Pringle, top OT in ’24 class, picks South Carolina

NCAAF

Four-star offensive tackle Kam Pringle, the top-ranked player in South Carolina for the 2024 cycle, is staying at home after choosing the Gamecocks on Sunday.

The 6-foot-8, 335-pound Pringle, No. 32 overall in the 2024 ESPN 300 and the cycle’s top offensive tackle, also looked at Clemson, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and NC State.

Pringle’s commit is a coup for coach Shane Beamer’s South Carolina program. The team notched upsets over two top-10 teams, Tennessee and Clemson, to conclude the regular season and give ample credibility to the Gamecocks.

Beamer led the program to its first eight-win season since 2017 and that momentum is starting to percolate off the field.

“They’re in state, they’re super close,” Pringle told ESPN. “The staff has done a great job of turning the program around and developing guys and kind of turning nothing into something. Just doing what they got to do to build the program. And then they’ve also done a great job recruiting.

“I don’t think I’ve ever gone a week without talking to somebody from South Carolina. So really just putting their best foot forward to get guys in and win football games.”

The Woodland High School product knew that as the top player in South Carolina for the 2024 cycle, the dueling fan bases in Columbia and Clemson would be tuned into his decision. But Pringle expressed that he felt no added pressure to stay home.

He’s the Gamecocks’ highest-ranked recruit since 2020 (Jordan Burch; No. 4 overall, No. 2 DE) and their highest-ranked offensive lineman since ESPN started ranking players in 2006.

“I used to be more of a pass-block-type guy,” Pringle said. “Now I kind of like to stick my head in there and just drive people off the ball flat back and just fire out and hit people as hard as I can. … But there’s nothing like a good old run block downhill dropping people out the box.”

Pringle joins Loomis Chaffee School (Connecticut) quarterback Dante Reno (No. 158 overall, No. 9 QB-PP in 2024) as ESPN 300 prospects in South Carolina’s 2024 class.

Beamer hauled in seven ESPN 300 prospects — led by defensive end Desmond Umeozulu (No. 114 overall) in the Gamecocks’ 2023 class, which ESPN has ranked 16th heading into the traditional signing period on Feb. 1.

South Carolina has had top-20 recruiting classes every year since 2017.

In Beamer’s first two years, the offense improved from 13th (337.5 yards per game) in 2021 to ninth (378.8) in 2022 in the SEC in total offense.

Quarterback Spencer Rattler‘s decision to return for another year can only bode well for a team that opens the 2023 season with North Carolina in Charlotte before visiting two-time defending national champion Georgia in Week 3 (Sept. 16).

“Development and relationships is probably the main thing,” Pringle said. “I’ve always dreamed of playing at the highest level. So if I can just get developed and, you know, iron sharpens iron. I want to go against top guys, great competition.

“All of these dudes are college players. Everybody’s at the top notch. But I want to play in school. I want to compete and I want to build relationships with my coaches, outside of the field.”

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