wide receiver Sam Reynolds and offensive lineman JonDarius Morgan.

It’s easy to see Alabama adopting the same two-week delay that Georgia has implemented, which shouldn’t have too much of an effect on the fall season.

FLORIDA

The state of Florida voted yesterday to continue with fall sports as planned, though there is a future meeting set for reevaluation. What it means, for now, is that high school players will be able to begin practice next Monday.

Schools in the Sunshine State will have the option to opt out of games, should the season need to be postponed. Athlete Simeon Price from Pensacola is the only current Gamecock commit from Florida. For now, it’s business as usual for the rising senior.

GEORGIA

Georgia voted to delay the season start date by two weeks. Practice will still begin July 27th, but the first game won’t be played until September 4th. The plan is to still play a full 10-game schedule, with playoffs to follow, which gives high school seniors a chance to compete one last year.

The Gamecocks currently have six high school commits from the Peach State, and they’ll all be able to show their talents on the field this fall.

NORTH CAROLINA

North Carolina has pushed the season start date back to September. Football practices can begin September 1st, meaning the first game could realistically be played on either September 11th or 18th.

South Carolina has one commitment from the Tar Heel State in defensive lineman Nick Barrett.

SOUTH CAROLINA

The Palmetto State is planning to push the season start back to September 11th, resulting in a shortened, seven-game regular season slate, followed by a condensed playoff.

The Gamecocks currently have commitments from Rock Hill receiver O’Mega Blake and Marion defensive lineman TJ Sanders. They’re chasing pledges from a few other local products, too, and it looks like coaches will have one more season to evaluate these prospects on the field.

VIRGINIA

Virginia has announced that it will not have football in the fall. They currently have a three-option plan in place in regards to 2020 fall sports.

1. Keep all sports on current schedule but cancel all fall sports other than golf and cross-country.

2. Swap spring and fall sports, as spring sports like baseball and track provide lower risk of spreading the virus.

3. Sports start in December and play a condensed season.

Two of the Gamecocks’ current commits play football in the state of Virginia, and one has already announced his intention to transfer high schools. Bryce Steele, a linebacker that played the last two seasons at Episcopal High School in Alexandria, will play his final year at Millbrook High in his hometown of Raleigh, NC.

This decision does two things for Steele. First, he will have a chance to play his final season of football, even if it is shortened. He missed his junior year with an injury. Second, he moves from a boarding school (Episcopal) to a public school (Millbrook), which will allow him to finish his coursework early and enroll at South Carolina in January.

The other Gamecock pledge from Virginia, newly committed defensive end George Wilson, has not yet announced his plan for the upcoming season.