Bryant bolsters strong S.C. defensive class

For those who remember the fun-and-gun days at Florida, it's hard to imagine a Steve Spurrier team as defensive-minded. Yet that has been – and looks to continue to be – the case.

Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks ranked third in the nation in total defense last season and their current class should continue that trend.

The latest pickup is linebacker Larenz Bryant, who committed to South Carolina on Monday. The standout from Charlotte (N.C.) Vance is the third-highest-rated prospect committed to South Carolina, just behind quarterback Connor Mitch and another linebacker Matt Rolin.

Rolin is considered the 79th-best prospect overall and the seventh best outside linebacker in the nation. Bryant is no slouch, either. He's the 288th-best overall prospect and 13th-best inside linebacker in the nation. Yet there's more.

Defensive end Devin Washington is considered a four-star prospect. A bit further down the list is more help for South Carolina's linebacker unit with the inclusions of Kight Dallas, Mohamed Camara, Gerald Turner and Brandon Golson. There's also defensive help coming from defensive ends Devante Covington and Alfy Hill, as well as safety Ali Groves.

South Carolina's 18-member class ranks 16th-best in the nation. It is even more impressive when geography is considered. The Gamecocks have top out-of-state commitments from Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. South Carolina recruiters have been incredibly effective in Georgia, where they have picked up six commitments. That's more than they have from inside South Carolina ( four).

Still, there's more work to be done. The Gamecocks could use even more star power in the class, but who couldn't? South Carolina recruiters should now be able to focus on in-state prospects since so much of their class is complete. Receiver Mike Williams, defensive tackle Michael Hill, defensive end Jaylen Miller and cornerback DeAndre Wilson are top targets nearby.

South Carolina has proven its more than capable of winning a slumping SEC East division, but competing with Alabama and LSU for an SEC championship is another challenge. More defense can only help.