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South Carolina DB DJ Smith wants to go out on top his senior year

South Carolina’s leading tackler looks to top that mark again in 2017

Massachusetts v South Carolina Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve finally hit the home stretch! We’re close to the opener against NC State and to wrap up the Final Cockdown we’re going to look down a list of potential impact defensive backs for South Carolina this season:

Chris Lammons + Jamarcus King | MJ Webb | DJ Smith | Steven Montac | Rashad Fenton Jamyest Williams | Kaleb Chalmers | Tavyn Jackson | Keisean Nixon | Antoine Wilder + Chris Smith | Zay Brown + Javon Charleston | Jaylin Dickerson | Griffin Gentry |Hassan Belton

#24 DJ Smith

Senior / 5’11’’ / 198 / Marietta, Ga. / Walton

South Carolina was fortunate to grab DJ Smith out of the 2014 class considering he was offered by Georgia, Clemson, Florida and Ohio State. But even as he was a consensus top-200 prep player in 2013, Smith found a hard time working his way into the starting lineup at the beginning of his career.

Smith played sparingly in 2014 and 2015, starting twice in his first 24 games while registering 33 tackles in those games. He primarily contributed on special teams, but it was only when Will Muschamp came to town that Smith was moved to safety full time and possibly unlocked his true potential.

Smith would lead the team in tackles last season and slowly morphed into a defensive leader over the course of 2016. Now Smith is a senior and looks to be a top player on a Gamecock pass defense which has high expectations in 2017.

Select highlight: Smith’s crucial fumble recovery against ECU which kept the Pirates out of the endzone.

2016 Stats: 80 tackles, 3 TFL, two fumble recoveries, one interception

Recruitment: Four star; Offers from Arkansas, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Louisville, Miami, Michigan State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, West Virginia and South Carolina. Committed to SC on Jan. 13, 2014.

Next up: Steven Montac, the walk-on JUCO transfer who made a surprising impact in 2016.