COLUMBIA, S.C. (TheBigSpur.com) - South Carolina added four prospects – three high school recruits and one junior college player – to its 2021 signing class on Wednesday, the first day of the February signing period.
Not counting the seven transfers head coach Shane Beamer has added to the program, the 2021 signing class (group that has signed since Beamer was hired) is now up to 13 players. Five members of that group are already on campus as early enrollees, as are all of the transfer portal additions.
Wednesday’s haul began with in-state defensive lineman T.J. Sanders, a three-star recruit from Marion. He was followed by three-star corner La’Dareyen Craig from Mobile, Ala. (Baker), three-star linebacker Kolbe Fields from Metairie, La. (Archbishop Rummel), and three-star junior college linebacker Tavareon Scott of Fort Wayne, Ind. (Dodge City C.C.).
Below are Beamer’s comments on the quartet of signees, along with some biographical information released by South Carolina Athletic Communications and Public Relations.
“It’s always going to be important to us to keep the best players in South Carolina at home. T.J. is one of those guys without a doubt, one of the very best players in South Carolina. We’re fortunate he’s headed our way. He had a great senior season playing in the state championship at Marion. I love the fact at 6-4 and 285 pounds my man averages a double-double on the basketball court. It shows his athleticism.
“He’s someone that I know when I got here was committed to us. I immediately watched his video. When you have a guy with that athleticism that can play on the interior of your defensive line and is an in-state player and a great young man, you’ll take those guys all day long.”
Played defensive tackle and tight end at Marion (S.C.) High School... helped the Swamp Foxes reach the Class 2A state championship game as a senior in 2020... posted 26 tackles with five tack- les for loss and a pair of sacks as a junior in 2019... coached by Randall State... also played basketball... averaged a double- double on the hardwood as a junior, earning 6-3A Player of the Year accolades... rated as the eighth-best player in South Carolina, the 40th-best defensive tackle in the country and No. 662 overall by 247Sports Composite... Rivals ranked him as the seventh-best player in the state.
“He has great length and goes by ‘Hollywood.’ He has an awesome personality and you guys are going to enjoy getting to know him. He’s another one that was a fight to the finish with some teams that came in late on him. We were certainly one of those as well. We haven’t been on him forever. We just got on him recently, but in the last 24 to 48 hours he’s had a lot of suitors. He’s a guy coming from Alabama and being able to get in that state more and more for recruiting will be great for us.
“He has size. In this league it’s all about matchups. We have a 6-foot-8 receiver that just joined the roster. At the defensive back position you better be able to match up and have size and physicality at the defensive back position. Hollywood brings that to the table at 6-foot-2. His best football is in front of him and he has a magnetic personality. He’ll be able to help us from a defensive standpoint and all of these guys as well on special teams.”
“Hollywood” played cornerback and wide receiver for Baker High School in Mobile, Ala... coached by Steve Nor- mand... earned second team Class 7A ASWA all-state honors... was a second- team selection to the All-Coastal Ala- bama squad as a senior... helped the Hornets to a 5-5 campaign in 2020... also competed in track & field... Rivals ranked him as the 54th-best player in the state of Alabama.
Played outside linebacker for Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie, La... helped the Raiders to a 6-2 record and a Louisiana Division I second-round play- off appearance as a senior... logged 58 tackles including six tackles for loss and a pair of sacks in 2020... named MaxPrep’s first-team all-state in 2019 after leading the Raiders to an undefeated season and a state championship... recorded 105 tackles including 10 tackles for loss with three interceptions and two forced fumbles as a junior... coached by Nick Monica... 247Sports Composite ranked him as the 24th-best player in the state of Louisiana, the 47th-best outside linebacker in the country and No. 784 overall... Rivals considered him the 23rd- best player in Louisiana and the No. 54 outside linebacker in the country... ESPN rated him as the 24th-best player in the state and the 67th-best outside line- backer in the nation.
“Back in December when we sat down and had to figure out what to attack and what we need to address from a personnel standpoint on defense it was linebackers and outside linebacker type guys,” Beamer said when asked about Fields and Scott. “We knew we didn’t have a ton of scholarships so we had to be real selective and exact about who exactly we were going to pursue. From day one, it was Kolbe and (Tavareon). Those were the guys were at the top of Coach White’s list and our defensive staff’s list. We said these are the two guys, we pursued them, offered both in December.
“Kolbe was committed to another school at the time and announced on Twitter he was offered by South Carolina. Frankly, you worry about a kid all the way out in Louisiana and (Tavareon) halfway across the country, being able to get those guys to Carolina when you have a lot of suitors coming after them. I’m really impressed we identified them early, went after them early and ended up signing with us. We had a lot of competition for both of those guys.”
“We have to have guys at the linebacker position that are big and have the physical traits that we’re after, but have a mentality to them as well and these guys have that. They are hard workers, all business. Every time I talk to them they are either working out, getting ready to work out or just finished working out. They are appreciative of the opportunity and both have big upsides.”
Junior college outside linebacker who spent the past two years at Dodge City (Kan.) Community College... the Conquistadors did not play in the fall of 2020... earned honorable mention all- KJCCC honors as a freshman in 2019... coached by Ricky Coon... graduated from Snider High School in Fort Wayne, Ind. In 2019... considered a late bloom- er who did not get much playing time in high school until his senior season... earned the nickname “Bam” as a reference to the fireworks customary on his birthday of July 4.