South Carolina recruiting: What the Gamecocks are getting in 2019 OT Jaylen Nichols

Offensive tackle Jaylen Nichols, the latest commitment to the 2019 South Carolina recruiting class, is a bit of a throwback.

The 6-foot-5, 290-pound prospect from Myers Park High School (Charlotte, N.C.) committed to South Carolina on Monday night. But you’d barely know it, gauging by his Twitter feed.

There was no announcement with the notes app or fancy edited picture. Only a retweet of @GamecockSplash then a tweet encouraging followers to check out a friend’s highlights.

That’s about par for the course, according to Myers Park coach Scott Chadwick.

“I think he’s got an extremely bright future. His recruiting was really just kind of starting to take off here, but South Carolina has been with him since day one, back into his sophomore season,” Chadwick said. “He just felt real comfortable with the situation down there. He’s not one of these guys that’s out there looking to rack up offers and Twitter likes or anything like that. That’s not what he’s about.

“He’s comfortable here, and he’s always been comfortable there. … I guess that’s why he decided to go ahead and make a move.”

Indiana and Charlotte have offered, but several coaches have been by the school to check in on him over the last few weeks, including Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

“Obviously, the first thing that jumps right out at you is his size. … I think the other thing is his versatility,” Chadwick said. “He’s started games in high school on both sides of the ball. Offensively, at guard and tackle. And, defensively, certainly at defensive tackle.”

Looking back at the 2017 season, during which the Mustangs went 12-2, Chadwick thinks they should have played Nichols more on the offensive side of the ball.

“Going into the season, we felt like we had more depth on the offensive side of the ball than we did defensively. Offensively, we returned, I think, three starters,” Chadwick said. “Defensively, Jaylen was the only one of our top five defensive linemen returning, so we kind of felt like that was where we needed him the most, so he played there.

“As the season went on, we thought, well, this guy’s probably too good for us to just play him on one side of the ball. By the time we started playing him full-time, both ways, he dislocated his shoulder and tore his labrum. The doctor felt like, for the rest of the season, he probably should only play on one side of the ball, so we just kind of left him on defense.

“Even when he was primarily defense first, he probably played 10-15 snaps a game of short yardage stuff. And trust me, when he went into the game, it wasn’t hard to figure that’s where we were running the football.”

According to the 247Sports composite, Nichols is ranked as the No. 43 defensive tackle in the Class of 2019. Among prospects from the state of North Carolina, he’s listed as the No. 33 overall prospect.

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