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Feb. 4, 2004

What the Recruiting Experts Have to Say About USC’s 2004 Recruiting Class

Tom Lemming, ESPN Recruiting Analyst: “South Carolina has finished up tremendously and has shot up into my top 25 class rankings. Athletically, they are as strong as any class in the country. Across the board from receivers to down linemen, they have brought in some tremendous athletes. The last two linemen that they signed- James Thompson and Marque Hall- are some of the best in the country. James Thompson made my All-American team and played in the all-star game in San Antonio. In my opinion, he is one of the top offensive linemen in the country. I should have put Marque Hall on my All-American team because without question he is one of the premier linemen anywhere. Sidney Rice is the prototype wide receiver that every team wants and I can’t say enough about how strong the Gamecocks have finished”.

Jeremy Crabtree, Rivals 100 Editor, Recruiting Analyst: “South Carolina has put together a class that’s not only deep in numbers, but also deep in talent and diversity. Coach Holtz has scoured the map to find quality players right in his own backyard like C.J. Barber of Rock Hill and James Thompson of Sumter, yet he’s also gone international to land blue-chip players like Justin Sorenson from British Columbia. This is the type of class that can put South Carolina back on the map and give Coach Holtz and his staff the ammunition needed for the rugged battles that they will face in the SEC.”

Jeff Drummond, Rivals100, Southeast Editor: “South Carolina has a very solid class that is challenging for top 25 national status. They have a good balance and depth throughout the group but they really have to be thrilled with what they added on the defensive side of the ball. The defensive line corps is rock-solid, highlighted by Marque Hall, one of the top 10 players at his position in the nation. He should team with Dorian Capers and Matt Raysor to make a formidable rotation on the line of scrimmage. Kevin Mainord is a very underrated player out of Tennessee and the Lindsey twins really have a big upside. I think Sidney Rice is the type of big, sure-handed receiver the Gamecock offense has been seeking. Antonio Heffner is an exciting prospect at quarterback. He’s got a tremendous arm and great mobility, the type of quarterback that Lou Holtz can do a lot of different things with in the future as he develops and learns the position. I love C.J. Barber in the secondary. He’s one of our top 15 players nationally at the safety position. That kid is big, fast and physical. He has a knack for being in the right place and making big plays. Finally, the Gamecocks did a real nice job of bolstering their depth along the offensive line.”

Allen Wallace, SuperPrep: “I really like the offensive and defensive linemen that South Carolina signed. That appears to be the strength of their class. Marque Hall, James Thompson, and Dorian Capers were all on my SuperPrep All-American Team, as was quarterback Antonio Heffner. I really like the Junior College player they brought in, Jonathan Joseph. All in all, it shapes up to be a very solid class for Coach Holtz and the Gamecocks.”

Rob MacIntyre, PrepStar Magazine Editor: “I really like South Carolina’s class this year. I think they did a great job of wrapping up the in-state talent. They really helped themselves defensively, having signed five defensive backs, seven defensive linemen and two linebackers. In terms of “impact players” I think Marque Hall, C.J. Barber, and Dorian Capers are all solid grabs for South Carolina. I really think the “sleeper” of this year’s group could be quarterback Antonio Heffner from Tennessee. He’s a solid player who threw for over 2,700 yards and 32 TD’s the last two years. I really think Coach Holtz and his staff did a great job of addressing the team’s needs. They recruited a solid group of defensive players along with six quality offensive linemen.”