Meet USC football’s freshman class
South Carolina football has almost its entire 2019 freshman class on campus.
The highly rated group brought in by Will Muschamp will have every chance to contribute. His staff has played true freshmen with regularity, and more than a few of the new guys should be in line to get on the field.
Muschamp said the week before the season-opener that redshirt decisions don’t fully start to come into focus until the middle of the season.
Taking our best cracks at who does and doesn’t redshirt, with the understanding players can see the field for up to four games before losing a year of eligibility.
Almost no chance of redshirting
DT Zacch Pickens - The five-star defensive tackle is a high-end talent and those generally don’t stay off the field. He’s an explosive 300-pounder and the Gamecocks will play any lineman who can help quickly. He certainly qualifies.
DL Joseph Anderson - Another blue chip lineman, he’s working at end and tackle. Although the coaches said he is still adapting to college life, players on the line at his position play unless they’re really not ready, and he doesn’t fit that description.
DBs Cam Smith, Johnny Dixon, Shilo Sanders, Jammie Robinson - Will Muschamp said all four will play, out of need as much as anything else. Robinson is all but set to start, while Dixon and Smith could be needed at a thin corner spot. Sanders seemed to maybe be a question, but Muschamp sounded pretty sure he’d be on the field.
WR Xavier Legette - The staff and players have been pretty positive about him, mentioning explosive plays often. He’s got some veterans ahead of him, but should be able to carve out something.
LB Jahmar Brown - Undersized out of high school, he answered a lot of questions by gaining 20 pounds. While he’s not a shoo-in for playing time at linebacker, he should get a little work and some time on special teams. Will Muschamp also flat-out said he’ll play this year.
Redshirt chances unlikely
TE KeShawn Toney - Teammates praised his work ethic in the spring, and Bobby Bentley spoke highly of him. He might not be that ready, but considering South Carolina is down two of its top tight ends, there might be no choice.
DE Rodricus Fitten - He’s gotten bigger since he arrived on campus and players with his body type, mobile and 245 pounds, and motor just tend to find work somewhere. Right now, he projects as the team’s No. 4 Buck. He might be one of those players who isn’t ready at the start but comes on through the year.
LB Derek Boykins - Linebackers coach Coleman Hutzler sounded less than enthused about his consistency on defense, and he’s behind two veterans at middle linebacker. That said, he’s built to play special teams, and that probably burns his redshirt.
RB Kevin Harris - The reviews have been generally good through spring and summer. With A.J. Turner playing defense and Rico Dowdle already battling injuries, he’ll likely find enough carries to avoid the ‘shirt.
If injuries (or something unusual) come to pass
QB Ryan Hilinski - Assuming Jake Bentley says healthy and doesn’t implode, it should be somewhat easy to only send him out there for four games. Simple as that.
TE Traevon Kenion - He has been pretty limited in camp because of an injury. Considering he missed much of spring and had to work into shape, it seems like that might be a tall task, but he’s also at a spot that’s pretty thin right now.
OTs Jakai Moore and Jaylin Nichols - It’s standard for offensive linemen to redshirt, and Will Muschamp said he’s a bit nervous that those two are key backups on the outside. It’s possible one develops to the point he could start, but with Dylan Wonnum and Sadarius Hutcherson as somewhat proven players, either of them getting in for more than four games isn’t likely.
High chance of redshirt
WR Keveon Mullins - With the growth of Xavier Legette this offseason and the solid group of veterans at the top, he might not be able to crack through.
DL Devontae Davis - Already suffered an injury the staff believes will keep him out most of the year.
OL Vincent Murphy, Mark Fox, William Rogers - As written above, most offensive linemen redshirt and they’ve not yet been mentioned by Muschamp in the mix.
WR Tyquan Johnson - He’s been injured much of camp and might not have the time to catch up.