The recruiting fallout from the firing of Will Muschamp continued Tuesday night continued for USC as two more defensive commitments for the 2021 class announced decommitments. Three-star safety Jayden Johnson (6-2 200) of Cedartown, GA and three-star LB Bryce Steele of Raleigh give the Gamecocks four decommitments since the news of Muschamp’s dismissal.
Both players will be December signees and early enrollees and the great unknown about the Gamecocks’ head coaching position forced their decisions.
“I really didn’t want to decommit from South Carolina in the first place,” Steele said. “At first, that was my dream school. I committed to Muschamp and his staff back in April and was looking forward to playing there. It was really saddening to see coach Muschamp get fired. The fact that the Gamecock foundation is unestablished in a way, coach (Mike) Bobo is interim head coach, but as of right now there is no head coach named. I sign pretty soon and I thought it was best to reopen my recruitment. I think it’s hard to build a relationship with the head coach, and South Carolina most likely won’t find a new coach until the end of the season. So, that leaves me about a week to try and establish a good relationship with him. That would be tough for me to do. I’m still looking at a handful of schools and South Carolina is included.”
Steele said he broke the news to Gamecock assistant coaches Kyle Krantz and Rod Wilson before publicizing his plans.
“Both of these coaches I’ve known for awhile now, and of course they were not excited to hear about my decommitment,” Steele said. “In the end, they want what’s best for me as a person and an athlete. They were respectful.”
The Gamecocks are getting deep into their coaching search with interviews getting underway this week. Athletics director Ray Tanner has set a goal of having a coach in play at least a week before Signing Day December 16th. As far as Steele is concerned, the sooner the better for the Gamecocks if they want a real shot at him again.
“I’ve always wanted to go to South Carolina, just the coaching change has turned me sideways on it,” Steele said. “If the new head coach does get hired soon, my family and I would be open to learning about the new coach and seeing where his head is at.”
One of the schools Steele is now considering his Michigan State and he did a two hour Zoom session with head coach Mel Tucker Monday night. He also named NC State, Duke, Florida State, Boston College and Texas as the others he’s interested in now that he’s back on the market.
As for Johnson, he appears interested in moving on from the Gamecocks. He told Chad Simmons of Rivals that Arkansas, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, Liberty and East Carolina are the schools he most interested in communicating with at this point.
These two decommitments reduce the number of 2021 commitments to 12, and the total spots in the class filled to 16.