Gamecocks sign 20 in early signing period

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Christmas came early for Will Muschamp and the South Carolina Gamecocks.

With five days to go before Santa pays a visit to homes all over the world, Carolina got with 20 new players in the December signing period.

"We'll know about this class in two or three years," Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp said, "but I think, as far as the critical factors are concerned at every position, we hit more and more of what we want our football team to be and look like and that's exciting."

Of those signees, 13 of those players will be midyear enrollees.

"I've never been a part of a midyear signing class this big, number one," Muschamp said. "Number two, I've never seen a midyear come in and not be a benefit to the student-athlete from the standpoint of you're coming in in January, it's a much more controlled environment as far as your academics are concerned. Obviously, coming in with 12 other guys is going to help them even moreso. They're all going through the same thing together as far as the orientation and all the different stuff that they're going to go through together."

Among those who will enroll in January are local products Hank Manos (Chapin), Wyatt Campbell (Lugoff-Elgin), and Tyreek Johnson (Lakewood). The Gamecocks were also able to pick up two former Florida State commits in linebacker Rosendo Louis and defensive back Israel Mukuamu.

Carolina hopes to sign 25 players when it's all said and done in February, but they've got 75 percent of their signees already. For Muschamp, that is a testament to the coaches and their ability to remain persistent in their message of promoting South Carolina.

"It's the same message over and over and over again and promoting the University of South Carolina, our staff, our program, and where it's headed because the message never changed," Muschamp said. "The message for us never changes. It's just the persistence of a consistent message of what we do and how we do things and you just stay after it in the recruiting process."

Being able to come away with nearly half of their expected signees as midyear enrollees will ultimately benefit both the incoming players and the program as a whole.

"A major benefactor is, in the fall, is when a young man is now getting ready for a game and he's already been through this process so he understands the balance of social, academic, athletic, and there's a balance there and they've got to understand that. Time management, to me, is critical for a student-athlete to understand that there's not enough in the day for everything and you've got to be able to manage your time.

"But when these young people come here in January, they're going to learn without having to get ready for a game and the pressures of that and the anxiety of that and I just think it's a very beneficial process."

The NCAA's regular signing period will begin on February 7, 2018.

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