South Carolina focuses on defense in 24-player class

After South Carolina gave up 102 points in its final two games, coach Will Muschamp went searching for people to lower than number.

He believes he got a group to do that on Wednesday, with 14 of the Gamecocks 24 signees coming on defense. One of the best parts for Muschamp: No surprises.

''It's a pretty uneventful signing day, which we needed,'' Muschamp said Wednesday.

That starts with 5-foot-9 cornerback Jamyest Williams, who turned down a strong push from Georgia - Williams is from Athens - to stick with the Gamecocks. The program also won a signing day battle with Virginia Tech to hold onto defensive end-linebacker Brad Johnson.

Williams thought South Carolina was a stronger fit for him and would give him a chance to grow more than staying near home.

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Other things to know:

Top 25 Class: Yes.

Best in class: Jamyest Williams, is rated the country's eighth best cornerback and should bring a fiery spirit to a position of need.

Best of the rest: WRs OrTre Smith and Shi Smith are young, tall standouts who should add to South Carolina's offense, which already featured prominent freshmen this past season in quarterback Jake Bentley and tailback Rico Dowdle.

Late addition: Aaron Sterling, a one-time Alabama defensive end commitment, picked South Carolina over Tennessee.

One that got away: Robert Beal, a linebacker from Suwanee, Georgia, ultimately selected his home state Bulldogs over South Carolina.

How they'll fit in: Everywhere. The Gamecocks found made some strides on offense the second half of the season while the defense faded. That should open lots of areas where the newest Gamecocks can have an impact. Defensive end Javon Kinlaw is a 6-6, 340-pounder who Muschamp hopes to plug in early. In the secondary, Kaleb Chalmers and Williams should see playing time. The two receiving Smiths - OrTre and Shi - can also quickly add to the depth at that spot.

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For the full list: www.gamecocksonline.com

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More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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