South Carolina Football: Incoming freshman named “Player to Watch” by top national analyst

South Carolina football signee Nyckoles Harbor is among the fastest players in the nation. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY
South Carolina football signee Nyckoles Harbor is among the fastest players in the nation. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY /
South Carolina Football
South Carolina football freshman Nyckoles Harbor has been called a “True Freshman to Watch” by Josh Pate of The Late Kick. Mandatory Credit: Jack Gruber-USA TODAY /

On Signing Day, the South Carolina football program snagged a massive commitment from the 2023 class’ top-ranked athlete. Nyckoles Harbor is a freak of nature who has Olympic-level sprint speed at 6’5″ tall and 230 pounds. He is expected to play wide receiver but could see some time as a flexed tight end or even as a pass rusher on obvious passing downs. According to 247Sports, Harbor is the 7th highest-rated recruit in South Carolina football history.

On Thursday, national college football analyst Josh Pate named Harbor one of his most intriguing true freshmen to watch during the 2023 football season. The “Late Kick Live” host called Harbor an “alien” because of his out of this world combination of size and speed. He also mentioned that he believes Harbor has a “0% chance” of being kept off the field this season, no matter what the depth chart looks like because he’s just that dynamic as a potential playmaker.

Pate pulled up some of Harbor’s high school track footage to illustrate just how fast he is. In one of the sprints, as Harbor finished (in 1st place, obviously), no other runner was even in the frame of the camera’s view. It wasn’t until after Harbor had passed a few steps beyond the finish line that 2nd place showed up in the picture at all.

Harbor will be battling for playing time in numerous areas of the 2023 Gamecock football team. He will work primarily at wide receiver, a position he only recently started playing. Antwane “Juice” Wells will be the team’s lead pass catcher this year, and experienced players like Trey Knox, Xavier Legette, Ahmarean Brown, Eddie Lewis, Dakereon Joyner, and Joshua Simon will get lots of snaps. Harbor provides something that no other player on the roster can, however: he combines the speed of Brown, the height of Knox, and the leaping ability of Wells into one package.

Head Coach Shane Beamer and Defensive Coordinator Clayton White have hinted at the possibility of Harbor getting a handful of defensive snaps in obvious passing situations, as well. Harbor spent the majority of his high school career as an EDGE player, and his incredible speed and acceleration will make him tough to block coming off the line. It is unlikely that Harbor will ever play significant snaps at defensive end, however, as his Olympic dreams will keep him from gaining the needed weight to hold up at the line of scrimmage.

The freakish size and speed of the Washington DC product likely have Special Teams Coordinator Pete Lembo salivating. Harbor would be impossible to stop on coverage units, and he has some experience as a kick returner in high school. He might be the biggest kick returner in the history of college football if he lines up back deep for kickoffs.

The entire segment of Pate’s podcast can be heard in the video clip below. Harbor is the first prospect he mentions.

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