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South Carolina football recruiting: 2018 recruits beginning to come into focus

The big fish are obviously Xavier Thomas and Dakereon Joyner. Who are some other names to watch among current juniors?

NCAA Football: Western Carolina at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Two of the primary names connected to the Gamecocks out of the 2018 class are Xavier Thomas and Dakereon Joyner. If Will Muschamp is able to nab both of those players from Clemson - and he looks to be in as good a shape as the Tigers for their services - then it would represent two major recruiting wins and would once again reinforce Muschamp’s standing as one of the country’s top recruiters.

But there are still some very, very good players to be had for the program among the crop of current juniors. Here are five 2018 prospects - not named Xavier Thomas and Dakereon Joyner - that are atop my list:

Stephon Wynn Jr., DE, Anderson (S.C.) Hanna

Stephon Wynn is a Clemson legacy, but he is still weighing all of his options.
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The Gamecocks might be at an immediate disadvantage with Wynn since he is a Clemson legacy, but he is still balancing out all offers and enjoying the process at this time. The #5 strongside defensive end in the country (#82 overall) according to 247Sports’s composite rankings, Wynn has taken a pair of unofficial visits to South Carolina (on September 17 and just this past Saturday for the Western Carolina game) and currently holds 23 offers. He told SEC Country that his latest visit was “good” and that he plans to narrow his list “next month”.

Kavesz Sherard, OT, Anderson (S.C.) Hanna

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Wynn and his teammate, Sherard, could be a package deal. Sherard came with Wynn to the ECU game, and while he hasn’t been on campus since, it still looks to be a race between the Gamecocks, Clemson, and North Carolina to gain his services. If Wynn ends up at South Carolina, I think Sherard does as well.

Master Teague III, RB, Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman

Murfressboro, Tennessee running back Master Teague is in very good standing with the Gamecocks right now.
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Depth may not be a problem in the backfield for the Gamecocks for the foreseeable future with Rico Dowdle, A.J. Turner and C.J. Freeman (true junior, redshirt junior and redshirt sophomore in 2018, respectively) projected to be the team’s options at running back for the next few years. Landing a player like Teague would allow the staff to possibly redshirt him his first year on campus and have him ready to go in 2019 as the team’s potential RB of the future. Carolina is in strong standing with the Tennessee product (ranked as the country’s #16 RB), who also stopped in during the Western Carolina game this past weekend.

Rick Sandidge, DT, Concord (N.C.)

Sandidge, the country’s #6 defensive tackle, would be a strong get up front for Will Muschamp and the Gamecocks staff and could probably end up as a day one starter for the team in 2018 if they’re to land him. He had 14 TFLs as a sophomore and while that’s dropped to 4.0 this season, it’s clear that he can thrive as a legitimate run-stopping tackle at the college level, something that this program desperately needs. While he hasn’t been on campus too much as of yet, he was here for the ECU game in September and also stopped by twice during the summer, the first time during a prospect camp.

Josh Belk, DT, Richburg (S.C.) Lewisville

Belk has been on campus five times since February, his latest trip coming this past weekend during the Gamecocks’ win over Western Carolina. Another run-stopping defender, Belk has recorded 11.0 TFLs thus far as a junior. With players like Belk and Sandidge on the radar, Bobby Bentley (his primary recruiter) continues to work with Muschamp to fill a position of great need, not just this year, but down the road.