South Carolina football 2014 preview: Abu Lamin

The Final Cockdown begins with Abu Lamin, who is fresh out of JUCO and will look to work his way into a crowded defensive tackle rotation this fall.

Abu Lamin
Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle
6'4, 295 lbs
Fayetteville, N.C.

Recruitment:
Consensus four-star recruit, third JUCO DT in nation, 16th JUCO overall.

Other offers: Alabama, Arizona St., Arkansas, Auburn, Ball St., Florida, Georgia, Miami, Nebraska, Oregon St., Southern Miss, Tennessee, and Texas Tech

Lamin committed to Carolina early in the process on July 29, 2013. South Carolina defensive line coach Deke Adams was his recruiter of record. Alabama attempted to make a late push for his services that understandably had many Gamecocks fans on their toes, but Carolina prevailed. Arkansas was another program Lamin seriously considered. Proximity to his hometown in Fayetteville, N.C. was reportedly a primary factor in his recruitment.

If you haven't seen it yet, here's some high school footage of Lamin. One thing that jumps out at me here is that, despite his size, he shows good motor and speed in running down plays from the backside or pursuing the ball carrier up field.

College Career:
This is Lamin's first year donning the Garnet and Black. He redshirted his first year of JUCO, so he has three years of eligibility as a Gamecock. He enrolled early and has a spring camp under his belt.

The word on Lamin after the spring was that he has all the physical tools with a nice blend of a big, powerful frame and respectable speed for his size, but that he needs to work on refining his hand work and other aspects of his technique. The good news is that, by all accounts, Lamin did make progress towards capitalizing on his potential.

2014 Outlook:
Carolina has a fairly deep corps of defensive tackles, and Lamin is currently listed at third on the depth chart at his position behind starter Phillip Dukes and backup Kelsey Griffin. However, if Lamin refines his game, it's certainly not inconceivable that he could earn some playing time as part of the regular tackle rotation next year. The raw talent is there.

Another place you might see Lamin is as the nose tackle if Carolina utilizes a 3-4 alignment in pass rush situations, a possibility the coaches played around with a little bit in the spring. This 3-4 alignment would be used similarly to how the rabbit package was used last year; the rationale for using a 3-4 instead of the rabbit package is that whereas Carolina had a wealth of talent at defensive end last year and was young and inexperienced at linebacker, this year we'll be young at end and deep and talented at linebacker. With his large frame, Lamin has the potential to fill out to the kind of size that would be ideal for a 3-4 nose tackle.

Trivia:
Lamin won the Rex Enright Defensive Player of the Spring Award. And no, we have no idea what the criteria are for winning this award.

Game-winning double-meaning lede:
"Abu Lamin has always been a stout young man. However, when he saw Clemson QB Cole Stoudt take off on a would-be game-winning scramble towards the goalline, with only Lamin in position to make the stop, Lamin knew it was time to show what he's really made of."

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