If South Carolina is able to defeat #4 Clemson at Memorial Stadium tonight, the Tigers’ playoff hopes would be severely damaged. Considering that last year’s Gamecocks team, which was much worse than this one, played the then-#1 Tigers close in last year’s meeting at Williams-Brice, I wouldn’t be surprised if this one was within striking distance - despite the fact that it’s a road game. (James is predicting an upset FWIW).
That’s the short term effect. But what about more long-term effects, namely on recruiting?
Yes, I know that a change won’t happen overnight. But how’d you like to be Will Muschamp, Travaris Robinson or Bobby Bentley this winter/next spring after you beat your playoff-hopeful rival in a year where you were expected to rebuild but ended up making a bowl (albeit barely)? Kids take notice of things like that, and if they feel that they have a chance to put their stamp on a program that is looking to make noise in the future and has building blocks to make a run at bigger and better things, they’ll give you a look. I stress that it will take some time to get South Carolina front of mind over Clemson in the in-state pecking order, but for kids like Xavier Thomas, Dakereon Joyner, and (maybe?) Stephon Wynn, the Gamecocks beating Clemson could give them something to think about.
It goes without saying that tonight will be a big game for the Gamecocks. And that could be the case for more reasons than one.
—It’s state playoff season for many of the Gamecocks’ 2017 commits, and while many players’ seasons have come to an end, several are still well within the hunt for a state championship.
Jamyest Williams’ Grayson team made it look easy in a 49-21 win over Colquitt County in the 7A quarterfinals. Williams had a pair of touchdowns in this one. Grayson moves to next week’s 7A semifinals against Mill Creek, with the winner advancing to the state championship at the Georgia Dome on December 10.
Sherrod Greene’s Rocky Mount is in Class 3A’s third round after a 27-21 victory over Southern Nash. Greene, a linebacker, started at running back for the first time since last season and ran for 79 yards.
Meanwhile in Charlotte, Eric Douglas and Mallard Creek’s 4AA title reign came to an end at the hands of rival Butler by a 42-28 count. The Mavericks had won the last three state titles in their class.
Jaylin Dickerson and Pinecrest saw their season come to an end at the hands of Heritage as they fell 25-21 in their Class 4AA tilt.
Will Register and Chapin dropped Beaufort 52-35 in the Class 4A second round. Register had a pair of catches for 44 yards in the victory.
Shi Smith and Union lost to Damani Staley and Ridge View 24-20 in their Class 4A upper state second round contest. Smith, recruited as a WR for the Gamecocks, had a 54-yard touchdown throw in the loss. Staley and Ridge View will take on South Aiken next week.
Summie Carlay and Laurens saw their season come to an end in a 35-17 loss to Spartanburg in a Class 5A upper state quarterfinal.
Kyshaun Bryan and St. Thomas Aquinas marched past Mater Academy Charter 50-10 in the FHSAA Class 7A regional finals. Next up is a battle with Venice in the state semifinals next week. Bryan scored a touchdown and had 118 yards rushing to lead all ball carriers.
Tavyn Jackson and Rickards fell to Ponte Vedra (Perry Orth’s alma mater) 30-21 in their Class 5A FHSAA regional final.