South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer and his staff have been busy this offseason.
Since finishing a disappointing 5-7 in 2023, the Gamecocks have started retooling their roster through the transfer portal, supplementing their top-20 high school recruiting class with some much-needed talent from the portal who will fill some immediate needs on the roster.
The Gamecocks have added 15 transfer portal commitments (plus a junior college transfer and a walk-on from a Power-5 program) at almost every position on the roster. Running back, defensive tackle, wide receiver, linebacker, and offensive line have all received multiple portal additions.
At this point in the transfer portal cycle, the Gamecocks are ranked near the top schools in the country at bringing in college talent.
According to 247Sports, South Carolina football has the 13th-best transfer class in the nation (5th-best in the SEC). They also rank 4th in America in average transfer player ranking for all programs that have taken at least 10 players via the portal.
On3 is even higher on the Gamecocks. Their transfer portal rankings weigh both what a team has lost in the portal and what talent they are bringing in, and USC sits in the 4-spot in On3's national rankings. They are also 2nd nationally in average player rating among all schools taking at least 10 players in the portal. That ranking could go up even more as On3 still has not processed linebacker Bangally Kamara's transfer from Pittsburgh.
Rivals (which also includes walk-on defensive back Buddy Mack as a ranked transfer) has the Gamecocks ranked 9th in all of college football. Of the 7 incoming or outgoing Gamecocks ranked inside Rivals' top-200 individual transfer rankings, 5 are coming into the program (only Juice Wells and Mario Anderson are ranked that high for the players leaving the team).
As individuals, running back Rocket Sanders (Arkansas), wide receiver Gage Larvadain (Miami (OH)), EDGE Kyle Kennard (Georgia Tech), defensive tackle Deandre Jules (Pittsburgh), offensive lineman Aaryn Parks (Oklahoma), defensive lineman Monkell Goodwine (Alabama), and linebacker Bangally Kamara (Pittsburgh) are rated as 4-star transfers by at least one of the recruiting services.
What does all of this mean?
It means that the South Carolina football program improved because of the transfer portal. Sure, losing a player like Juice Wells hurts, he is the only player that has not been "replaced" with a comparable or better talent through the portal or high school recruiting. The Gamecocks have upgraded some positions (defensive tackle, EDGE, offensive line, linebacker, tight end) and flipped others (running back, wide receiver).
The Gamecocks are not done recruiting the transfer portal, either. At minimum, they will find a quarterback to battle with LaNorris Sellers and Dante Reno, and fans should not be surprised if the team takes an EDGE or corner before the process is over. Plus, when the portal reopens in April, any post-spring practice defections could be replaced, as well.