College Sports

What talented Gamecocks freshman defensive backs have already shown Muschamp, teammates

Muschamp on scheduling

South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp said he would be willing to play any non-conference opponent. The Gamecocks play two Power 5 opponents next season in North Carolina and Clemson.
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South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp said he would be willing to play any non-conference opponent. The Gamecocks play two Power 5 opponents next season in North Carolina and Clemson.

South Carolina’s main football coaching staff can’t work hand’s-on with its new freshmen who might be counted on in the secondary just yet.

They work with strength coaches, go to meetings, work in player-run-practices with new teammates. But freshmen like defensive back Cam Smith or Jammie Robinson can’t get in the trenches with the likes of Will Muschamp.

But those coaches can watch workouts, and they can field opinions from older teammates about those guys. Thus far, the impressions have been good.

“Just watching these guys work out athletically, now we’re still in pajamas, we ain’t put a football uniform on yet; Jammie Robinson, John Dixon, Shilo Sanders and Cam Smith, they move around and they fit in very well,” Muschamp said. “I know some of our older players have been very complimentary of those guys and their work ethic and their athleticism.”

Some of those players will almost assuredly be called upon, especially since the team is down to seven veteran scholarship defensive backs. Of those, Jamyest Williams, Jaylin Dickerson and J.T. Ibe have been dogged by injuries and Jamel Cook had a lot of rough edges to smooth out in the spring.

Smith was the highest rated among the incoming group, showed well at his all-star game and has the size to help at corner quickly if needed (maybe elsewhere).

Dixon has potential, but battled his own injury questions in high school. Robinson could help as nickel or maybe safety, both spots more questionable than outside corner. Sanders has the bloodlines of his Hall of Fame father.

The Gamecocks haven’t been shy with freshman defensive backs, starting Jaycee Horn and Williams early, turning over a starting job to R.J. Roderick last season and working Israel Mukuamu into the rotation late last season. They’re coming off a year when injuries ravaged the safety position and secondary overall, forcing running back A.J. Turner into defensive duty.

To fix that, they’ll need healthier veterans and something from the freshmen. Beyond what the young players have shown in pajamas, the coach also like the older pieces he has.

“Israel and Jaycee are both guys at the corner position that I’m really excited about,” Muschamp said. “R.J. Roderick did some really good things as a true freshman for us. Jamyest Williams has been a very productive player. Jaylin Dickerson, Jamel Cook did some good things.”

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