The South Carolina football program had a really poor transfer portal showing in the 2022-2023 offseason.
Adding Trey Knox, Josh Simon, and Mario Anderson were helps to the offense, but most of the other players who came to Columbia via the portal did not contribute enough, and the team's losses were crippling. Running backs MarShawn Lloyd (Southern Cal) and Rashad Amos (Miami (OH)) would have been major contributors, and departures from EDGE players like Jordan Burch (Oregon), "Hot Rod" Fitten (East Tennessee State), and Gilber Edmond (Florida State) left the pass rush cupboards pretty bare.
But, as they say, the transfer portal giveth, and the transfer portal taketh.
As it turns out, though, sometimes the transfer portal taketh and then giveth back. A rumor had been circulating for a couple weeks that a former Gamecock who left the program last offseason could be returning after re-entering the portal this offseason.
On Monday, according to reports from On3's Nick Schultz, the rumor became reality as Gilber Edmond officially committed to return to the South Carolina football program for his final year of eligibility. He announced the move with a line from the University of South Carolina alma mater.
Edmond's fit on the current USC roster is an interesting one. Is there room for Edmond in the defensive end/EDGE room? Clearly. Is there room for him in the rotation? That remains to be seen.
He was a starter alongside Jordan Burch in 2022 after Jordan Strachan tore his ACL, but neither Burch nor Strachan are still in Columbia. However, Georgia Tech starter Kyle Kennard has transferred into the program, and 5-star freshman Dylan Stewart is now on campus. 4-star sophomore Desmond Umeozulu has a high upside, and players like JT Geer, Elijah Davis, and Bryan Thomas joined Dez U in the defensive end/EDGE rotation in 2023.
And then there is the Gamecocks' defensive scheme to consider.
If Carolina runs a 4-2-5, there will be more opportunities for these truer defensive end body types to see the field. However, in the 3-3-5 that the Gamecocks ran at the end of last season, players like TJ Sanders and Tonka Hemingway got reps at the bigger defensive end spots, and there is reason to suspect that continues this year if they elect to go with the 3-man front.
Edmond could enter the rotation as a stand-up player off the edge, at times, but players like Jaron Willis and Bam Martin-Scott showed some really nice pass rush chops at the end of 2023, and freshmen Wendell Gregory and Fred "JayR" Johnson have a chance to become special players.
All in all, South Carolina football is a better team because Gilber Edmond is back in garnet and black. How the Gamecocks will be able to utilize him will be interesting to monitor.