Gamecock Anthem - South Carolina recently landed commitments from two OL from the state of Georgia -- JP Vonashek and Alan Knott -- what are your thoughts on each and the OL class Shawn Elliott has put together?
Chad Simmons - I think Vonashek has a lot of upside at offensive tackle. He transferred into Camden County, one of the top high school football programs in the South after Christmas and he has already upped his weight from 255 to 275 pounds. He is very lean and long, so he has a good base to build on, but he has to continue to add weight and get stronger. He slides his feet well, he has good bend, and I think Carolina fans will see his best football.
Knott is a very physical kid is best at guard, but could play tackle if needed. He is a strong straight-ahead blocker and he is fairly flexible. He works hard, he is a grinder, and he is tough. Like Vonashek, Knott plays for a top program in Sandy Creek and he is getting great coaching. I love his toughness and his eagerness to get better.
South Carolina is putting together a good OL group in 2013. D.J. Park was their first 2013 commitment and he is one of the top overall prospects in the South. He is another versatile OL that could play tackle or guard and he has the body to play college football right now.
GA - Ali Groves only played four games last year due to an injury and seems to be a bit of an unknown to South Carolina fans ... what type of player is he and how does he fit at South Carolina?
CS - Groves is a solid cover corner out of Stephenson High School. He is more quick than fast, he is tough, and he loves to walk up and play press coverage. He is best when he plays close to the line and not off the ball, so zone coverage will be something he has to work on when he arrives in Columbia. He is on the smaller side too, so he needs to continue to add strength to his frame. Overall, he is a cover corner with good feet and instincts.
GA - What do you see South Carolina's chances as with four-star DT Kelsey Griffin?
Griffin is one of the toughest kids to read in the state of Georgia. He is a very talented young man, he could be a three-technique defensive tackle or nose guard on the next level, and I feel many schools still have a chance. South Carolina is in the mix along with Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, and others.
GA - Brendan Langley added South Carolina into the group of schools he is considering recently, though he says Alabama is his leader and Georgia was a one-time leader. He recently visited Columbia -- do you see the Gamecocks being a true factor?
CS - I really don't at this time… I think Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee are the main three right now with Alabama and Georgia fighting it out this summer. Carolina was one of the first schools to offer Langley and he remembers that, but I feel they are still more on the outside looking in at this time.
GA - Are there any South Carolina commitments that you're watching closely who could move up in the rankings soon?
CS - J.P. Vonashek is the one if I had to name one at this time. I will see him play in August in the Georgia Dome and I am looking forward to that game. He has a lot of raw talent and he was blessed with great size. Devante Covington is another one I will be seeing play live this fall and he is an athletic end who could play with his hand down or out of the two-point stance.
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