USC recruit Legette ranked high with Muschamp

The State (Sunday) - - Sports - BY BEN BREINER [email protected]­tate.com

South Carolina foot­ball coach Will Muschamp has a well-doc­u­mented dis­dain for re­cruit­ing rank­ings.

The eval­u­a­tion met­rics and charts of 247, Ri­vals or ESPN hold no in­ter­est for him. He thinks he’s a bet­ter eval­u­a­tor than any of them. But the third-year Game­cocks head man does be­lieve in some met­rics, es­pe­cially for pro­ject­ing ahead, and that’s how his staff came to be so en­am­ored with Xavier Legette.

“He had NFL com­bine num­bers when he came to our camp,” Muschamp said. “Off the charts. As good as any­body at the com­bine.” at the mo­ment, Legette is one of the low­est-rated re­cruits in the 2019 class. He held a greyshirt of­fer ba­si­cally through the early sign­ing day, be­fore the Game­cocks fi­nally al­lowed him to join the class for next sea­son.

And although Muschamp doesn’t be­lieve in those rank­ings, he did ac­knowl­edge a few rea­sons Legette might be down in those.

“He plays at a re­ally small school,” Muschamp said. “He plays quar­ter­back. But we put him through a re­ceiver drill. We re­ally liked what we saw, and then we watched his se­nior tape, and he has as good a se­nior tape as any ath­lete we’ve seen.”

That se­nior tape in­cluded run­ning for more than 1,800 yards as the cen­ter­piece of an 8-2 team. He’s 6-foot-2, 190 pounds and can flat-out move. Muschamp said he’d played some re­ceiver in his high school days, but was mostly just a play­mak­ing QB with the ball in his hands.

Legette was the fifth in-state mem­ber of the 2019 class. Five-star Zacch Pick­ens was beloved by al­most ev­ery re­cruit­ing ser­vice, and four-star Cam Smith rose quickly in those rank­ings.

Ju­nior col­lege prod­uct Devon­tae Davis, an S.C. na­tive, and tight end Ke­shawn Toney weren’t as highly rated, but Muschamp liked what the staff got in both.

The process to bring Legette in was the cul­mi­na­tion of how the staff has built re­la­tion­ships within the state. Legette had been wait­ing on USC, had an of­fer from Ten­nessee and was look­ing at a set of smaller schools.

“You call Mullins High School late in the process and start talk­ing in terms of work­ing him into this class,” Muschamp said. “When they trust you and be­lieve the things you’re say­ing, they un­der­stand and it worked out per­fectly for us.”

USC had ex­ited sign­ing day with a pair of re­ceivers in the class. They’d lost North­west­ern’s Ja­mario Holley and tar­get Jashawn Sh­effield signed with Auburn late on that day.

As a player who mostly played quar­ter­back, there’s ob­vi­ously a bit of pro­jec­tion when it comes to what re­ceivers coach Bryan Mc­clen­don might be able to do with Legette. But there was some­thing the staff could see in him as he ran the of­fense.

“You just see his abil­ity to make peo­ple miss,” Muschamp said. “His speed to get on the edge and cre­ate ex­plo­sive plays.”

NAEEM MCFAD­DEN Mullins Star En­ter­prise

Mullins’ Xavier Legette runs dur­ing a game against Latta High School.

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