South Carolina Football: Gamecock freshman makes midseason Freshman All-American list

South Carolina football defensive back Jalon Kilgore. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football defensive back Jalon Kilgore. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports /

The South Carolina football team has had a tough first half of 2023, especially on defense. However, the Gamecocks have plenty of individual players who are playing at a high level and deserve to be recognized for their play.

This week, the Football Writers Association of America released their midseason watch list for their Freshman All-American squad. To the surprise of almost no one, one South Carolina football player made the list.

True freshmen and redshirt freshmen are both eligible for the FWAA Freshman All-American team, but the Gamecock representative is a true freshman.

First-year player Jalon Kilgore was the only South Carolina football player to make the watch list for the FWAA Freshman All-American team, but his inclusion is well-deserved.

Kilgore currently ranks in the top-5 in the SEC in tackles (despite the Gamecocks having already had their Bye Week and, thus, playing fewer games than many of the other teams in the league). Kilgore has logged 53 tackles through 6 games, and he has logged two pass defenses and an interception as he has been surprisingly good in coverage, as well.

Kilgore was not the starter at the beginning of the season, but when starting safety Nick Emmanwori left the North Carolina contest with a hamstring issue, Kilgore stepped into the fray. When Emmanwori returned, Kilgore had been playing too well to be removed from the lineup.

DQ Smith, Emmanwori, and David Spaulding (all natural safeties) have taken turns playing the nickel spot to accommodate Kilgore because the young #24 has been too valuable to take off the field for a defense that largely has struggled.

Kilgore, a Georgia native, was a late riser in the class of 2023 recruiting rankings, but he has vastly outperformed his rating as a high 3-star/low 4-star prospect to become one of the best players on the South Carolina football team.

Kilgore and the Gamecocks will look to get back on track this weekend at 3:30 on the SECNetwork when they take on the Missouri Tigers.

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