South Carolina Football: 3 Freshmen Who Will Make a Huge Impact in Fall Practice

By (Senior Analyst) on July 8, 2013

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Curtis Wilson-USA TODAY Sports

As the fall practice season approaches, South Carolina will turn toward its freshmen with the hope that some will have a huge impact. 

The Gamecocks have a strong recruiting class in 2013 that is full of talented players. 

The team needs help at linebacker, and is also building up its depth at a number of other positions. 

Both offensive and defensive linemen and linebacker is where the Gamecocks' recruits could have a major impact. 

Here is a look at three freshmen who will make a huge impact in fall practice for South Carolina. 

Na'Ty Rodgers


Na'Ty Rodgers will most likely end up redshirting or sitting on the bench throughout much of the season, but that should not take away from the potential impact he could have in fall practice.  

Rodgers is huge.  He is a total tank on the line.  

At 6'5" and 278 pounds out of high school, Rodgers has the build of truly physical offensive tackle.  

Defensive players will get a lot of experience trying to get past such a big tackle on the outside, and Rodgers just takes up space.  He can also challenge some of the tackles who are higher on the depth chart and push them to new levels, too.  A little healthy competition at a position is always good for a team.  

According to ESPN's scouting report, "Rogers has the physical tools needed to dominate as a run and pass blocker, but he needs to combine his playing strength with the explosion needed to consistently knock defenders off the line of scrimmage."

Rodgers can run and pass block at a pretty high level for a freshman.  He may not play much this season, but his presence will be good to have during fall practice, and he could have a huge impact. 

Kelsey Griffin


Kelsey Griffin is another physical monster like Rodgers, but plays on the other side of the ball, specifically at defensive tackle.  

Defensive tackle is deep for the Gamecocks considering they already have Kelcy Quarles, J.T. Surratt and Gerald Dixon Jr. in the mix, which means that playing time in the rotation is scarce.  Though, Griffin's physicality will be good for other players to be around and Griffin could mold into an impressive player in the future.  

At 6'2" and 282 pounds, Griffin will be very tough for the offensive linemen to match up with in the middle, giving them good experience.  His size is ideal early on for a freshmen and he has some big-time potential to be a future star of this line.  Working alongside Jadeveon Clowney and the rest of this impressive squad of defensive linemen will be great for Griffin.  

According to's scouting report, "He displays excellent lower and upper body strength and can certainly still get stronger. He is an explosive player who can quickly get off the ball and has the tools to be a stout run stuffer inside." 

Griffin is explosive, smart and big, which are all the tools necessary to have an impact on the interior of the defensive line.  

This kid has game, and since he is playing alongside some very good defensive tackles and linemen, he will need to step up if he wants to make his presence felt, which could lead to him having a big impact in fall practice.   

Larenz Bryant


South Carolina still needs to sort out the linebacker position. 

Enter Larenz Bryant, one of the top inside linebacker recruits of his class.

As a consensus four-star recruit, Bryant has huge potential to have an immediate impact at what could be the team's weakest position.  The Gamecocks do not lack talent, but rather lack experience, which opens up a huge opportunity for Bryant.  

Bryant is a smart player who should shine as a solid linebacker in the future.  

Right now, anyone can emerge in the linebacking corps.  Kaiwan Lewis and Cedrick Cooper look like the starters at the "Mike" and "Will" linebackers, with T.J. Holloman as a backup, though the rest of the depth chart is open.  

Bryant has a big opportunity to work his way into the rotation, so long as he plays well in fall practice.  Talent-wise, Bryant can earn a spot on the depth chart and he has the best chance of having a major impact in the fall.  

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