College Sports

He’s South Carolina’s highest rated 2019 offensive lineman. What the coaches see in him

How South Carolina approaches recruiting offensive linemen

South Carolina Gamecocks football offensive line coach Eric Wolford explains the
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South Carolina Gamecocks football offensive line coach Eric Wolford explains the

When South Carolina offensive line coach Eric Wolford started talking about Jakai Moore’s skills as a football player, he first started talking about his work on the basketball court.

“He’s obviously a tremendous athlete,” Wolford said. “He’s a guy that can run the court, 300 pounds, 6-foot-6, can legitimately play left tackle.”

Moore was part of a 22-3 team, operating as a solid shot blocker. That was after helping pave the way for a region championship team in football. As a sophomore, he averaged 15 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

The Virginia product will join the Gamecocks soon, and he already has one trait the coaching staff likes in all its linemen. He can play more than just left tackle.

“I know he can play right tackle,” Wolford said. “I know he can play guard, so he’s a four-position player right there already. He likes football. I think he’s still raw, but the thing about him is when we get him down here in June, we’ll have two months with him, get him ready to go.”

The Gamecocks have placed a premium on linemen getting in at multiple spots, with no fewer than six of the linemen who played last year having switched between guard and tackle or guard and center. At the moment, at least three projected 2019 starters have played multiple spots at some points in the past season/spring.

Moore was a three-star recruit, the No. 505 player in the country and No. 13 player in Virginia by the 247 Sports rankings. He picked the Gamecocks over Penn State.

South Carolina hasn’t been shy about getting young linemen involved early if they’re good enough. Dennis Daley broke into the lineup a few games into his first season coming out of junior college. Dylan Wonnum took a starting spot halfway through his freshman season.

This year, freshman Jaylen Nichols found himself working as a second-string tackle only a few practices into his first spring on campus.

Wolford wondered aloud if Moore could follow a similar path. He’s big, quick and will get a few months with the strength staff before August camp starts. Perhaps with work and some things going right, Moore could end up in the two deep or better.

“He’s another guy, Jaylen Nichols-type guy as far as a guy who can come in and who knows how fast he learns the plays and how bad he wants it?” Wolford said. “He might go and just sneak up in there.”

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