On Tuesday afternoon, a lot of buzz began to surface that four star tight end Kalan Ritchie would be announcing a commitment sometime soon, and that he was expected to choose to play his college ball for Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks.
The 6'6", 226 pound Goose Creek Gator made it Twitter official on Tuesday night:
I have committed to the University of South Carolina #Gamecocks— Kalan Ritchie (@KRitchie_85) May 1, 2013
This is how Ritchie stacks up to his peers, according the 247Sports Composite index:
4 stars, 286th overall in the 2014 class
9th TE in the country
11th best player in South Carolina
Check out Ritchie's sophomore year highlights:
Are the Gamecocks done at tight end for 2014?
The buzzword for this class is "numbers". Because the Gamecocks only have four seniors on scholarship (plus one certain to leave early and handful of others likely to follow suit) and are under an NCAA-mandated three scholarship reduction, it appears there will be room to take no more than 14 players taken in the 2014 class.
So it's reasonable to ask if this means that Bamberg-Ehrhardt TE K.C. Crosby, who at one point last summer appeared to be on the verge of committing to USC, is still a take for the Gamecocks. Right now, the answer appears that South Carolina would take both, but of course it's not a given that Crosby will end up in Columbia. Florida has made a strong push, and Clemson is heavily in the mix as well.
One reason the Gamecock staff might be maintaining this seemingly curious position, given the numbers, is that Ritchie and Crosby have two very different body types. Ritchie is a towering 6'6", 226 in the mold of a guy like Jerell Adams, wheras the shorter, stockier Crosby projects as more of an h-back.
Another reason the staff may still pursue two tight ends is that it's completely conceivable that either Sophomore Jerell Adams, Junior Busta Anderson, or both could enter the NFL Draft after the 2013 season, leaving Drew Owens as the only scholarship tight end on the depth chart. (Even though Adams will be a true sophomore as far as the NCAA is concerned, the year he spent at prep school will make him three years removed from high school and, thus, eligible for the 2014 draft.)
With OLB Bryson Allen-Williams and LB/FB Joe Blue already committed, USC now has room to take roughly 11 more players in this class, and things could start to take shape rather quickly, with decisions from Drew Barker and Bentley Spain expected in the coming weeks.
Grab your popcorn and prepare to watch the madness unfold on your Gamecock message board of choice.