South Carolina Football: Gamecocks add big-time pass rusher as mystery commitment comes forward

South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer's 8th #WelcomeHome message of the week revealed himself to be a big-time pass rusher.

South Carolina football commitment Kyle Kennard
South Carolina football commitment Kyle Kennard / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer tweeted out his customary #WelcomeHome message twice on Thursday as the Gamecocks picked up their 7th and 8th transfer players in the 2024 cycle. One (running back Jawarn Howell from South Carolina State) revealed himself later that night.

The 8th waited until late Friday morning to join the party.

The commitment revealed himself to be big-time pass rusher Kyle Kennard. In his junior season at Georgia Tech, Kennard logged 6 sacks and 11 more tackles for loss, two defensive statistics that were far too scarce for the Gamecocks in 2023, especially from the defensive end position.

Kennard will join an EDGE room that will include 5-star freshman Dylan Stewart and a bevy of athletic players like Desmond Umeozulu and Bryan Thomas, Jr.

South Carolina football fans who are struggling to follow along with the fast and furious pace of the transfer portal, here is a brief summary of the other players who have announced this week that they are entering the Gamecock program:

The first commitment this week came from big defensive tackle Jerome Simmons. The Bamberg, South Carolina native played two seasons of junior college ball and is transferring in from Highland Community College. He can play the nose tackle spot for USC, even in the 3-3-5 base defense that the Gamecocks used late in the year. (Some outlets count junior college transfers as transfer portal additions, and some don't; to make it easy, we've included Simmons here.)

Wide receiver Jared Brown was second. The speedy wide receiver played two years at Coastal Carolina and showed himself to be a YAC-king (Yards after Catch), and he can play both as an outside receiver and inside slot guy.

The Gamecocks then picked up a pledge (one that became official on Friday) from North Texas transfer running back Oscar Adaway. He is a very similar style player to the outgoing Mario Anderson as he is a big, physical runner who also has pretty good speed in the open field.

The fourth commitment (one that didn't become official until Thursday) came from long-time South Carolina football fan favorite Rocket Sanders. The former Arkansas running back was hurt for part of 2023 but was one of the best ball-carriers in the country in 2022.

South Carolina native and former Vanderbilt Commodore Jayden McGowan was next. McGowan is a blazing fast wideout who does much of his work from the slot. He is also a potential impact player on special teams, and he took a kickoff back for a touchdown in 2023.

Another big defensive tackle joined the transfer portal class on Wednesday as Pittsburgh Panther transfer Deandre Jules pledged his services to the South Carolina football program. He is an athletic nose tackle who can do more than just stuff the run.

To finish the complete flip of the running back room, South Carolina State transfer back Jawarn Howell joined the class. As a freshman in 2023, he was second in all of FCS football in yards per carry and possesses a nice combination of size and speed.

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