South Carolina football: the most underrated recruit in the 2021 class

Sep 2, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; A South Carolina Gamecocks flag is waved. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 2, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; A South Carolina Gamecocks flag is waved. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports /

Which South Carolina football recruit will make a big splash?

South Carolina’s 2021 recruiting class was a bit underwhelming to those outside of the program. When all was said and done, the group ranked as the SEC’s worst class, and the 80th-best in all of college football. The Gamecocks signed the fewest amount of high school prospects of any Power Five program in the nation, and instead, focused on getting better through the transfer portal.

While the class may seem disappointing due to its low ranking, there are certainly some impact players that could see the field early and often in Columbia. O’Mega Blake was a local priority target that the Gamecocks were able to reel in to help the wide receiving corps. TJ Sanders and Nick Barrett both have great potential on the defensive line. Juju McDowell is an all-purpose back that could line up all over the field for the South Carolina offense in the coming years.

There’s one player that kind of flew under the radar, though, joining the Gamecocks in the late signing period. Kolbe Fields, a three-star product from Louisiana, enrolled for the Summer semester and has high hopes for his freshman season.

The linebacker is already setting lofty goals for year one, saying that he has his eyes set on a 100-tackle campaign and all-conference honors. The versatile backer has the athleticism to line up in multiple spots along the South Carolina defense, whether that’s playing in more of a traditional role or as a rover.

Here’s what recruiting analyst Gabe Brooks at 24/7 Sports had to say about Fields.

"Experience in multiple linebacker roles and could provide personnel flexibility in college… Instinctive player with good sense of timing as a blitzer. Good ball skills relative to position. Athletic enough to play in space and hold his own when dropping in coverage… Power 5-caliber linebacker prospect with potential to become quality starter."

Fields, who was once committed to both Oklahoma State and Memphis, was rated as the nation’s 81st-best linebacker prospect in the country throughout his recruitment, but he’ll have the opportunity to exceed those ratings in Columbia.

The Gamecocks need help at the position after losing top tackler Ernest Jones to the NFL. They’re also set to lose a few more key contributors following the 2021 season, meaning Fields will have a chance to cycle into the starting rotation sooner rather than later.

As a senior at Archbishop Rummel High School in New Orleans, Fields racked up 98 tackles and 3.5 sacks. If he can achieve similar results in Columbia, those lofty expectations won’t be hard to match.

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