Getting a kid to come to the University of South Carolina to play football is something that Will Muschamp is really good at. If you didn’t know, Zacch Pickens, a 5-star recruit, recently committed to South Carolina after his spring game.
Pickens is from Anderson, which is right in Clemson’s backyard, so it’s even sweeter to most Gamecock fans. Clemson’s defensive coordinator, Brett Venables, was even there to watch Pickens commit to USC.
Most people don’t know how crucial Zacch Pickens committing to Carolina is. He’s Will Muschamp’s first 5-star recruit to commit to South Carolina, and Muschamp has finally won on a big-time player. Considering how many defensive linemen the Gamecocks missed on during the 2018 recruiting cycle, this is a great sign going forward.
Pickens is a really, really good football player. He isn’t a one-trick pony, either. The Anderson native is an extremely good player against the run and pass. I don’t think that Pickens will ever be a Clowney against the pass, but he has first-round potential.
At least in college, I doubt Pickens will ever be a Buck like DJ Wonnum or purely a defensive tackle like Javon Kinlaw. His role will most likely be similar to what Keir Thomas plays: playing on the edge on earlier downs and moving inside to rush the passer on third down. Versatility matters to Will Muschamp, which is why Muschamp dedicated so much time to his recruitment.
With Pickens’ commitment, he’s a potential starting group and then rotation players in two years:
Defensive End: Zacch Pickens
Defensive Tackle: Rick Sandidge
Defensive Tackle: Josh Belk
Buck: Joseph Anderson
Rotational Players: Rodricus Fitten, Jahkeem Green, Devontae Davis, Kingsley Enagbare, Aaron Sterling and MJ Webb.
Josh Belk being a starter at defensive tackle obviously depends on if he comes to South Carolina and fixes his motor, but he could be a great player for the Gamecocks if he gets it together on the field. Now, any combination of these players can and will be used. The majority of these players have SEC starting potential. That’s a freaky group of defensive lineman.
The majority of these players are either 4 or 5-star recruits, with the few who are 3-star being high 3-star players. Whether or not you believe in the stars and recruiting, this isn’t going to be the same team it was in 2014-2016 as far as the defensive line is concerned. The culture at the University of South Carolina is changing in front of our eyes, and it’s amazing to see.