Five Future Stars In The 2007 Class
#5. WR Joseph Hills
The 6'4, 215 pound Hills is an unbelievable athlete capable of playing multiple positions, but wide receiver will be his home on the college level. Hills runs the forty yard dash in the 4.5 second range, he excels at jump ball situations, and he has the escapability to make plays after the catch. He has all of the physical tools to develop into an elite receiver in Steve Spurrier's offense, but he is still raw as a player and will need time to fine tune his skills under Steve Spurrier Jr's watch. While Hills could possibly see the field early on due to his sheer raw athleticism, look for him to really blossom into a star later in his career.
#4. LB Melvin Ingram
At a solid 6'2 and 230 pounds, Ingram is a punishing presence at the linebacker position, and many believe that he will fill the shoes of standout middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley after he graduates. Ingram has a great combination of size and athleticism, and he moves very fluidly to the ball. He drew rave reviews for his play during the week of the Shrine Bowl and enters USC with high expectations. With an experienced linebacker corp returning for the 2007 season, Ingram may find it difficult to work his way into the rotation immediately, but he has a bright future ahead of him.
#3. DE Clifton Geathers
The player with quite possibly the most raw and untapped potential in the 2007 class is former Carver's Bay standout Clifton Geathers. The 6'8, 290 pound Geathers was considered the #1 player in the state of South Carolina coming out of high school in 2006, but he needed a semester at prep school in order to qualify academically. Geathers surprised many by changing his commitment from Georgia to South Carolina in January, and he is currently enrolled at USC awaiting official approval from the NCAA Clearinghouse. While many believe his best position will ultimately be at offensive tackle, he will start out at his position of choice, defensive end. Geathers has a rangy frame with a huge wingspan, and he possesses surprisingly good feet and quickness off the line. He has uncanny athleticism for a player his size, and he can literally be as good as he wants to be. With that said, Geathers will need some time in the USC strength and conditioning program, and no matter what position he ultimately ends up at, he will need to concentrate on mastering the fundamentals and technique necessary to compete at the college level.
#2. OT Quintin Richardson
The 6'4, 270 pound Richardson is another athletic lineman with enormous upside. Richardson burst onto the scene at the Gainesville NIKE camp last summer, where he dominated the opposition and showed his unique combination of athleticism and versatility. His performance led some coaches and analysts in attendance to name him the top player at the star studded event, but unfortunately he suffered a knee injury early in his senior season. Richardson worked his way back to full speed and competed at the Offense-Defense All American Game in January, where he was one of the top offensive tackles in attendance. The Columbia native, who is already known by Gamecock fans for his outgoing personality and leadership in helping to orchestrate USC's 2007 recruiting class, has exceptional feet and athleticism for an offensive lineman, and while he may need time to add weight to his frame and adjust to the college game, many believe he is Carolina's left tackle of the future.
#1. QB Stephen Garcia
Whenever a high school quarterback draws comparisons to future NFL hall of famer Brett Favre, the kid is a special talent. Garcia, who measures in at a solid 6'3 and 220 pound, has a cannon of an arm, a good head on his shoulders, and ideal size for a prototypical pocket passer, but his ability to make plays with his legs is what makes him a terror for opposing defenses to face. Garcia is a true dual threat player from the quarterback position, and he has a cocky swagger and personality that his teammates feed off of. The Tampa, FL native elected to graduate early from high school to get a jump start on his college career, and he will have the luxury of taking part in spring practice with the Gamecocks. Garcia has all of the tools to be an elite quarterback no matter where he went to school, but under Steve Spurrier's tutelage, he has the chance to be special. Like most young quarterbacks in Spurrier's system, he could use time to learn the offense and fine tune his mechanics, but the sky is truly the limit for Garcia at South Carolina.
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