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February 4, 2014

Big finish?

With National Signing Day less than 24 hours away, South Carolina's football staff awaits word from a trio of four-star prospects that could significantly upgrade the 2014 class.

The prospects just so happen to play positions that are big positional needs for USC, so the acquisition of all three could go a long way towards shoring up some questions on the defensive side of the ball should certain things fall into place.

With just two or three players returning with game experience at cornerback for the 2014 season, signing several early contributor candidates is a must for USC. Already the Gamecock staff has three solid prospects on the board that will all ink letters of intent on Wednesday in four-star D.J. Smith and three-stars (each the highest level of three-star prospect on the Rivals.com ranking scale) Darin Smalls and Al Harris Jr. Still, the USC staff hopes to add a pair of talented cornerbacks to the fold to close out secondary recruiting.

Lithonia (Ga.) Martin Luther King four-star Wesley Green is a former USC commitment that pledged to the Gamecocks in the summer before reopening the process and considering Ole Miss, Georgia, (once again) South Carolina. His lone official visit came to South Carolina the weekend of January 17 (in which he named USC his public leader) and he did not make a scheduled official visit to Georgia this past weekend.

Announcement information: Wednesday during the 5:00 p.m. hour, televised on The New College Football Show on FoxSportsCarolinas/FoxSportsSouth

Where do things stand with Green heading into his announcement? (subscribers only)

Plantation (Fla.) four-star Chris Lammons is ranked by Rivals.com as the nation's fourteenth best prospect in the athlete category but projects as a cornerback and possible special teams contributor at the next level. He gave South Carolina heavy consideration before pledging to Florida last year, and again after parting ways with his Gator commitment last month. The primary challenger to USC has been Wisconsin; both schools have received official visits from the south Florida product.

Announcement information: 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday at Plantation High School

Where do we believe Lammons will end up signing on Wednesday? (subscribers only)

It is worth nothing that only once has South Carolina signed and enrolled a pair of "true" four-star cornerbacks under Steve Spurrier; in 2009 with C.C. Whitlock and Akeem Auguste.

Defensive end was the other big need position heading into the 2014 recruiting cycle for USC given the expected early departure of Jadeveon Clowney, loss of graduating senior Chaz Sutton, some youth on the roster, and a need to upgrade size at the position. Thus, one key in-state prospect remains on the board in Saluda (S.C.) DL Dexter Wideman. USC has JUCO first-team All-American Jhaustin Thomas committed. Rivals100 member Dante Sawyer is one of the best in the country and will also sign with USC tomorrow. Another JUCO end, Darrius Caldwell was recently removed from the Gamecocks' commitment list after it was discovered he would be unable to enroll at USC due to a botch by previous school Illinois and an SEC rule. Goose Creek's Kalan Ritchie could start his career at defensive end but will need time to add weight and continue learning the position as he has more experience at tight end.

Wideman, a current FSU commitment, is an important flip candidate for the Gamecocks. He made a surprise pledge to the Seminoles after favoring USC nearly the entire process this summer but kept USC in the race all along, indicating as far back as September that it was a 50/50 proposition as to which program would end up signing him. He visited USC several times for games during the season and made an official visit to Columbia the weekend of January 17. His final visit was to Tallahassee this past weekend.

Announcement information: 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday at Saluda High

Will it be FSU or USC for Wideman tomorrow? We weigh in with our insider notes (subscribers only)

***For Subscribers: Confidence level on each remaining target from most to least...


If South Carolina inked those three remaining prospects on Wednesday, it would push the 2014 class to 2,003 points in the Rivals.com rankings equation (rankings calculations explained here), which could result in a class (in terms of overall points and average star rating) within the top 15, depending on how other teams' dominoes fall on Wednesday. As of this writing, the number 14 team in the Rivals.com team rankings has under 2,000 total points.

2014 Team Recruiting Rankings
2014 Gamecock Commitment List

One other candidate also remains on South Carolina's board heading into signing day, and he also plays a key position. Want the scoop? Find it here (subscribers only)

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