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 | Rashad Fenton | Jamyest Williams | Kaleb Chalmers | Tavyn Jackson | Keisean Nixon | Antoine Wilder + Chris Smith | Zay Brown + Javon Charleston | Jaylin Dickerson | Griffin Gentry |Hassan Belton
#22 Steven Montac
Junior / 5’11’’ / 181 / Convington, Ga. / Newton
For a late-arriving walk-on who didn't even join the team until after fall camp had started, Steven Montac ended up making an unexpected impression in 2016. Injuries helped pave the way for him to play in 11 games, starting six, en route to a solid year for the junior college transfer. Montac capped it off with a strong performance against South Florida in the Birmingham Bowl, where he logged a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a pass breakup and added a half-tackle for loss for good measure.
Montac is slated to start at safety, but can also play cornerback and nickel. He's missed some time in camp with a foot injury and is questionable for the opener, but will be evaluated further. South Carolina would certainly like to have him in the rotation against N.C. State.
Select highlight: Montac's strip of Missouri's Dimetrios Mason set up the Gamecocks' first touchdown in their eventual victory over the Tigers.
2016 stats: 39 tackles with three pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Recruitment: A two-star prospect in high school who garnered FCS attention, Montac headed to junior college to increase his visibility to bigger schools. After his season with Coffeyville Community College, where he was teammates with Jamarcus King, he was offered by Fresno State and Troy and drew interest from TCU, North Carolina, Indiana and others before landing at South Carolina.
Next up: Rashad Fenton, who — if nothing else — has already achieved glory for finally ending the kickoff return touchdown drought.