South Carolina is beating Clemson (and a whole lot of others) in 2019 recruiting chase

South Carolina coach Will Muschamp
Jeff Blake/USA TODAY Sports

Ten months away from the early signing period for the 2019 recruiting class, one school from the Palmetto State owns a top-10 class in the 247Sports composite rankings.

And it isn’t Clemson.

It’s still early, but South Carolina coach Will Muschamp and his staff quietly have begun building a solid class, one that right now has the Gamecocks in 10th place in the composite rankings.

With four commitments in the past month, the Gamecocks already have six players lined up for 2019, including two four-star recruits: wide receiver Jamario Holley of Rock Hill (S.C.) Northwestern and defensive end Rodricus Fitten of Atlanta Washington.

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Muschamp has made particular progress in building the offensive and defensive fronts, where he’s gained commitments from defensive end Devontae Davis of Georgia Military College, offensive tackle Mark Fox of Miami Northwestern, center Vincent Murphy of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas and offensive tackle Jaylen Nichols of Charlotte Myers Park. Davis, Fox, Holley and Murphy have committed since January 24, and Fox and Murphy are from two of the best programs in Florida.

The Gamecocks have edged ahead of competitors with a combination of quantity and quality.

Among SEC teams, their six overall commits are surpassed only by Georgia and Ole Miss. And only Georgia, Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M have more than South Carolina’s pair of early commitments at four stars or higher.

That’s gotten South Carolina in fine shape early on in the recruiting rankings, ahead of schools like Florida State (No. 12), Notre Dame (No. 13), Florida (No. 22) and, yes, Clemson (No. 32).

Could it get even better for the Gamecocks? Maybe.

South Carolina is very much in play for five-star defensive end Zacch Pickens of Anderson (S.C.) T.L. Hanna, the state’s top prospect and a top-20 recruit nationally. The Gamecocks also are contenders for top recruits in neighboring states, such as four-star defensive tackle Travon Walker of Thomaston (Ga.) Upson-Lee, who is a national top-35 prospect.

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Signing Pickens would mark a recruiting coup for Muschamp. Holley is the state of South Carolina’s No. 2 prospect, and only once in the past 15 years (2017, when South Carolina added receivers OrTre Smith and Shi Smith) have the Gamecocks signed the state’s top two high school prospects.

If Muschamp can maintain this momentum, there’s a chance the Gamecocks could be in line for their best class since Steve Spurrier brought the No. 7 class to Columbia in 2007.

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