Shane Beamer cautions: Be realistic with Nyck Harbor expectations

JULY 24, 2023 7:00 AM
It’s easy for South Carolina football fans to get excited about freshman Nyck Harbor.
A five-star signee, Harbor was rated the top athlete in the country by the 247Sports Composite, On3Consensus and the ESPN300. Though he’ll suit up at wide receiver for the Gamecocks, his hype and profile have drawn many comparisons to USC great Jadeveon Clowney.
The accolades are great, and it’s thrilling to have Harbor on campus, Shane Beamer told local reporters Thursday at SEC Media Days. But Beamer also took time to remind folks outside the program of a couple facts about the 6-foot-5, 241-pound Harbor:
He’s 18 years old. He has a lot to learn about college football.
“I think that my concern is just the expectations that maybe the outside puts on him,” Beamer said. “That he’s the savior coming in here and he’s gonna come in and just take over college football. The guy’s a true freshman. … So let’s temper the expectations a little bit.”
Beamer spoke at length on Thursday about the youth of his football team this season, which includes 22 freshman signees. South Carolina’s roster will have to grow up fast in order to face its gauntlet of a schedule. USC’s conference slate features away games against Tennessee and reigning national champion Georgia.
USC quarterback great Todd Ellis, speaking recently in a podcast interview, suggested Harbor’s freshman season could follow a similar pattern to Alshon Jeffery. In 2019, it took Jeffery a few games before breaking out and becoming a big piece of the offense.
As far as Harbor’s ability to make an immediate impact, Beamer did speak on getting the newcomer involved.
“For us, we’ll give him an opportunity to get the ball in his hands as many ways as we can,” Beamer said. “And he’s a part of a really good receiver room, so he’s gonna have to earn it. But certainly excited about him being in our program and what he brings to the table.”
Returning players: Antwane “Juice” Wells, Xavier Legette, Dakereon Joyner, Ahmarean Brown, O’Mega Blake, Landon Samson
Transfer: Eddie Lewis
Freshmen: C.J. Adams, Elijah Caldwell, Nyck Harbor, Kelton Henderson
Ranked by player rating assigned by 247Sports
1. Jadeveon Clowney (2011)
2. Jordan Burch (2020)
3. Marcus Lattimore (2010)
4. Demetrius Summers (2003)
5. Zacch Pickens (2019)
6. Nyck Harbor (2023)

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