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South Carolina Gamecocks National Signing Day 2015: Signing Day Grades

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With the 2015 class all present and accounted for, we take a look out how this class fills the team's needs and how it grades overall.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

With Rashad Fenton committing earlier today, the Gamecocks have finished the 2015 class with 30 commits overall, 32 if you include Darrin Smalls and Cory Helms.  This was an interesting class to watch develop, going from being a Top 5 class at one point, to now ending as a top 20 class according to many of the major recruiting services.  There was also a ton of recruits that have decommitted, but for the purpose of this article, I am only looking at how the class has ended.  If the decommits did affect the position being graded in a major way, then I will take it into account.  First up I will take a look at the offensive side of the ball, starting with the quarterback position.

OFFENSE:

Quarterbacks:

Grade: B

Lorenzo Nunez is the only quarterback in the class, and was really the only one that the staff pursued.  Nunez is a dual threat quarterback with fantastic running abilities, but is still raw as a passer and will take some time to develop into a starter in the SEC.  While he may not have the instant impact ability of someone like Kyle Allen at Texas A&M or a guy like Josh Rosen, he isn't needed immediately so signing Nunez gets a decent grade.

Running Backs:

Grade: B+

Number of Recruits: 2

Mon Denson and AJ Turner were two solid pickups, and Denson may be one of the most underrated backs in the country.  Denson is a huge 225 pound bruiser that will make you pay for trying to tackle him, while Turner is the change of pace back that can dance through the running lanes and shred a defense if they aren't careful.   While the coaches did have a small chance to land more highly ranked backs like Jordan Scarlett or Johnny Frazier, don't sleep on either of these backs.  Both will likely redshirt with David Williams and Brandon Wilds on the roster, but whenever you beat Ohio State for a running back, that has to mean that he has some talent.

Tight Ends

Grade: A

Number of Recruits: 2

Kyle Markway and Connor Redmond fill the tight end need in this class.  It may seem weird to rate this as an A with both guys being three stars, but I feel that they are the type that Spurrier has become used to having on the team.  They are especially important since there is only one tight end on the team with prior playing time, so they both have the chance for early playing time.  Markway is the big blocking tight end that can catch, while Redmond is better used as a receiving threat.  These two were great pickups, and should have the chance to show that early on this season.

Wide Receivers

Grade: A-

Number of Recruits: 4

Jalen Christian and Dexter Neal headline this talented group, with Jerad Washington and Christian Owens making up the other two spots.  Christian is a lot like current receiver Pharoh Cooper and will be used in multiple roles on the offense when he plays.  Neal and Owens are both big bodied receivers that will be able to out muscle smaller defensive backs in the conference.  Washington is interesting and could fill a role similar to Ace Sanders.  There is a ton of potential in this group and even though most of them will likely redshirt, this will be a very solid group for USC to work with.

Offensive Line

Grade: C+

Number of Recruits: 5

This is the group that was hit hardest by decommits.  With offensive tackle being thin, the Gamecocks were in good shape with Christian Pellage, Austin Clark and Paris Palmer all helping to add depth at the tackle position.  With Clark and Palmer both decommiting, the Gamecocks now only have Pellage and Blake Camper.  While both are solid, the coaching staff really missed out.  The guard position is a very solid group with Zach Bailey and Trey Derouen making up this position.  Bailey is a nasty guard who has a ton of potential at USC and Derouen will be able to provide the staff with a guy that needs very little physical prepping.  At center, Wake Forest transfer Cory Helms is the best that the Gamecocks could hope for,  with the former Freshman All-American center joining the team this fall.  If he can get a hardship waiver from the NCAA, he will be one of the most important signees in this class.  Overall this was as olid group, but it could have been a lot better.

Overall Offensive Grade: B+

DEFENSE

Defensive End

Grade: A

Number of Recruits: 6

This is the best group in the class, led by JUCO Marquavious Lewis, followed by Dexter Wideman, Dante Sawyer, Shameik Blackshear, Boosie Whitlow and Devante Covington.  The Gamecocks did lose Arden Key to LSU, but I don't think that does too much damage to this group.  Lewis and Wideman are already on campus, and both will likely see early laying time this fall.  Sawyer will also get plenty of looks, and so will Blackshear if he is healthy.  Whitlow and Covington probably won't see much playing time, but this is certainly a group that could help revitalize the pass rush for South Carolina.  Wideman and Sawyer do project as defensive tackles in the long term, but for now they will help terrorize SEC backfields

Defensive Tackle

Grade: B+

Number of Recruits: 1

JUCO Ulric Jones is the only tackle prospect in this class and he is going to bring some vocal leadership to this team.  Whether he is talking smack to Clemson fans or embracing being a Gamecock, Jones will bring in something that the defense has been missing and that is a little bit of that swagger that DJ Swearinger always had.  The Gamecocks didn't really need any tackles in this class, especially with some of the DE's projecting as DT's, but Jones was a good JUCO surprise to get.

Linebackers

Grade: B

Number of Recruits: 4

With Skai Moore and Jonathan Walton still firmly in the starting positions, and a good bit of depth, linebackers were not a major concern with this class.  This group is headlined by stud recruit Sherrod Pittman along with Jalen Henry, Daniel Fennell and JUCO Ernest Hawkins.  Pittman will be a stud, but since he is still recovering from an injury, he will likely redshirt.  The staff has also seemed to want to get bigger linebackers on the team and Fennell is the lightest of them at 210, but they will all likely add at least 10 pounds, so this will be a hard group to beat in a few years.

Defensive Backs

Grade: B-

Number of Recruits: 4

Safety was an area of concern with this class, but by adding Octavis Johnson, Antoine Wilder and JUCO Toure Boyd, the position is in good hands.  Boyd is a headhunter and should provide fans with a plethora of highlights while here and Johnson and Wilder will provide needed depth.  While cornerback was not a major need, the Gamecocks have only one signed, Rashad Fenton.  When Mark Fields left for Clemson, it was a huge blow, but not one that makes this a bad class.

Defensive Grade: B+

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker/Punter

Grade: A

Number of Recruits: 1

Joseph Charlton is the lone signee here, he is a pretty good guy to have on the team.  He will likely see the field if he is able to beat out the incumbent, Tyler Hull.

OVERALL GRADE: B+

Despite some troubles with the decommits, this is a solid class with a lot of potential.  I look forward to seeing what they can do in the future.