Top 10 Jacksonville State Gamecocks You Have Not Heard of – Yet
The Gamecocks are certainly a team with its fair share of stars. On the offensive side of the ball, there’s Marques Ivory, Coty Blanchard, Calvin Middleton, Alan Bonner and Washaun Ealey. On the defensive side, you have Keginald Harris,Jameson Wadley and Monte Lewis.
The following is a list of guys that we believe are waiting in the wings to make waves for the Gamecocks that have either not played or have not played much yet.
1. Coot James, RB. A free lifetime subscription to Gamecockillustrated.com if someone can tell us why he’s named Coot. In any event, it is absolutely amazing that the Gamecocks were able to land this big, tough runner from Demopolis who appeared FBS bound. He is also fast and a good receiver. A redshirt once seemed likely given the Gamecocks’ depth at running back, but he is simply too talented to keep off of the field.
2. Trey Smith, WR. Smith, a three star high school prospect from Perry, Georgia via transfer from Central Michigan. At 6-4, 220 pounds he gives the Gamecocks one of their biggest receiving targets ever. His coming out party was the Spring Game where he gained over 100 yards receiving going against the first team defense.
3. Jeremy Nicholson, WR. Another wide receiver, Nicholson was a heralded recruit from the 2010 class garnering a 3 Star status from Rivals and choosing JSU over Southern Miss and Troy. Nicholson is fast (but not Bynum fast) with a 4.45 forty and a state championship in the hurdles. He is another player that showed his wares in the Spring game catching several balls. Best of all, his high school coach said that Nicholson was “the hardest worker we’ve ever had.”
4. Gabriel “Country a/k/a Touchdown” Chambers, WR. Chambers is so good he’s got two nicknames. He signed with the Gamecocks in 2010, but had to sit out last season. During his downtime, he frequently worked out with his cousin, Gamecock great Maurice Dupree. In high school, Chambers was part of an elite 7 on 7 team representing Alabama. One observer commented that Chambers matched up favorably against elite prospects that went on to big time SEC schools. Chambers’ motto says it all: “Stop hating and get on my level, ya dig.”
5. Denzell Cheeks, TE. Cheeks is the first guy on our list that actually played last year. Cheeks, a tight end, came out of nowhere to snag two touchdowns last year in limited playing time. In one press conference, Crowe commented that Cheeks might have the potential to play at the next level. The reason is his size, at 6-7 he’s a prototypical NFL end. Not saying it will happen, but if Ivory gets a case of the “high throws” as he did on rare occassions last year, put Cheeks and Trey Smith in and we should be ok.
5. Jamaal Johnson, S. Johnson is a big hitting safety from Piedmont, Alabama, thus we know he was coached well in high school. He led Piedmont to the semifinals in football and into the playoffs in basketball. One insider commented that Johnson could break JSU’s record for career interceptions before he is done.
6. Denzell Bynum, CB. Another 2011 signee. Probably one of the fastest football players in Alabama with a 4.32 forty. The speedster from North Jackson can flat run people down. He may need to bulk up some, but his speed is electrifying.
7. Brandon Bender, CB. Bender chose the Gamecocks over USA and UAB and had a late official visit to Pitt. He is a lockdown corner. One insider said that he could challenge for a starting position at corner this fall.
8. Tristan Hardin, OL. A mammoth offensive lineman from Erwin High School that drew serious interest from the Auburn Tigers. Hardin was rated as a 3 Star prospect out of high school and he redshirted last year. Hardin is relentless and has all of the tools to succeed.
9. Barry “the Butcher” Stafford, DL. Stafford, from Chamblee, Georgia did not show up on any of the Gamecocks signing list, but has nevertheless made an early impact. We call him the “Butcher” because he worked as a meat cutter back home before joining the fighting Gamecocks. After garnering some playing time as a true freshman, he will be ready to make a more serious contribution this year. Stafford has impressed teammates and coaches with outstanding agility for a big man.
10. Chase Williams, LB. Williams, part of the Gamecocks outstanding 2010 recruiting class redshirted last year. While he still needs to add some bulk, his movement, particularly lateral movement, is very impressive.
11. Ty Martin. Ty is an undersized wide receiver from Oxford, Alabama. Frankly, we had not heard of him, but have been told that he is really showing out in drills.
12. Rayce Whiddon, RB. As Gene Stallings once famously said about David Palmer, “You don’t know where that little rascal is going to line up.” Since arriving at JSU, Whiddon, a high school quarterback, has played a number of positions. Lets hope he settles in as a change of pace running back for the Gamecocks. Our sources tell us he can really turn the corner.
Rashod Byers, RB A speedy running back from Florida that is also a receiving threat.
Bryant Hawkins, DL. The best athlete out of Guntersville since Ryan Boggus. Much like the Butcher, we had not heard of Hawkins until he showed up. He is obviously a good player earning significant playing time as a true freshman.
Pierre Warren, WR. A current player actually told us to watch out for this phenomenal athlete from Marbury High School. In addition to gaining 242 yards in one high school game, Warren is a phenomenal dunker in basketball:
Finally, he couldn’t make this list because he played a bunch last season, but a player that could be All OVC before its over is noseguard, Dimetrio Tyson.