South Carolina Gamecocks News: Fall practice, recruiting, and more

Coach Shane Beamer at South Carolina football practice. Mandatory Credit: Syndication: The Greenville News
Coach Shane Beamer at South Carolina football practice. Mandatory Credit: Syndication: The Greenville News /

Here is the latest South Carolina Gamecocks News from the last week, starting with a football recruiting update.

4-star South Carolina football commitment Wendell Gregory has had his position changed by one of the major recruiting services. On3 has moved Gregory from a linebacker to an EDGE player in its database. Could he be in line to rush the passer as a Gamecock?

Fellow 4-star linebacker commitment Fred “JayR” Johnson committed to play in the All-American Bowl (formerly Army All-American Game). He is the 6th All-American in the Gamecocks’ class.

Long-time defensive tackle target D’Nas “Debo” White announced a top-5 that included the South Carolina football program. Despite being a 3-star recruit, White has an impressive offer list, and his top-5 also includes Coastal Carolina (his first Power-5 offer), Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida State.

Elite 2025 EDGE prospect Bryce Davis released an early top-12 schools that include South Carolina, Clemson, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Michigan, Miami, Duke, Florida, and Southern Cal.

2025 5-star safety DJ Pickett included South Carolina football on his early list of favorite schools. the Gamecocks are part of Pickett’s top-13 along with Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Texas A&M, Texas, Michigan, LSU, Oregon, Ohio State, Penn State, Miami, and Florida State.

4-star Alabama EDGE prospect CJ May released his top-10, and the Gamecocks made the cut. South Carolina is joined by Clemson, Notre Dame, Troy, Tennessee, Miami, Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Louisvilla.

Philadelphia 4-star pass rusher Zahir Mathis released a top-12 list last week, as well. The former 5-star named South Carolina, Southern Cal, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, LSU, Michigan, Texas A&M, Penn State, and Florida State as the early finalists for his services.

Fall practice is just under halfway through, and several updates have emerged.

The offensive line unit could be facing a bit of a shakeup. Sidney Fugar has gotten more reps with the first-team at right tackle than projected starter Tyshawn Wannamaker. Shane Beamer has also acknowledged that they “don’t have” a starting 5 right now.

A few minor injuries have popped up. The most serious seems to be for receiver Juice Wells who is expected to miss his second-straight week of practice this week. Trey Knox, Stone Blanton, Peyton Williams, Juju McDowell, and others have also missed some time.

Mo Kaba, Jordan Strachan, and Davis Spaulding are all coming off of serious injuries that ended their 2022 seasons early. Strachan and Spaulding appear to be back as full participants at practice, but Kaba has still been limited in 11-on-11 team drills.

Wide receiver Xavier Legette and tight end Josh Simon have had good fall camps catching passes from quarterback Spencer Rattler.

5-star Nyck Harbor has had flashes of brilliance and moments of “Oh, yeah. He’s a freshman.” He will contribute in 2023 but he needs time to reach his full potential.

LaNorris Sellers has primarily practiced with the third-team offense. There are also some unconfirmed rumors that Luke Doty has taken the second-team reps and some reps with the wide receivers.

The Gamecock offense under new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains will move fast and will be simple, just as advertised.

Several true freshmen appear firmly entrenched in battles in the two-deep at various positions. Wide receiver Nyck Harbor, running back DJay Braswell, offensive lineman Markee Anderson, defensive tackle Xzavier McLeod, linebacker Grayson “Pup” Howard, and defensive backs Jalen Kilgore, Judge Collier, and Vicari Swain have all positioned themselves well as young players, and several others could be joining them in battles for early playing time.

A few Gamecocks have made their mark on the NFL’s preseason.

The top Gamecock rookie performers were Darius Rush, Nate Adkins, Zacch Pickens, and Josh Vann. Elliott Fry and Keisean Nixon also had nice days.

Darius Rush, a 5th-round selection of the Colts, is fighting for a starting cornerback job in Indianapolis and greatly helped his cause with a pick-six.

Nate Adkins, an undrafted free agent signing of the Denver Broncos, was officially listed on the depth chart ahead of the Broncos’ first preseason game. He also was one of the top blockers on the team in the game, impressing coaches and fans.

Elliott Fry, also with Denver, made a 55-yard field goal while his main competition at placekicker (Brett Maher) missed two kicks.

Zacch Pickens, taken in the 3rd round by the Chicago Bears, had a sack in his first game. He also recovered a fumble.

Josh Vann, an undrafted free agent signing of the Carolina Panthers, had one of the better punt returns of the preseason with a 20+ yard scamper.

Keisean Nixon, a 2022 All-Pro as a kick returner, saw snaps at cornerback for the Green Bay Packers and recorded a sack.

The Gamecocks’ week 1 opponent, the North Carolina Tar Heels, could be without a top playmaker in the Battle of the Carolinas.

New UNC transfer wide receiver Tez Walker was ruled ineligible for the 2023 season after transferring for the second time. Walker did not play at one of his college stops due to the Covid-19 shutdown in the MEAC conference.

In a similar situation to Walker’s Gamecock wide receiver Jalen Brooks was not made eligible until almost halfway through the season in 2020.

The men’s basketball team finished up their Bahamas trip and had a local 5-star announce his commitment to another team.

Lexington High School’s Cam Scott announced a pledge to Texas. He said that the Gamecocks were second in his decision-making process and that he would be “watching” how things go in Columbia next season.

Dawn Staley’s squad, on the other hand, received positive news from a 5-star prospect.

11th-ranked national prospect Maddy McDaniel committed to the Gamecocks. The Maryland guard is the first public commitment in the class of 2024 for Staley’s team. It is unclear if McDaniel’s commitment is the same one hinted by Staley’s “birdie” tweet in June.

Mark Kingston’s South Carolina baseball team also received some good news on the recruiting front.

South Carolina native Cole Greer committed to the Gamecocks’ 2024 recruiting class over the weekend. Greer is a right-handed pitcher who also dabbles at first base.

Former Gamecock pitcher Clarke Schmidt continues to pitch well for the New York Yankees.

Schmidt pitched his 15th-straight game allowing three earned runs or less. He is one of just four pitchers on the 2023 season to accomplish this feat 19 times or more.

EA Sports has confirmed that the summer 2024 release of its NCAA Football video game is still on track.

As of now, no South Carolina Gamecocks have expressed any trepidation about being in the game or the $500 payment being offered for inclusion.