South Carolina Football: Gamecocks make top list for 4-star Georgia linebacker

South Carolina football is among 12 finalists for 4-star Georgia linebacker recruit Mantrez Walker.

South Carolina football helmet
South Carolina football helmet / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina football fans saw their team’s linebacker unit get significantly better throughout the 2023 season. Heading into the season, the group was expected to be a struggling one as Debo Williams, Stone Blanton, and Bam Martin-Scott all had experience but no real starting time. Freshmen Pup Howard and Jaron Willis weren’t ready.

A strong first game gave way to some early-season difficulties before late-season growth saw Williams emerge as an All-SEC player, Martin-Scott become a legitimate SEC starter, and Blanton, Howard, and Willis settle into more realistic roles that allowed them to play within their strengths.

Unfortunately, the Gamecocks have just one more season with Williams and Martin-Scott and just two more with Blanton. Even with two 4-star recruits coming into the program in the class of 2024 (Fred “JayR” Johnson and Wendell Gregory), the South Carolina football program will need some reinforcements at linebacker.

One linebacker that the Gamecocks are pursuing is class of 2025 Georgia native Mantrez Walker. Walker, a former Michigan commitment in the early goings of his career, is a 4-star prospect according to Rivals and just named his top-12 schools.

South Carolina football is joined in Walker’s top-12 by Michigan, Louisville, Arkansas, Stanford, Colorado, Missouri, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Miami, LSU, and Penn State.

As a player, Walker is a bit undersized (6’0” and 215 pounds), but he is a physical player who excels in run support. He is smaller than most college linebackers, but there aren’t many who throw their body around like Walker. Once he gains some good mass after spending time in a college weight room, he could become a legitimate thumper.

As an inside linebacker, he profiles similarly to Debo Williams a downhill player who plays with aggression. Run stopping is his forte, but his downhill style should allow him to have some success rushing the passer, something that linebackers do a fair amount in the 3-3-5 defense the Gamecocks ran at the end of last season.

You can watch some of his film here.

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