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South Carolina signs 20 on Early Signing Day - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

South Carolina signs 20 on Early Signing Day

COLUMBIA, SC -

A class that includes a trio of players from the Lowcountry highlights South Carolina's Early Signing Day class from Wednesday. 

"The program got better today." Will Muschamp said. "We ended up signing 20 guys in this class, in the early signing period. I'm looking forward to finishing out this class, but we obviously improved our program. We'll know about this class, as I say every year and I'll say again in February, we'll know about this class in two or three years. But I really think, as far as critical factors are concerned, at every position we hit more and more of what we want our football team to be and look like. We're moving forward, and that's exciting."

"The last two signing classes, we've produced 18 starters and nine major contributors. You're talking about 27 guys on your football team that are playing in their first or second year and are major contributors to your organization. It's also produced two permanent team captains in Jake Bentley and Dennis Wonnum, voted by their teammates, for only the third time in school history. You talk in terms of leadership and character and the type of people you want in your organization, because their were certainly some other guys that were up for that award as well, but they were voted by their teammates.

This was also the first year the NCAA has allowed this early signing period. It was an adjustment for teams to handle as they also deal with bowl preparation. 

"You had to adjust a lot from the standpoint of as you dealt with young people sometimes, they think they're going to sign in the early signing day, then they're not really sure if they're going to sign on the early signing date. It puts a lot on the assistant coaches to get the information right and I'm very involved in all of the recruits so I'm involved in that process as well to make sure. I only get one visit off campus with a prospective student-athlete so I hit more guys in December than I ever had because we didn't want to waste, not that I'm going to get in there and get the kid to sign, but it's certainly the attention that the young man deserves, it's important and I think our staff did an excellent job identifying those things early in the process and knowing where we needed to spend our time. We spent a lot of time talking about the early signing period as a staff and I think we managed it pretty well. We had more visits in the season than we normally do. We had a big weekend in December during the banquet, which is what we normally do. I don't know if it was much more different than in just having more visits during the season so it is what it is. I'm kind of down the middle on it. At the end of the day, whatever they want to do is fine with me. I don't waste time in giving them my opinion."

"I think the most important thing was giving our guys some time off. It's a long season and we're banged up like everyone else in the country late in the year. I think it's good for your guys to get away and decompress. We did get some lifts and some runs in with Jeff Dillman and the strength staff. We were on the road every day. We took a couple mornings and afternoons to come in and game plan. I pulled everybody off the road Friday before last Saturday to spend a day to game plan for Michigan and I think that's going well. I think we're where we need to be as far as that's concerned to get everything done in Columbia. There's a lot of distractions when you get to Tampa so I want to have the whole game plan done and kind of add and subtract a little bit here and there as far as what you want to do within that. As far as the practice, I carried a cell phone on the practice field for the first time in my career today. I was disappointed that I actually did that, but I was afraid I would miss a phone call. That was really the only change for me."

WYATT CAMPBELL
OL • 6-5 • 275
Elgin, S.C. (Lugoff-Elgin)
Signed: 7:35 a.m.

Local product who graduated from Lugoff-Elgin (S.C.) High School in December and will enroll at South Carolina in January... helped the Demons win eight games and reach the second round of the Class 4A playoffs as a senior offensive lineman in 2017... coached by Matthew Campbell... selected to the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas but did not participate due to a knee injury that required surgery... ranked as the 14th-best overall prospect in South Carolina and the No. 70 offensive tackle in the country, according to 247's national composite rankings... considered the Palmetto State's 22nd-best player by Rivals... brother, Elliott, is an offensive lineman at Wofford.

JABARI ELLIS
DL • 6-2 • 280
Vance, S.C. (Lake Marion/Georgia Military)
Signed: 7:36 a.m.

Junior college player who spent the past two years at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga... credited with 22 tackles, including 9.0 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks during his sophomore season... the Bulldogs posted an 8-2 record in 2017 under head coach Bert Williams... logged 14 tackles including 4.0 tackles for loss and a sack in 2016... graduated from Lake Marion High School in Santee, S.C. in 2016... coached by Chris Carter... was a Shrine Bowl participant following his senior season... considered the 11th best JUCO defensive tackle in the country and No. 43 overall.

KINGSLEY "J.J." ENAGBARE
DL • 6-4 • 259
Atlanta, Ga. (Hapeville Charter Academy)
Signed: xx

"J.J." was named the 6-AA Defensive Player of the Year while prepping at Hapeville Charter Academy in Atlanta... graduated in December and will enroll at South Carolina in January... guided the Hornets to a 14-1 record and a Georgia Class AA state championship as a senior... coached by Winston Gordon... ranked as the 16th-best weak-side defensive end in the nation and the 41st-best player in the state of Georgia by 247's national composite rankings... Rivals ranked him as the 43rd-best player in Georgia and the 28th-best strongside defensive end in the nation.

DESHAUN FENWICK
RB • 6-1 • 222
Bradenton, Fla. (Braden River)
Signed: 7:44 a.m.

All-purpose running back prospect who graduated in December and will enroll at South Carolina in January... rushed for 1,401 yards and scored 17 total touchdowns as a senior at Braden River High School in Bradenton, Fla... helped the Pirates go 10-2 in his final campaign, leading the squad to the Class 7A regional semifinals... coached by Curt Bradley... ranked as the No. 13 all-purpose back prospect and the 85th-best player from the state of Florida by 247's national composite rankings... Rivals ranked him as the 99th-best player in the Sunshine State and the 32nd-best running back in the nation... raised in Louisville, Ky. before moving to Florida while in high school.

JESUS GIBBS
OL/DL • 6-3 • 283
Dumfries, Va. (Potomac)
Signed: 7:36 a.m.

Played offensive and defensive tackle for the Potomac Panthers in Dumfries, Va... team went 3-7 in his senior campaign... coached by Jerry Roadcap... listed as the No. 19 prospect from the state of Virginia in 247's national composite rankings... Rivals ranked him as the 21st-best player in the state of Virginia.

JONATHAN GIPSON
DB • 6-2 • 182
Hoschton, Ga. (Mill Creek)
Signed: 4:01 p.m.

Defensive back who prepped at Mill Creek High School in Hoschton, Ga... finished his senior season with 58 total tackles in 2017... showed a nose for the ball, leading the Hawks with four interceptions, 11 pass breakups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries... had a highlight-reel punt return of 97 yards for a touchdown in the opening game of his final campaign... recorded 54 tackles and three interceptions as a junior... coached by Brent Lol... ranks 35th among defensive backs nationally for the class of 2018, and is listed as the No. 42 prospect from Georgia by 247Sports Composite... rated No. 230 on the ESPN300 list... Rivals rates him as the 43rd-best safety in the country and No. 58 in the state of Georgia.

JOVAUGHN GWYN
OL • 6-2 • 291
Charlotte, N.C. (Harding University)
Signed: 3:57 p.m.

Offensive line prospect from Harding University High School in Charlotte, N.C... anchored an offensive line that guided the Rams to a 14-1 record, the 4A state championship and a No. 4 ranking overall in the Tar Heel state... selected to the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, but did not participate in the game... also competed at The Opening Finals camp... coached by Sam Greinerranked as the 20th-best offensive guard prospect in the country, according to 247's national composite rankings... Rivals ranks him as the 15th-best player in the Tar Heel state and the 18th-best offensive guard in the country.

JAYCEE HORN
DB • 6-0 • 190
Alpharetta, Ga. (Alpharetta)
Signed: xx

Cornerback who helped Alpharetta win 11 games in 2017, making it to the third round of the Georgia AAAAAA playoffs... logged 44 tackles, including 38 solo stops, as a senior, and led the Raiders with five interceptions and 12 pass breakups... was also Alpharetta's primary punt returner, averaging 12.2 yards on 13 returns... selected as an Under Armour All-American and attended The Opening Finals camp... coached by Jacob Nichols... listed as the No. 21 defensive back prospect in the country, and 247's national composite rankings put him as the No. 203 overall recruit for the class of 2018... Rivals ranks him as the 23rd-best player in Georgia, the 129th-best cornerback in the country and No.180 overall... rated No. 142 on the ESPN300 list... son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn.

MAX IYAMA
OL • 6-5 • 305
Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Siegel)
Signed: 8:13 a.m.

Offensive line prospect from Siegel High School in Murfreesboro, Tenn... graduated in December and will enroll at South Carolina in January... the Stars went 4-6 in his senior campaign... selected to the Offense Defense All-American Bowl following his senior season... named to the "Dandy Dozen," one of the top 12 recruits in the Nashville area, by The Tennessean... named All-Region 2-6A as a junior... coached by Greg Wyant... ranked as the 15th-best prospect in the Volunteer state, and the 34th-best offensive tackle in the country by 247's national composite rankings... Rivals ranked him as the sixth-best player in Tennessee, the 11th-best offensive guard in the nation and No. 211 overall.

TYQUAN JOHNSON
WR • 6-2 • 193
Sylvania, Ga. (Screven County)
Signed: 7:36 a.m.

Caught 32 passes for 661 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior at Screven County in Sylvania Ga., in 2017, leading the Gamecocks to an 11-1 record and the quarterfinal round of the AA state playoffs... caught 32 passes for 822 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior... coached by Ron Duncan... ranked as the 66th-best recruit out of Georgia and the No. 110 wide receiver prospect in the country in 247's national composite rankings... Rivals ranked him as the 60th-best player in the state of Georgia... also competes for the track & field team in high school.

TYREEK JOHNSON
DL • 6-3 • 262
Sumter, S.C. (Lakewood)
Signed: 7:56 a.m.

Graduated from Lakewood High School in Sumter, S.C. in 2017... registered 72 tackles, including 22 for loss as senior... also blocked six kicks and had five sacks in his final season with the Gators... coached by Larry Cornelius... selected to the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas following his senior campaign... was injured towards the end of his senior season, leading him to sit out the 2017 season and take a grayshirt before enrolling at South Carolina in January of 2018... ranked as the 14th-best prospect in South Carolina and the 41st-ranked strong-side defensive end in the country by 247's composite rankings.

ERNEST JONES
LB • 6-2 • 218
Waycross, Ga. (Ware County)
Signed: 7:37 a.m.

Linebacker who graduated in December and will enroll at South Carolina in January... logged 112 total tackles, including 70 solo stops and 6.0 tackles for loss as a senior for the Gators of Ware County in Waycross, Ga... also accounted for two sacks, three forced fumbles and five QB hurries in his final campaign... the Gators posted a 5-6 record in his senior season... coached by Franklin Stephens... was the 55th-ranked outside linebacker prospect in the country and 84th-best overall prospect in Georgia, according to 247's national composite rankings.

DAKEREON JOYNER
QB • 6-1 • 200
North Charleston, S.C. (Fort Dorchester)
Signed: 8:30 a.m.

Highly-decorated prospect from Fort Dorchester High School in North Charleston, S.C... graduated in December and will enroll at South Carolina in January... named the state's "Mr. Football" after his 2017 season, a year that saw him lead the Patriots to a 13-1 record and a berth in the Class 5A Lower State Championship game... finished just shy of 10,000 yards passing for his career... accounted for over 3,400 yards of offense and 52 total touchdowns as a senior... had a career record of 40-3 as a starter for Fort Dorchester... selected to the Offense Defense All-American Bowl and the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas... participated in the Elite 11 Finals camp... named the 2016 South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year... as a junior, he passed for 3,642 yards with 44 touchdowns and rushed for 1,089 yards and 12 scores... Fort Dorchester won its first-ever state championship during his sophomore season in 2015... that season, he threw for 3,202 yards with 33 touchdowns, to go along with 1,058 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns... in eight games as a freshman, he passed for 532 yards and rushed for 231 yards... coached by Steve Laprad... ranked as the No. 10 dual-threat quarterback and the 200th overall prospect in the country according to 247's national composite rankings... Rivals ranked him as the third-best player in the state, the 10th-best dual-threat quarterback in the country and No. 187 overall... rated No. 180 on the ESPN300 list.

ROSENDO LOUIS, JR.
LB • 6-1 • 238
Deerfield Beach, Fla. (Deerfield Beach)
Signed: 3:57 p.m.

Linebacker from Deerfield Beach (Fla.) High School... graduated in December and will enroll at South Carolina in January... helped the Bucks win eight games as a senior, earning the team a top-50 ranking for the state of Florida... was an Under Armour All-American... logged 98 tackles with five sacks and one interception and was first team All-County as a senior... coached by Jevon Glenn... made the Sun Sentinel first-team All-Broward team in 2016 after leading the Bucks in tackles as a junior... listed as the 23rd-ranked inside linebacker prospect in the nation by 247's composite rankings, and the No. 73 player from Florida for the class of 2018... rated as the No. 19 inside linebacker prospect by Rivals... ranked No. 231 on the ESPN300 list.

HANK MANOS
OL • 6-4 • 275
Chapin, S.C. (Chapin)
Signed: 7:37 a.m.

Local product who graduated in December and will enroll at South Carolina in January... played for the Eagles of Chapin (S.C.) High School, leading them to a 7-5 mark in his senior season... coached by Justin Gentry... selected to the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas... also selected to play in the Under Armour All-American game... is an accomplished wrestler, earning the 285-pound title in Class 4A and finishing the season 40-0 as a junior... named The State's co-Wrestler of the Year in 2017... ranked as the No. 14 center prospect in the country and the 10th-best overall prospect in South Carolina, according to 247's national composite rankings... Rivals tabbed him as the Palmetto State's 17th-best player.

ISRAEL MUKUAMU
DB • 6-4 • 186
Bossier City, La. (Parkway)
Signed: 4:01 p.m.

Defensive back prospect from Bossier City, La., where he played his senior season for the Panthers of Parkway High School... team posted a 5-6 mark... selected to the Offense Defense All-American Bowl following his senior season... graduated in December and will enroll at South Carolina in January... coached by Neil May... originally from Moncks Corner, S.C. but moved to Louisiana prior to his senior year of high school... logged 69 tackles in help the Stags go 9-3 in 2016, after they finished 3-7 in 2015... Rivals ranked him as the 19th-best player in the state of Louisiana and the 37th-best safety in the country.

R.J. RODERICK
DB • 6-1 • 211
Summerville, S.C. (Cane Bay)
Signed: 7:17 a.m.

Defensive back prospect who graduated in December and will enroll at South Carolina in January... was a triple-option quarterback who helped the Cobras of Cane Bay (Summerville, S.C.) win nine of 12 games and reach the second round of the 4A playoffs, despite missing six games mid-season due to injury... ran for 354 yards, passed for 188 and totaled 10 touchdowns over six games...selected to the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas... rushed for 1,778 yards and 23 touchdowns as a junior... coached by Russell Zehr... ranked No. 20 among South Carolina recruits for 2018, and is the 92nd-ranked safety in the nation according to 247's composite rankings... Rivals ranked him as the 18th-best player in the state of South Carolina... given first name is Ronald.

DARIUS RUSH
WR • 6-2 • 177
Greeleyville, S.C. (C.E. Murray)
Signed: 11:13 a.m.

Wide receiver who prepped at C.E. Murray High School in Greeleyville, S.C... graduated in December and will enroll at South Carolina in January... led the War Eagles to an 11-2 record and the Class A Lower State finals... named the Region 5-A co-Player of Year... caught 47 passes for 863 yards and 17 touchdowns, rushed for 125 yards and a TD and returned a kickoff for a score as a senior... selected to the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas following his senior season... had 1,243 all-purpose yards and 18 total touchdowns as a junior... rushed for 612 yards and 12 scores and caught 14 passes for 228 yards and three scores... added 36 tackles and two interceptions on defense... coached by Chad Wilkes... ranked 27th overall in the state and is the 218th best wide receiver prospect in the country according to 247's national composite rankings... Rivals ranked him as the 23rd-best player in the state of South Carolina.

LAVONTE VALENTINE
RB • 5-11 • 190
Melbourne, Fla. (Melbourne Central Catholic)
Signed: 7:37 a.m.

Speedy running back who prepped at Melbourne (Fla.) Central Catholic High School... graduated in December and will enroll at South Carolina in January... the Hustlers, under the direction of head coach Stacy Sizemore, posted an 8-4 record in 2017... missed much of his senior season after undergoing knee surgery, but ran for 884 yards (9.6 yards per carry) and accounted for 14 total touchdowns in 2016... won the Florida 4A 100-meter title with a time of 10.61 in the spring of 2017... also plans to compete in track for the Gamecocks... ranked as the No. 15 all-purpose back prospect and the 97th-best player from the state of Florida in 247's national composite rankings... Rivals ranked him as the 86th-best player in Florida and the 26th-best running back in the nation.

JOSH VANN
WR • 5-11 • 175
Tucker, Ga. (Tucker)
Signed: 7:44 a.m.

Wide receiver who helped Tucker (Ga.) High School reach the Class AAAAAA state Final Four in his senior season... the Tigers, under head coach Bryan Lamar, finished the 2017 season with a 12-2 record and a No. 24 ranking in the state... caught 46 passes for 867 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior, and added 141 yards and a touchdown rushing... a U.S. Army All-American Bowl participant who also competed at The Opening Finals camp... scored 13 touchdowns on 63 catches for 1,300 yards as a junior... ranked as the No. 24 wide receiver prospect in the country in 247's national composite rankings, and 124th-best prospect nationally... Rivals ranks him as the 18th-best player in Georgia, the 29th-best wide receiver in the country and No. 152 overall... rated No. 225 on the ESPN300 list.

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