With fall camp getting cranked up, you might be wondering which of Carolina's true freshmen are most likely to make an immediate impact. Here are a few names in particular that you should remember.
Wesley Green / Al Harris, Jr. / Chris Lammons. While Rico McWilliams appears to have one of the cornerback slots fairly well locked down, neither Ali Groves, Sidney Rhodes, or Jamari Smith have distinguished themselves enough to lock down the other spot. That means the three incoming freshman corners are very much in the running for significant playing time. Not just as the season progresses, either; Harris has already seen significant reps with the first team, and Green and Lammons have also turned heads.
Which of these three are most likely to see the most time on the field this season? On the one hand, Harris is further along in mastering the defensive scheme and refining his technique. He enrolled in May and got plenty of summer work, whereas his fellow cohort members weren't able to enroll until very recently due to academic concerns. Harris's understanding of his position also benefits from being the son of a former Pro Bowler corner and current defensive backs coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. However, Harris is also the least physically ready of the three, weighing only 162 pounds. His ability to hold his own in run support is a major concern. Green and Lammons more so resemble prototypical SEC corners in size and athleticism, hence their higher rating in high school. Again, though, they're not as refined in their technique and understanding of the position, particularly Lammons, who is an excellent athlete but played both QB and CB in high school, meaning he devoted a large portion of his high-school career to leading his offense rather than developing as a corner. Right now, Harris seems to have the overall edge and likely will continue to for the time being, but Lammons and especially Green may catch up over the course of the season.
Bryson Allen-Williams. Allen-Williams is slated to see significant playing time this season at the BOB linebacker position, which will be the fourth linebacker on the field in addition to Mike, Will, and Spur when the Gamecocks are in their 3-4 front. Larenz Bryant will also play at the position. Part of the idea in using the 3-4 is that the Gamecocks have too much talent at linebacker not to use the 3-4, particularly given the deficiencies on the defensive line. BAW is a big part of the draw of the 3-4. The Bob linebacker will be used heavily in the pass rush, where BAW excelled in high school. For a freshman, he's physically ready, and he has great instincts when he gets into the backfield. If you watch his high-school film, you'll be reminded a bit of Eric Norwood. Like Norwood, BAW closes plays well, and he frequently wreaks havoc and forces turnovers. He's ready to play, and the coaches have a package that will utilize his skill set well. I expect him to produce at least a couple of "wow" moments on the season.
Deebo Samuel. While Shaq Davidson got more attention for most of the recruiting process, it might be Tyshun "Deebo" Samuel who sees earlier playing time at receiver. Deebo wasn't as scrutinized early in the process because it was initially thought he wouldn't be able to qualify academically, but once he inspired enough confidence to get an offer from Carolina, many recruiting analysts noted that the Gamecocks might have gotten a steal. Now that Deebo is on campus, it appears that is indeed the case. Deebo is a physically impressive receiver who also excels in returning punts. The question for him is how quickly he learns Spurrier's route tree, which is a formidable task. Once he's done so, he may be able to push his way up to being the sixth or fifth receiver behind Shaq Roland, Damiere Byrd, Pharoh Cooper, and Nick Jones.