South Carolina Football: Gamecocks named a finalist for elite pass rusher

South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

Tuesday might have been Halloween, but not every piece of news was scary. In fact, shortly before kids across the nation put on their costumes and collected candy from strangers, a slightly older kid provided South Carolina football fans with a nice treat.

South Carolina football received some good news on the recruiting trail when consensus 4-star and top-80 national prospect Zahir Mathis announced his top-5 schools.

Mathis, a 6’5″ and 230-pound EDGE rusher, announced a top-5 of South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Ohio State, and Florida State.

Mathis is a Philadelphia product who plays his high school ball at Imhotep Institute against some big-time competition. The class of 2025 recruit has been on Gamecock fans’ radar for some time, having had good things to say about the program throughout his recruitment.

At just 230 pounds, Mathis is still thin at the defensive end position, but his above-average length (6’5″ with long arms) allows him to gain important leverage when engaged with a blocker, and he has a knack for getting those long arms past the shoulders of his offensive engagement so that he can snatch down quarterbacks or running backs.

Though he plays the majority of his snaps with his hand in the dirt as a more traditional defensive end, Mathis is a good enough athlete to play as a stand-up EDGE. He displays this athleticism with really nice bend in his pass rushes and elite pursuit when a play is run away from him (which is often). He also plays some tight end for the Imhotep offense.

Mathis is built very similarly to current Gamecock freshman EDGE Desmond Umeozulu and current class of 2024 commitment Dylan Stewart, indicating the Gamecocks have a “type” at the position: long, athletic, and aggressive. That archetype has worked for the Gamecocks in the past as names like Jadeveon Clowney, Devin Taylor, John Abraham, and Darius English all resembled Mathis’ size and play style in high school.

You can watch some of his film here.

light. Related Story. South Carolina Football: Ranking the top Gamecock defensive ends/EDGEs of all-time