Will Muschamp’s impact on Gamecocks defense; plus, the early line for South Carolina-Florida

South Carolina football-Will Muschamp

Welcome to SEC Country’s Chicken & Waffles, your daily dish for all things South Carolina Gamecocks football, basketball and more. Miss a previous edition? Find every edition of SEC Country’s South Carolina Gamecocks Chicken & Waffles right here.

A Will Muschamp defense

To see the impact South Carolina coach Will Muschamp and his staff have had on the program, one need only look at the Gamecocks defense.

Once thought to be the team’s weak link, the defensive unit has far exceeded expectations this season, holding the vaunted Georgia rushing attack to its second-lowest output in an SEC game this season.

“That progress has helped fuel the turnaround of the program as a whole,” David Caraviello of SEC Country wrote. “[Jake] Bentley remains South Carolina’s most important player, and it’s no coincidence that the Gamecocks are 10-5 since he took over as starting quarterback. But the growth of that defense has added a balance that’s been woefully lacking in Columbia since the days when Connor Shaw and Jadeveon Clowney played together.”

The first player Muschamp visited after being named coach at South Carolina — linebacker T.J. Brunson — is currently the Gamecocks’ second-leading tackler.

Early chatter on South Carolina-Florida

Vegas likes the Gamecocks over the Gators on Saturday, installing South Carolina as a 9-point favorite, according to Brad Crawford of 247Sports.

The Gators beat the Gamecocks, 20-7, in The Swamp last season in Bentley’s first road start.

Gamecocks’ place in the SEC

The Gamecocks came up short against the Bulldogs, 24-10, but covering the spread helped them move up one spot to No. 7 in the latest SEC Country Power Poll.

South Carolina traded places with Texas A&M, which fell 42-27 at home to Auburn.

The Gamecocks were rated as high as No. 5 in at least one poll and as low as No. 8.

South Carolina’s next opponent, Florida, is No. 11 in the latest poll.

Catching on

With Deebo Samuel returning to the fold in 2018, the Gamecocks will boast a deep, experienced wide receiver corps next season. Even beyond the returning Bryan Edwards, OrTre Smith and Shi Smith, South Carolina is bringing in several talented Class of 2018 prospects.

“Led by 4-star Josh Vann [Tucker, Ga.], the Gamecocks have four 2018 prospects committed at the position,” Hale McGranahan of SEC Country wrote. “Three-star Darius Rush [Greeleyville, S.C.] was the first to commit to the class. Junior college transfer Ronnie Jamison [Irmo, S.C.] and Tyquan Johnson [Sylvania, Ga.], both of whom are also 3-star prospects, jumped on board in July.”

Three of the Gamecocks’ top 5 pass catchers this season are underclassmen, led by Edwards with 42 catches for 497 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Kickoff set

South Carolina will play Wofford on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 4 p.m. ET on SEC Network Alternate channel, the SEC announced on Monday.

The Gamecocks won the last meeting between the two schools, 24-7, in 2012, thanks to 127 yards and a touchdown from running back Kenny Miles.

It’s official

South Carolina is expecting at least two official visitors, both defensive ends, from the Class of 2018 this weekend: 5-star prospect K.J. Henry and 3-star recruit and Louisville commit Jarrett Jackson.

Henry is rated as the No. 16 overall prospect for 2018, according to the 247Sports composite. The Clemmons, N.C., native is reportedly deciding between Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia Tech. He will announce his decision on Dec. 20.

Top seed

The South Carolina women’s soccer team was named as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament on Monday.

The Lady Gamecocks will host Alabama State in the first round of the tournament in Columbia on Friday night.

Craving more Chicken & Waffles? Get your fix with previous versions here.

The post Will Muschamp’s impact on Gamecocks defense; plus, the early line for South Carolina-Florida appeared first on SEC Country.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.