Why should this nominee be considered for the Broyles Award?
(200 word limit)First-year defensive coordinator Clayton White brought a 4-2-5 scheme to Columbia. A three-time nominee for the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach, White most recently served as the DC at Western Kentucky. He has the Gamecocks ranked seventh in the nation in turnovers gained, 17th in pass defense, 36th in pass efficiency defense, 38th in total defense and 54th in scoring defense.The Carolina defense ranks 54th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 23.7 points per game, with five of its nine opponents scoring 17 points or less, including a shutout of Eastern Illinois. Last season, Carolina gave up 36.0 points per game and held just two of their 10 opponents to 17 points or less. They ranked 105th in the country in scoring defense when they had three starters (Jaycee Horn, Ernest Jones and Israel Mukuamu) who are now playing in the NFL.
Coach's Past Performance
(200 word limit)White is a three-time Frank Broyles Award nominee for the nation’s top assistant coach (2017, 2019 and 2020) and an 18-year coaching veteran. He spent the past four seasons as the defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach at Western Kentucky University.In 2020, the Hilltoppers ranked 28th in total defense, including eighth in the nation in passing defense, allowing just 177.3 yards per game though the air. WKU was third in the nation with 68 passes defended and the defense scored three touchdowns.In 2019, WKU produced a top-25 overall defense in the third season of White’s Multiple 4-2-5 scheme. WKU allowed 20.1 total points per game, which was the lowest mark for the program since 2004 and ranked No. 22 in FBS. DeAngelo Malone was the 2019 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year after producing 99 total tackles, including 21 for loss, with 11.5 sacks and 16 quarterback hurries.WKU held opponents to a 29.7 percent rate (51-of-172) on 3rd-down attempts, which ranked sixth in FBS and was the lowest mark for the program since 1987. The Hilltoppers ranked third in FBS with only 82 missed tackles.WKU also ranked among the best in the nation in a handful of other statistics: 15th with 224 first downs allowed, 19th in red zone defense with a scoring rate of 75.8 percent, 24th in total defense with 335.5 yards allowed per game and 28th with 200 passing yards allowed per game. The Hilltoppers allowed only 142 plays of 10-plus yards all season – which ranked tied for 10th in the country.The Hilltoppers were one of the nation’s stingiest inside the red zone in 2018. WKU allowed just a 103.41 passer rating with their backs against the wall, good for the sixth-best mark nationally. Even better, the Hilltoppers allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete passes at just a 32.7 percent clip, the best mark in the nation.During White’s first campaign as the defensive playcaller in 2017, the Hilltoppers enjoyed a historic stretch, holding opponents to their fewest point totals through the season’s first seven games in 15 years and a record over that span in the FBS era. The pass defense was also one of the nation’s stingiest in allowing passing touchdowns, as opposing teams scored just 11 times through the air all season, a mark which ranked No. 5 nationally. The Hilltoppers ranked No. 40 nationally in pass defense – an improvement of 79 spots from the previous season.
Team Record and Standings
The Gamecocks are 5-4 overall, 2-4 in the SEC. They are coming off a 2-8 campaign and won just six games total over the previous two seasons. A team that Vegas had pegged with a win total of 3.5 prior to the start of the season, the Gamecocks have already exceeded that with three games remaining, and will become bowl eligible with one more victory.
(200 word limit)The Gamecocks rank in the upper half in the SEC in scoring defense (6th – 23.7), passing defense (2nd – 186.4), passing efficiency defense (4th – 123.78), and total defense (5th – 345.7). Coach White specifically coaches the inside linebackers, where Brad Johnson (50) and Damani Staley (44), rank second and third, respectively, on the team in tackles. The Gamecocks have played most of the season without their top linebacker, Sherrod Greene, who was injured on the second play of the third game of the season and has not played since. The Gamecock defense has scored four times this season, three on pick-sixes and one scoop-and-score. Jordan Burch picked off a pass and rumbled 61 yards to paydirt in the opener against Eastern Illinois. That was Carolina’s first pick-six since Israel Mukuamu went 53 yards for a score at Georgia in 2019 and the first for a Gamecock defensive lineman since Devin Taylor raced 48 yards at Arkansas in 2011. Damani Staley got the Gamecocks on the board with just a minute left in the first half on a 63-yard interception return at East Carolina. David Spaulding went 74 yards with an interception return in the final minute of the first half against Troy. Jabari Ellis recovered a fumble and rambled 18-yards for a score late in the first half vs. Florida.The Gamecocks lead the SEC and are in a four-way tie for fourth nationally with four defensive scores behind Nevada (6), Ohio State (6) and UTSA (5). The three interception returns for TDs are tied for third in the NCAA behind Ohio State (4) and Appalachian State (4) and are the most for Carolina since 2010 (5).The Gamecock defense has been outstanding in forcing turnovers this season. They forced a season-high four turnovers against Troy, and have forced at least two turnovers in seven of their nine games (EIU-2; ECU-2; UGA-3; UK-3; Troy-4; UT-0; VU-2; A&M-1; UF-2). For the season, South Carolina has forced 19 turnovers – 12 interceptions and seven fumbles, ranking first in the SEC and in a five-way tie for seventh in the NCAA in turnovers gained. The 12 interceptions have the Gamecocks ranked tied for first in the SEC and in a seven-way tie for eighth in the country.
Individual Player Stats
Safety Jaylan Foster and EDGE Kingsley Enagbare are both All-America candidates. “Super Senior” Jaylan Foster is having an All-America campaign. The former walk-on who began his career at Gardner-Webb, leads the team with 74 tackles from his safety position, including a career-high 13 stops against Tennessee, and is second in the country with five interceptions, tops in the SEC. It’s the most interceptions in a season by a Gamecock since Ko Simpson picked off six passes in 2004. He is sixth in the SEC with 8.1 tackles per game. Foster owns 5.0 tackles for loss from his safety position including a pair of sacks. In addition, he forced a pair of fumbles in the win over Troy, both coming in the fourth quarter with the Trojans in Carolina territory, helping preserve the win. Foster was named a Sporting News Midseason All-American and is one of 12 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, which recognizes the nation’s top defensive back. He has also been nominated for the Burlsworth Trophy. A returning first-team All-SEC selection, Kingsley Enagbare leads the team with 6.0 tackles for loss including 4.5 sacks this season and has been credited with 10 of Carolina’s 29 quarterback hurries. He ranks fifth on the squad with 35 tackles. He is a Bednarik Award semifinalist and on the Ted Hendricks Watch List. With 23.0 career tackles for loss including 15.0 sacks, he has moved into a five-way tie for ninth on the school’s all-time career sacks list. In addition, Enagbare ranks 14th on Mel Kiper’s Big Board and has put himself in position to potentially become the third Gamecock defensive player in as many years to be an NFL first-round draft pick, following in the shoes of Javon Kinlaw (49ers) and Jaycee Horn (Panthers).