Full 2022 class, analysis: South Carolina football national signing day
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The 2022 South Carolina football recruiting class is official as of Wednesday afternoon.
First-year head coach Shane Beamer made an immediate impact on the organization, leading the team to their first bowl game since the Belk Bowl in 2018.
Just days ago, the Shane Beamer effect took full force, as former Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler and tight end Austin Stogner transferred to the university.
“I talked to Spencer about visiting and he said ‘I don’t need to’,” said Beamer. “Spencer and Spencer’s Dad were on the call and they told me they were coming... I had to step outside and scream so I didn’t scare anyone in my house.”
“Thank you to our fans for the best home-field advantage in all of college football,” Beamer said. “We told all these recruits that the atmosphere that we had out here for Auburn, Florida, and Clemson... that’s the norm out here.”
Those fans around the nation watched closely to see if that magic would continue as the Gamecocks officially welcome the 2022 recruiting class.
“Wait till you see that environment when we’re nationally ranked and competing for SEC Championships,” Beamer said.
The Gamecocks began announcing their signees around 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Below, in order, are each of the players who signed their National Letters of Intent as they were approved by the school.
QB Braden Davis (Middletown, Del./Meddletown) - 7:11 A.M.
247Sports Composite: Four-star, 0.8960 (No. 322 nationally)
Height/Weight: 6-5, 195
Commitment date: April 30, 2021
Notable offers: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Penn State
Why South Carolina?: “I just can’t wait until I’m down here for good and actually going through it, instead of just looking at it from the outside. … Just really seeing how genuine everybody is, everybody here is just really good people. You can tell everybody is invested in the program and getting better. Everybody is just looking out for each other, which I love.”
OL Cason Henry (Marietta, Ga./Walton) - 7:16 A.M.
247Sports Composite: Three-star, 0.8551 (No. 996 nationally)
Height/Weight: 6-6, 290
Commitment date: June 26, 2021
Notable offers: East Carolina, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Virginia Tech
Why South Carolina?: “I visited (South Carolina) and it felt more like home than anywhere else. The coaching staff was more approachable than any other, like easier to talk to and I felt more comfortable with the coaches. They were more - they were on a mission, and they know what they’re building. They know what they’re trying to build. Coach (Greg) Adkins is a great o-line coach. I’ll obviously be in good hands with him. Coach (Shane) Beamer is a great head coach. He cares about his guys and stuff like that, so it’s kind of like a family environment, which is kind of what I was looking for.”
DB Kajuan Banks (Tallahassee, Fla./Amos P. Godby) - 7:47 A.M.
247Sports Composite: Three-star, 0.8743 (No. 572)
Height/Weight: 5-10, 170
Commitment date: May 15, 2021
Notable offers: Cincinnati, Kentucky, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Tennessee
Why South Carolina?: “I just feel like it’s the best fit for me. The coaches have kept in touch with me since the first day that they started recruiting me. I just feel like they can develop me and get me to the next level. “I’m really excited to learn from [Coach Gray] because I have seen him put some good DBs in the NFL. I feel like Coach Beamer is just building his program up the right way.”
OL Grayson Mains (Suwanee, Ga./Lambert) - 7:59 A.M.
247Sports Composite: Three-star, 0.8558 (No. 732 nationally)
Height/Weight: 6-5, 265
Commitment date: April 1, 2021
Notable offers: Arizona State, Michigan State, Tennessee, West Virginia
Why South Carolina?: “I just love what coach Beamer has done so far and I feel like he’s going to be able to change that program. That campus was beautiful. … Plus, being able to be in Columbia and see everything - we got to see a little bit more of the facilities. Things were a little bit more spread out. Couldn’t really get into anything, but seeing everything from the outside was beautiful.”
DL Felix Hixon (Jackson, Ga./Jackson) - 8:09 A.M.
247Sports Composite: Three-star, 0.8742 (No. 585 nationally)
Height/Weight: 6-3, 285
Commitment date: July 5, 2021
Notable offers: Georgia, Florida, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech
Why South Carolina?: “When I did come and visited for myself, I was like, yeah, I could actually see myself going here. But I wasn’t all the way sure, because I wanted to make sure. After this official visit and these other visits, I really just knew that was the place. Coach (Jimmy) Lindsey, I’ve been talking to him for a long time. As soon as he came in, the new staff came in, he called me and introduced himself. We’ve been keeping in touch ever since. We’re building a great relationship. Same with coach (Shane) Beamer. I’ve been talking to him a lot. He’s a great coach and I just like the program that he’s building.”
DB Peyton Williams (Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall-Heath) - 8:16 A.M.
247Sports Composite: Three-star, 0.8836 (No. 452)
Height/Weight: 6-1, 180
Commitment date: June 21, 2021
Notable offers: Maryland, Florida State, Michigan State
Why South Carolina?: “Whenever we sat down and talked with Coach Beamer, he’s trying to build a culture, change things up,” Williams said. “I know is goal is to win national championships. I love the facilities down there. I love the coaches down there. I love the area. I think we’re going to go win, build a culture there and have fun. They are here to win, here to have a family and have good academics. I think I will fit in good with their defense. They have a good defensive back coach and he’ll be able to break it down for me. He said he liked my ability to get around the field, my open-field tackling, and just me as a player. He said he’d probably put me around everywhere in the type of defense they run, be everywhere and versatile.” – from SportsTalk
LB Stone Blanton (Madison, Miss./Madison-Ridgeland Academy) - 8:23 a.m.
247Sports Composite: Four-star, 0.8916 (No. 371 nationally)
Height/Weight: 6-2, 220
Commitment date: Dec. 13, 2021
Notable offers: Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Stanford, Auburn, Texas A&M, Oregon
Why South Carolina?: “We’ve had a great relationship for the past year. They have a phenomenal staff there, and I couldn’t be more thankful for them. I was perfectly at peace with my decision. …South Carolina has a lot of potential and will only go up from where they were this season. I can trust the coaches and I think the program is in a great place to go up.”
Edge Donovan Westmoreland (Griffin, Ga./Griffin) - 8:41 a.m.
247Sports Composite: Three-star, 0.8843 (No. 443 nationally)
Height/Weight: 6-0, 214
Commitment date: May 3, 2021
Notable offers: Georgia, Louisville, Tennessee
Why South Carolina?: “The consistency, how they continued to text me and show me love, it played a big role, to show they really want me. They were just talking to me, like they actually want me to be a part of their team. The thing that caught my eye - I think it’s at every college, but there, when they walk out the tunnel and the fire and stuff pops up, that caught my eye right there. That was just like a memorable moment. Their fan-base, they have a lot of people up there, so I love the fan-base.”
Edge Bryan Thomas Jr. (Winter Garden, Fla./Foundation Academy) - 9:31 a.m.
247Sports Composite: Three-star, 0.8561 (No. 952 nationally)
Height/Weight: 6-3, 225
Commitment date: Sept. 9, 2021
Notable offers: Maryland, Minnesota, N.C. State, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech
Why South Carolina?: “My position coach, Mike Peterson, he’s an NFL veteran. Who wouldn’t want to learn from the best? He played the same exact position I want to play if I’m fortunate enough to go to the NFL. Coach Beamer, he has a good resume from the other schools that he was at. The campus was amazing, the academic part was amazing. The players that were there, they were very nice and hospitable. The coaching staff has a lot of NFL experience. When you have a lot of people around you with a lot of NFL experience, that’s where you want to go. That’s where your future is. You want to go, too. You want to put yourself in that position.”
OL Ryan Brubaker (Denver, Pa./Cocalico) - 10:03 a.m.
247Sports Composite: Three-star, 0.8776 (No. 540)
Height/Weight: 6-6, 280
Commitment date: June 29, 2021
Notable offers: Penn State, Stanford, Tennessee, Auburn, Michigan
Why South Carolina?: “Coach Adkins is real. He’s human and he treats his players like that. So many player hosts I talked to, they talked about how maybe this was their second or their third staff, just talking about how they had coaches who, unless you were performing, they really didn’t care. You were a tool. The fact coach Adkins if human, and treats players like human, is appealing and I think that is the direction football is starting to move overall.”
DB Nick Emmanwori (Columbia, S.C./Irmo) - 10:13 a.m.
247Sports Composite: Three-star, 0.8702 (No. 663 nationally)
Height/Weight: 6-1, 210
Commitment date: July 1, 2021
Notable offers: Charlotte, Georgia Southern, Richmond
Why South Carolina?: “Coach White is a real genuine guy, real transparent. He’s a good coach to work with. He understands what you are as a player. He understands you can do this and has different schemes for you, so he’s a good coach, from what we talked about and stuff.”
WR Landon Samson (Southlake, Texas/Southlake) - 10:27 a.m.
247Sports Composite: Three-star, 0.8846 (No. 441 nationally)
Height/Weight: 6-1, 180
Commitment date: June 30, 2021
Notable offers: Nebraska, TCU, Boise State
Why South Carolina?: “It was great, I got to spend a lot more time with the coaches and the coaching staff and all the players, who I hadn’t got to meet yet. So it was a great experience getting out there, especially before I come in January, and just create bonds with some of the players and get to see the game day environment, which was amazing. Way more exciting than it probably should’ve been during the game, but it was great being out there.”
DB Emory Floyd (Powder Springs, Ga./Hillgrove) - 10:31 a.m.
247Sports Composite: Three-star, 0.8872 (No. 410 nationally)
Height/Weight: 6-1, 165
Commitment date: July 3, 2021
Notable offers: Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame
Why South Carolina?: “Really, I just liked the atmosphere down there. Everything felt real. My family went down with me, so we really liked the school a lot. Coach Torrian Gray is probably one of the best DB coaches in college football, to me. After that (virtual) visit, I really liked everything. Everybody on the call was real cool, so my family bonded with them on the Zoom and we didn’t meet them yet. That played a big part in it.”
DB Anthony Rose (Miami Fla./Miami Central) - 11:08 a.m.
247Sports Composite: Three-star, 0.8883 (No. 399 nationally)
Height/Weight: 6-3, 180
Commitment date: June 27, 2021
Notable offers: Arizona, Arizona State, FIU, Illinois
Why South Carolina?: “(Coach Gray) calls me every day and he texts me every day and says that he loves my film. He keeps telling me that I’m their No. 1 prospect. That’s the school recruiting me the hardest out of all of them.”
WR Zavier Short (Chapin, S.C./Chapin High School) - 12:52 p.m.
247Sports Composite: Three-star, 0.8370 (No. 1433 nationally)
Height/Weight: 6-2, 208
Commitment date: December 14, 2021
Notable offers: Appalachian State, Army, Coastal Carolina
Why South Carolina?: “It’s 20 minutes away from my house. Ever since I moved here from West Virginia in fourth grade, you pick South Carolina or you pick Clemson, and with my family, I grew up liking South Carolina. It’s always been my dream school. I didn’t ever think I was ever going to get the chance, and then when I did, it was really a no-brainer.”
DL D’Andre Martin (Colonial Heights, Va./Life Christian Academy) - 2:02 p.m.
247Sports Composite: Three-star, 0.8457 (No. 1251 nationally)
Height/Weight: 6-4, 293
Commitment date: Dec. 7, 2021
Notable offers: Virginia Tech, Duke, Florida State, Tennessee
Why South Carolina?: “I love his coaching style. It’s really great. I feel like he’s the type of coaching I can come to outside of the practice. Hey, coach, can I get some work? Or, hey, coach, I need some tips and some pointers on what to do, to win reps when I’m in the game and on the field. I feel like he’s the type of coach, no matter what situation, I can go to him anytime and ask questions.”
DB Keenan Nelson Jr. (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph’s Prep) - 3:01 p.m.
247Sports Composite: Four-star, 0.9147 (No. 219 nationally)
Height/Weight: 6-1, 200
Commitment date: July 20, 2021
Notable offers: Penn State, Georgia, Miami, Michigan State, Notre Dame
Why South Carolina?: “When I went down on my visit, it felt good. It felt like a place I could be. It felt good with coach Beamer and seeing the bond the players had, that really stood out to me. I would like to start out at corner but I know my body type and how versatile I am. I can play anything on the field. We didn’t talk about (specifics), but that is some of the stuff they talked to me about, just how versatile I am.”
DL Demetrius Watson (North Charleston/Fort Dorchester) - 3:35 p.m.
247Sports Composite: Three-star, 0.8466 (No. 1221 nationally)
Height/Weight: 6-3, 285
Commitment date: November 7, 2021
Notable offers: Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Virginia Tech
Why South Carolina?: “They’ve been the place that makes me feel most at home. Kept the most in-contact with me, things outside of football, meeting the coaches, getting to know each other better. I talk to coach Beamer maybe every three or four days. I text him or he texts me. Coach Lindsey, maybe every two days, he calls to check up on me, see what’s going on with the season. I tell him – the games that I can’t attend, I watch them, and I see the progression that they’re making and stuff like that.”
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