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COLUMBIA -- When Will Muschamp finished up his postgame press conference Saturday after his team beat Akron by 25 points, the recruiting started.

He entertained a few official visitors after the game, likely getting a few hours of sleep before he and the rest of the staff got out on the road for an incredibly pivotal two weeks of recruiting.

“We’re in crunch time,” Muschamp said after the game. “This is a time decisions are getting made and decisions are being finalized and you have to be in front of the prospect. We’re putting our best foot forward at the University of South Carolina.”

With the early signing day just over two weeks away (Dec. 19) and the Gamecocks wanting to put some more finishing touches on the 2019 class, the staff has been out all week visiting with prospects. That will continue until bowl practice starts.

They’ve been a busy group with coaches going all over the country to visit high-profile players.

Dan Werner went to California to visit with quarterback commit Ryan Hilinski while Muschamp and KeShawn Toney got a visit from Muschamp and tight ends coach Pat Washington.

But the staff’s been out trying to lure a few guys as well to get some of the final pieces in place in this year’s class.

Defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson went last week to visit Florida cornerback commitment Jaydon Hill while Eric Wolford had an in-home talk with Mississippi State offensive line pledge Darius Washington.

One of the biggest pieces still up in the air, though, got a visit from Robinson Monday night when the third-year defensive coordinator flew out to California to have an in-home visit with five-star corner Chris Steele.

There are currently 17 commits in the Gamecocks’ 2019 class and Muschamp said he’d love to have 18 to 20 players sign with South Carolina during the early signing period.

Muschamp can’t mention players by name until they sign letters of intent, but he did say he’s excited about the class as a whole and the potential for a few more guys to join the group.

“Obviously you’re always trying to recruit for the best players. We have the early signing period and I’m anticipating anywhere from 18 to 20 signing for us on that day, maybe more. That’ll develop itself over the next two weeks,” he said. “I feel pretty good about where we are."

Muschamp said even if the class doesn’t fully come together in December, he and the rest of the staff will continue to recruit into February at the next signing day to get things finalized.

Other than him making a stop back in Columbia for a bowl press conference, it's been a busy 48 hours for Muschamp and the Gamecocks getting on the road recruiting after missing a few days last week.

Usually, unless a team’s playing in a conference championship, coaches are out recruiting that week. Since South Carolina had to game plan for Akron, Muschamp and his staff had to wait until Thursday and Friday go out and visit with prospects.

Now that the regular season is over and bowl practice isn’t for a few weeks, it’s full steam ahead on the recruiting trail.

“It’s game on. You better be on. We have a good plan," he said. "We were able to get out, thanks to Coach (Ray) Tanner’s help, on Thursday and Friday get our coaches out to some places that are hard to get to and see some guys.”

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Collyn Taylor reports for GamecockCentral.com, the Rivals affiliate devoted to USC athletics.

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