Will Muschamp may not see the results he’d like to in Year 1 at South Carolina, but without a doubt, he’s building something special on the recruiting trail.
This past weekend, South Carolina landed the commitment of in-state wide receiver OrTre Smith, who’s unanimously considered to be the top recruit from the state, according to the industry generated 247Sports Composite. He’s 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds and is ranked as the No. 15 player at his position nationally, as well as the No. 86 player overall — per 247Sports.
Smith’s commitment is a big one for Muschamp and the Gamecocks, especially considering the competition. He has 19 other offers, with some of the best football schools in the nation throwing their hat in the ring for his commitment.
Smith, who’s from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina (Wando), and is a U.S. Army All-American, notably committed to South Carolina over rival Clemson — where his mother played volleyball. He also has offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Louisville, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Tennessee and West Virginia, among others.
“South Carolina did a great job of recruiting me, the staff was great, I love everyone up there,” Smith told Andrew Miller of The Post and Courier. “South Carolina hit a home run. My mom went to Clemson, but from the beginning she wanted me to take my own path, and that’s what I did. She’s going to have to become a Gamecock fan.”
Smith’s commitment to South Carolina brings the Gamecocks’ class to 22 commitments, 10 of which are four-stars, according to 247Sports. Muschamp’s team may be 1-1 on the field so far this season, but his recruiting class is among the elite on the recruiting trail at this juncture.
South Carolina’s team is ranked No. 11 nationally and No. 4 in the SEC. Smith told Miller that he believes the 2017 class is one that will help put the Gamecocks back on the map.
“They’ve already got some great players up at South Carolina, and this recruiting class is only going to make us more competitive in the SEC,” he said. “The 2017 class is the one that’s going to get South Carolina back to where it was a couple of years ago.”
If he remains committed — you never know in recruiting — Smith projects to be a major contributor for South Carolina. As of right now, he’s the third highest-ranked recruit in the class — only behind four-star cornerback Jamyest Williams and four-star athlete/defender Hamsah Nasirildeen — and he has the potential to be one of the better wide receivers in the SEC by the time all is said and done.
There’s a reason schools such as Alabama, Notre Dame, Florida State and Oklahoma wanted Smith’s commitment: he’s going to be good.
Today’s U Scouting Report
Simply put, Smith is physically imposing at the line of scrimmage. South Carolina fans will have flashbacks of Alshon Jeffery — keep in mind that Smith is actually a bit taller than the current Chicago Bears’ star, who checks in at 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds.
Though he doesn’t have incredible speed (he runs a 4.63 40-yard dash, according to his HUDL account), he does have football speed and is able to create separation because he can get off the line quick with just a few steps. He has long strides and long arms, which allow him to catch the ball away from his body at the highest point, as well as cover a lot of ground quickly as a runner.
Smith has soft hands and appears to be a very consistent target. He can beat a defense over the top on the home-run ball, but also has the reliable hands and size of a possession receiver. He runs shorter routes well and protects the football with his body around the first-down marker.
South Carolina would probably like to see him work on breaking tackles and picking up more yards after the catch, but he has the raw talent and frame to work on that aspect of his game — especially with some time in the Gamecocks’ weight room.
Speaking of, he’s a solid blocker on the edges, which is an extremely undervalued trait in wide receivers and something you don’t often see in younger players at the high school level. Smith has everything college coaches look for in a young wideout: size, route-running ability, blocking chops and consistent, soft hands.
He’s a huge pickup for the Gamecocks.