South Carolina has a lot of new faces in the secondary for the 2021 football season. Six of the team’s 16 scholarship defensive backs are new to the roster.
Three of those newcomers joined the Gamecocks via the transfer portal. They’ll make their in-uniform debut when USC holds its first preseason practice Friday morning.
“All three of those guys, we can’t wait to start Friday to see, ‘All right, this is what we thought we saw on film, this is what we thought we had,’ “ Gamecock defensive backs coach Torrian Gray told The State. “You’ll start to get a feel for what they’re doing physically.”
Gray shared his pre-camp impressions of each of the three transfer portal additions:
▪ Karon Prunty, sophomore cornerback, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, Kansas (originally from Portsmouth, Virginia): “He’s long, he’s fast. The biggest thing is, making sure he knows what to do. It’s always going to be a process of learning what to do, since he came in late summer, so he can be able to play fast.”
Prunty was the last of the three to arrive on campus. He started all nine of Kansas’ games in 2020, was an All-Big 12 honorable mention cornerback and a 247Sports True Freshman All-American.
▪ Tyrese Ross, junior safety, 6-0, 200, Washington State (originally from Jacksonville): “He carries himself like a professional. The biggest thing is, he’s learning what he can do so he can be able to show us exactly what his potential is.”
He played both safety positions in three seasons at Washington State. Ross appeared in one of the Cougars’ four games in 2020. As a redshirt freshman in 2019, he recorded 33 tackles across 13 games, including a team-high six special teams tackles.
▪ Carlins Platel, graduate student cornerback, 6-foot-1, 205, Assumption (originally from Everett, Massachusetts): “Very smart, very intelligent. Still learning the process.”
He has seven career interceptions but hasn’t played a competitive snap since 2019, as Division II Assumption University did not have a season during the COVID pandemic. He could play corner or nickel at USC.
The Gamecocks lost Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu to the NFL and three more top contributors who left USC via the transfer portal. At the least, Prunty, Ross and Platel will be depth reinforcements. At the most, they could work their way into meaningful playing time as part of defensive coordinator Clayton White’s 4-2-5 scheme that allows for five DBs on the field at a time.
Having experience at the college level, however, doesn’t put any added pressure on them to come in and contribute right away, Gray said.
“The expectations aren’t different. We as a group have to set a standard, but what is that standard?” Gray said. “Because those guys haven’t been part of our program, we’ve first got to get them to learn what they’re doing. Once they learned what they’re doing, then they can play fast and help us out.”
New incoming USC defensive backs
La’Dareyen Craig from Mobile, Alabama (high school)
Tyrese Ross, Washington State (transfer)
David Spaulding, Georgia Southern (transfer)
Carlins Platel, Assumption College (transfer)
Isaiah Norris, Georgia Military College (JUCO)
Marcellas Dial, Georgia Military College (JUCO)
Outgoing Gamecock DBs to the transfer portal
(Where they landed in parenthesis)
John Dixon (Penn State)
Jammie Robinson (Florida State)
Shilo Sanders (Jackson State)