From the weekend following signing day until the end of March, college football recruiting is in a “dead period” as recruits catch their breath and coaches hone in on spring practice. Will Muschamp, however, has continued to land prospects for the South Carolina Gamecocks.
KeShawn Toney, a 2019 tight end out of Williston, S.C., committed to the Gamecocks on March 4. 247Sports, the only major recruiting outlet that has ranked Toney, has him evaluated as a 3-star prospect. He plays in Class A, the smallest division of the South Carolina High School League, so it’s difficult to make an accurate evaluation due to the level of his playing competition.
After committing to South Carolina, Toney told Armchair that USC has always been his dream school and that he is ready to represent his home state on a bigger stage. The Williston-Elko product will most likely continue to play tight end in college. Toney believes he shares a lot of the same qualities as former Gamecocks tight end Hayden Hurst, who should be a first-round draft pick in April. In high school, Toney regularly splits outside, spends time in the slot and also lines up as essentially a sixth offensive lineman, so he is already used similarly to how Hurst was in college.
From a film standpoint, Toney can simply out-jump other players for the ball, as he has six inches on nearly every corner he faces. When lined up inside, he is athletic enough to outrun any linebacker that’s put on him. Toney is so dominant on film, that at times it can be difficult to discern whether it is his skillset or the Class A competition that allows him to succeed. One particular play comes to mind where Toney caught a screen pass, made the first defender miss, got wrapped up, then proceeded to drag around six defenders for a 10-yard gain. That’s what we call a playmaker, folks.
A particularly notable aspect of Toney’s game is that he runs a fairly advanced route tree for a high school junior. In addition to the simple go route, he has multiple instances of curls, stop and go’s, screens and more. Toney only had 35 receptions in 2017, but they accumulated to 600 yards and five touchdowns.
After watching his film, it appears that KeShawn Toney is another one of Muschamp’s routine “diamond in the rough” finds. He reminds early of Jerell Adams, a small school product out of Scott’s Branch who ended up being a big weapon for the Gamecocks towards the end of the Spurrier Era. If Toney can continue to improve and develop his game, especially along the line of scrimmage, he could be something special for Carolina.