One of the things that caught my attention during Will Muschamp’s postgame press conference was his mention of Charlotte as being important to the South Carolina program from a recruiting standpoint. It’s at 34 seconds of this video, but it’s certainly not a quote to overlook.
No doubt Muschamp was (at least in part) referring to a pair of players that could turn out to be the crown jewels of their 2018 signing class - Rick Sandidge and Dax Hollifield - and probably big-time 2019 target Quavaris Crouch too. Sandidge attends Concord High School, about a half-hour drive from Bank of America Stadium; Hollifield is a standout at Shelby, about 45 minutes west but still close enough to be considered part of the Charlotte metro; and Crouch is a five-star RB at Harding University High. (K.J. Henry is also from North Carolina, but resides in the Triad area.)
Sandidge and his family were in attendance during the Gamecocks’ win against N.C. State, but there’s no word on what the big defensive tackle thought. He is still expected to select South Carolina. As for Hollifield, I’m not sure that he was able to make it to the game (he was invited), but he’s expected to use one of his official visits to head down to South Carolina when it’s all said and done.
While South Carolina’s priority has been funneling in-state talent to Columbia, Charlotte has been a piece of their strategy. Freshman Eric Douglas attended state power Mallard Creek, while redshirt sophomore Will Putnam went to Hickory Ridge just outside of the city in Harrisburg. They have had a couple of misses in the area, though: Douglas’ high school teammate and fellow OL T.J. Moore originally selected South Carolina before decommitting and pledging to Florida, while Sandidge’s former Concord teammate, Hamsah Nasirildeen, picked South Carolina during an unofficial visit last August before the DB flipped to Florida State just a week and a half before National Signing Day. Muschamp hopes that with Sandidge and Hollifield, things are different, and landing both (or even one) would be a huge boost to next year’s class.