The commitment of Port of Nyckoles in South Carolina could have lasting ramifications for the continued upward trajectory of the Gamecocks football program under Shane Beamer, which puts the finishing touches on the program’s most talented recruiting class since 2012, according to the 247Sports Composite. Harbor’s announcement is a watershed moment for the Gamecocks, whose scouting staff got off to a flying start in the 2024 cycle and over-scouted Oregon, Michigan and others for the best unsigned player of 2023.
Looking back on the hype around former No. 1 prospect Jadeveon Clowney’s commitment on Valentine’s Day in 2011, South Carolina has had three straight 11-win seasons — and top-10 finishes — during his career and managed four consecutive classes in the top 20 signings thereafter. , a stretch that has not been equaled since.
Another wave of national recruiting momentum could follow for South Carolina after landing a top player like Harbor. Clowney remains the highest-rated player the Gamecocks have ever signed as one of six perfect players from the 247Sports Composite ranking era, but Harbor brings a similar hype factor that sounds a lot like the eventual arrival of the No. 1 NFL pick in Colombia more than a decade ago.
In the new unregulated NIL era of college football, the factors determining a rookie’s final decision can change almost instantly from monetary value, but Harbor’s recruiting to the South Carolina side has mostly revolved around relationships of long standing with the members of staff, in particular Thomas Lucas. There’s no doubt that NIL opportunities played a role in his decision, but it wasn’t until the last hour that his alleged marketing reach came to a head.
The lure of playing on the Gamecocks track team under legendary coach Curtis Frye – who coached in South Carolina for nearly 30 years – also had an impact. Harbor would like to sprint at the 2024 Olympics as a dual-sport star and had that opportunity no matter where he ended up landing.
“We’re all for two athletic athletes,” Beamer said in September after a win over Charlotte. “We’re recruiting one right now who would be an incredible track athlete and football player here as well.”
Harbor will be the 13th signing from South Carolina rated four stars or higher, via 247Sports, the most rookies in a single recruiting round in school history. There was also a quiet level of confidence among those who shut down his recruiting that the Gamecocks would be Harbor’s ultimate pick, especially after South Carolina’s reassuring home visit last week, but there was fear. over the weekend that leaked Wednesday after Oregon showed him the red carpet at Nike’s collegiate mecca during his final official visit.
The rumblings that were once in South Carolina’s favor returned after quarterback Spencer Rattler called out Harbor for the commitment on Twitter. Perhaps it was the plan all along, for Rattler to wait until the eve of signing day for an impression the recruiting world had to see.
Subscribe to 247Sports YouTube for the latest college football, basketball and recruiting news, including live college commitments.
The Gamecocks have landed elite prospects before, but this one is different. And since 2011, a signing day announcement won’t reverberate like that around South Carolina.