South Carolina Football: A look at every 5-star recruit in program history; Two are in this year's class!

South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer has brought in two top-10 all-time Gamecock recruits in the class of 2024.
The top-ranked recruit of all-time: South Carolina football legend Jadeveon Clowney
The top-ranked recruit of all-time: South Carolina football legend Jadeveon Clowney / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Football's All-Time 5-Star Recruits:
Cornerback/Safety/Wide Receiver/Kick Returner Chris Culliver (Class of 2007)

One of the strangest on-field careers of any South Carolina football 5-star, Chris Culliver was the highest-rated player in a stacked Gamecock class in 2007. Big-name recruits like quarterback Stephen Garcia, running back Brian Maddox, and defensive linemen Cliff Matthews and Travian Robertson were all part of the class, but only Culliver was a 5-star.

Culliver was rated as a 5-star wide receiver by Rivals and a 4-star safety by Scout. The positional conversation was one for Culliver his entire collegiate career and hampered his development as a Gamecock, but he still managed to play close to 5-star level.

During his true freshman year, Culliver didn't play much. He sat behind veteran receivers Kenny McKinley and Moe Brown, and the tight end duo of Jared Cook and Weslye Saunders took snaps away from receivers like Culliver, as well. He became a defensive back in the offseason.

After moving to defense as a sophomore, Culliver was part of one of the best safety trios in SEC history as he, Emanuel Cook, and Darian Stewart (who often played the hybrid spur spot) held down the back end of one of the country's best pass defenses. After the season, though, Culliver almost died from complications after a routine shoulder surgery.

He returned to the field, however, and he made the All-SEC team as a safety in 2009 before making it again in 2010 as a corner despite missing five games with a torn pectoral muscle. He was taken in the 2011 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers and had a 7-year career in the NFL in which he made the key interception that sent his '9ers to the Super Bowl in 2012.