COLUMBIA — As quickly as South Carolina left Clemson’s Memorial Stadium with a 31-30 win over the archrival Tigers, it started.
Gamers (and one assistant coach) leaving. Gamers (and one assistant coach) asserting they had been about to reach. Recruiting the switch portal and getting again out to the excessive faculties and junior faculties by each man on workers allowed.
That carousel stopped on Jan. 18 because the final window of the portal closed and the mud settled. Shane Beamer and the Gamecocks have almost finalized the roster that might be out there for 15 spring practices (the final, the Garnet and Black Spring Sport, is tentatively set for April 15), and thus giving the gamers who undergo them a foothold for main taking part in time within the 2023 season.
“Clearly some high-school prospects that we’re nonetheless recruiting proper now. The portal window has closed however definitely I don’t assume you’re ever completed there (one other window opens Might 1),” Beamer mentioned. “You guys know, there’s nonetheless some positions we now have crucial wants at that we’re not completed solidifying but.”
The Gamecocks are a great distance from defining their depth chart for the season, however for the spring, a have a look at who is predicted to take the sphere:
The return of Juice Wells, Dakereon Joyner, Xavier Legette and Ahmarean Brown give the Gamecocks a strong four-man rotation to modify out and in among the many three beginning spots, whereas just-added Memphis switch Eddie Lewis must also issue as a starter.
O’Mega Blake and Landon Samson performed within the Gator Bowl and might be among the many backup group of receivers.
The Gamecocks signed Nick Gargiulo from Yale to exchange Eric Douglas at heart, and Tyshawn Wannamaker appears a pure to fill Dylan Wonnum’s vacated spot at proper deal with after serving as Wonnum’s backup and fill-in through the 2022 season. Questions stay about the remainder.
Vershon Lee returns at guard and has additionally labored at backup heart. There’s a gap created by Jovaughn Gwyn’s departure, so Lee may substitute Gwyn at proper guard, or change to left guard as Jakai Moore performs proper.
Jaylen Nichols stands to start out at left deal with, with Western Illinois switch Sidney Fugar backing him up. The Gamecocks don’t have quite a bit outlined alongside the road, however they do have the personnel from which to cherry-pick, which is what spring ball is for.
Trai Jones, Cason Henry, Grayson Mains, JonDarius Morgan, Ryan Brubaker and true freshman Markee Anderson may all dent the depth chart by the tip of spring follow.
The Gamecocks misplaced 4 tight ends, so that they signed 5 that can all be right here for spring.
Trey Knox from Arkansas stands to be the starter as he’s probably the most established, with probably the most spectacular credentials. The chart from there will depend on how new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains desires to method the place.
The Gamecocks ran two tight ends a majority of the time in 2022 as a result of that they had the personnel to do it, these gamers being a number of the most expert athletes on the staff. If persevering with the scheme is a strong wager for 2023, Loggains will know after spring.
Nick Elksnis didn’t a lot see the sphere throughout his two seasons at Florida. Joshua Simon performed in 40 video games at Western Kentucky. These two stand to be above freshmen Reid Mikeska and Connor Cox merely on account of being older and stronger, however the backup spots are all large open.
Spencer Rattler eliminated any thriller when he introduced his return. That ought to carry over to Luke Doty being his high backup as properly.
The opposite QBs from final 12 months — Colten Gauthier, Braden Davis and Tanner Bailey — are all nonetheless right here.
This is likely one of the crucial wants that Beamer talked about. USC did add Mario Anderson, an All-American from Division II Newberry and Stratford Excessive College, however USC’s solely different two scholarship backs for spring are Juju McDowell and Lovasea Carroll.
The Gamecocks know what McDowell can do, which is supply a change of tempo and be extra of a menace to obtain whereas popping out of the backfield, however they received’t attempt to flip him into one thing he may by no means be — a bruising, 25-carry-per-game SEC tailback. Carroll was a working again in highschool and will have his greatest probability to influence this spring, as a result of even when Anderson is taken into account the “spring starter,” USC will want different choices.
USC is eyeing that different portal window to coax one other RB for subsequent season, however for the spring, the plan is to offer everybody doable a shot.
The opposite space of crucial want. The Gamecocks have three returnees and doubtlessly a fourth if Jordan Strachan receives a seventh 12 months of eligibility from the NCAA (USC feels assured he’ll). However even when he does, Strachan is probably going not going to do quite a bit in spring.
Terrell Dawkins can be a starter, however he was harm for many of final 12 months, so his spring participation will depend on his progress. That leaves Tyreek Johnson and Bryan Thomas to take their steps towards being high backups.
Edge rusher is likely one of the most probably spots the place a real freshman may see loads of taking part in time subsequent 12 months. Monteque Rhames and Desmond Umeozulu had been every extremely recruited and every enrolled early.
Defensive deal with
Starters must be set with Tonka Hemingway and Alex “Boogie” Huntley. Nick Barrett and T.J. Sanders are backups who’re coming alongside, together with JUCO product Elijah Davis.
Pup Howard enrolled early and went by bowl follow with the Gamecocks as a result of he knew he has an amazing probability to start out subsequent 12 months, regardless of being a freshman. Stone Blanton had a tremendous 2022 and might be able to tackle a beginning function, whereas Debo Williams was a strong LB filling in at a really skinny spot final 12 months.
Spring might be seeing how a lot Mo Kaba has recovered from his season-ending damage final 12 months, and if he’s going to mechanically begin when he’s 100%. If that’s the case, who takes the opposite spot?
And don’t neglect Jaron Willis, who transferred from Ole Miss.
Marcellas Dial had 12 months and an amazing end. O’Donnell Fortune was pressed into service for the Gator Bowl and responded with a 100-yard pick-6, the longest play in Gator Bowl historical past.
Lots of USC’s younger backup defensive backs bought to follow for and play within the bowl, and might be unfold out among the many secondary for spring and 2023. Particularly at CB, have a look at Keenan Nelson and Emory Floyd to again up.
A aid and a high-five for the recruiting workers after discovering multi-use athletes at Columbia excessive faculties and crossing their fingers that it could work in the event that they needed to play. DQ Smith and Nick Emmanwori had been spectacular of their first seasons.
It opens loads of potentialities for the backups, as Peyton Williams was in a position to prep for the bowl sport and Anthony Rose, out for 2022 on account of an instructional snafu, bought his toes moist. Kajuan Banks and Isaiah Norris can rotate amongst nook, security and nickel.
David Spaulding missed the final half of the season with a foot damage. He might be able to undergo spring ball, however Banks is prepared for these reps if not.
Behind Banks is who’s left within the properly of different rotating DBs. There might be loads of cross-training within the secondary.
Mitch Jeter didn’t miss a area aim all 12 months, Kai Kroeger is the most effective punter within the nation (regardless of so-called nationwide awards not recognizing him) and Hunter Rogers, to whom Kroeger threw a landing within the Gator, returns at snapper.
Lewis was Memphis’ high punt returner and may slide into the spot vacated by Josh Vann.
If there’s a spot USC doesn’t have to fret about for spring and the season, it’s right here.