Name: Darius Whitfield
Position: Defensive Tackle/Defensive End/Offensive Guard
Height/Weight: 6'1" / 268 lbs.
Hometown: Mobile, Alabama
Rating: 247Sports: Three-star | Rivals: Four-star | ESPN: Three-star
Whitfield, one of the top players in the state of Alabama, surprised many with the timing of his commitment as he pledged just hours after the resignation of former South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier. While Whitfield has played on the offensive line, it appears that he will primarily see time at defensive tackle here in Columbia. He spurned offers from Arizona State, Florida State, Louisville, South Alabama, and Southern Miss, along with SEC offers from Arkansas, Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, and Missouri.
Strengths: Whitfield definitely has the overall frame of a DT, although not as big as the 300+ pound duo of Taylor Stallworth and Kelsey Griffin. However, his ability to play at end gives the Gamecocks a strong player that is quick off the edge and will be able to (hopefully) provide a boost to a struggling pass rush. With the new defensive schemes Will Muschamp and Travaris Robinson plan to install, he should be a perfect fit. He can also play offensive line, giving the team several options.
Weaknesses: At just 268 pounds, Whitfield doesn't have the size of the other O-lineman on the roster right now, and, again, isn't as big as the elder statesman at DT. Adding some more pounds to his frame will definitely help once he hits campus. That's not a knock on his overall play, though.
Overall: Whitfield could see some time right away as DT is very thin - with Dante Sawyer the only returning player that saw significant action in 2015. I'd put him up with Brandon McIlwain, Bryan Edwards and JUCO transfer Jamarcus King as probably one of the most important pieces of this class.