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South Carolina took a big step towards rebuilding their defensive line when they received a verbal commitment from JUCO defensive tackle Dantrell Barkley Tuesday afternoon. He became the first defensive lineman from the class of 2018 to commit to the Gamecocks.
“Their d-line was very, very thin,” said Barkley. “That’s what I heard from most of the coaching staff. That it was very thin and I would have the chance to come in and compete for a starting job. As an interior lineman I could come in and make an impact right away.”
Barkley confirmed that he knew he would be a Gamecock when he was in Columbia earlier in June for one of Will Muschamp’s camps.
“When you walk on campus you want to feel like you’re home. When I first walked onto (South Carolina’s) campus I felt like I was at home. I liked the atmosphere, the people and just the look of everything.”
Barkley does not have any tape at the JUCO level after redshirting his freshman year, but the coaching staff are comfortable accepting his commitment based off their evaluations of him throughout the spring and at camp this summer.
At 6-foot-4, 285 pounds, Barkley believes a lot of that has to do with his athletic ability.
“I feel like I’m very athletic and can run really well for my size. That’s what most coaches talk about and I take a lot of pride in it.”
With Taylor Stallworth and Ulric Jones set to graduate after the 2017 season, Muschamp is looking for defensive lineman who can come in and play right away in 2018. Barkley fits that bill, and he is also attractive in the sense that he will have three years of eligibility left after transferring.
He also said that he is on track to graduate in December and plans to be an early enrollee.
“Y’all are getting a heck of a player that will work everyday,” said Barkley. “I’m thankful to be a part of what South Carolina’s building.”
Dorian Gerald update
Dorian Gerald, another top JUCO target for the 2018 cycle, caused a frenzy on Twitter Thursday night after hinting his decision could come soon.
I'm so close to committing— Dorian Gerald (@TopNotchDG) June 22, 2017
I dreamed and wished and prayed for a moment like this ... I have to go with my heart on this one.— Dorian Gerald (@TopNotchDG) June 22, 2017
It all boils down to four schools— Dorian Gerald (@TopNotchDG) June 23, 2017
Some even thought that a commitment from the No. 2 JUCO defensive end in the nation would come last night, but Gerald told SEC Country that it would instead be, “most likely tomorrow.”
Tomorrow has arrived and there have been no further developments, but this is something to keep an eye on. It seems like Gerald is waiting on his family, but when he does announce the Gamecocks should be considered the team to beat. He is a Florence, SC native and USC is the only school he has specified as a top contender.
Gamecocks lead for Georgia cornerback
3-star cornerback Jonathan Gipson out of Hoschton, Georgia released his top seven in order on Wednesday, and South Carolina held the top spot.
Top 7️⃣ in order Just in case y'all didn't like the video. Temperature is rising as I come closer 2 my decision, Committing in July ♂️ pic.twitter.com/t89je0CSRp— 3️⃣Mr.Pick6️⃣ (@Jona_Gipson) June 21, 2017
He is listed by 247Sports as cornerback, but he is being looked at by the Gamecocks as a safety. At 6-foot-1, Gipson provides nice length in the defensive backfield. He should be announcing some time during July.
A few notes on Stephon Wynn
In case you missed it, Stephon Wynn released his top three and decision date Wednesday evening. He will announce his commitment on July 1 in his hometown of Anderson, SC.
Since he has been somewhat of a hot topic as of late, I did some digging in hopes of providing a bit more clarification on Wynn’s situation. I’m not sure it helps clear up too much, but here are what the pundits are saying in regards to his decision.
JC Shurburtt of TheBigSpur said recently that he thinks Georgia will be the pick, but cannot completely rule out Gamecocks.
After Wynn’s announcement on Wednesday GamecockCentral’s Chris Clark said he believes USC is in the best position.
And finally, SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan wrote Friday morning that, “If there were a Crystal Ball reading coming from this space, it would be South Carolina.”
One report that is consistent across all sources is that Wynn is a quiet individual, and even those close to him are not sure who he will choose.
Garnet & Black Attack will be in attendance on July 1 with live updates and reactions.