The 12th-rated linebacker in the country is coming to South Carolina. Wendell Gregory, a 6’2” rangy athlete out of Marietta, GA, gives the Gamecocks another big linebacker to work in Clayton White’s defense. Gregory is built like current Gamecock linebacker Bam Martin-Scott and possesses the ability to add weight to his frame. He has adequate speed to rush the passer and drop into coverage. However, he is also powerful enough to rush the passer and shed blockers. Gregory will be a quality depth player in 2024 and could find his way onto the field playing special teams. He is the type of athlete that Pete Lembo looks for to raise the standard in the often-forgotten third phase of the game. Beyond 2024, the sky is the limit for Gregory in South Carolina. Don’t be surprised to see him start after his freshman year.
Where Gregory Fits
For now, Gregory will benefit from focusing on learning how to play defense at this level and adjusting to college life. Depth in any position group means allowing younger players to develop and mature before thrusting them into playing before they’re ready. Gregory played at a 7A high school in Georgia against quality competition, so he will be more ready to compete immediately upon arrival in Columbia. In his senior season, he had 56 total tackles with seven sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, and six deflected passes. Gregory shows the ability to cover in space and make plays on the ball. His film shows him covering running backs, tight ends, and occasionally wide receivers well downfield. He played more in space his junior season and intercepted two passes, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
However, the most impressive statistic is 18 tackles for loss. Gregory made a living in the backfield. Gregory split time between outside linebacker and defensive end during his time in high school. If he gains more than 15-20 pounds, he could consider playing as a smaller defensive end at the college level. Although he is tall, he has a thick build that will allow him to move downhill and hit ball carriers with force.