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South Carolina Football: Projecting the Post Spring 2-Deep Depth Chart

Charles BennettContributor IApril 28, 2014

South Carolina Football: Projecting the Post Spring 2-Deep Depth Chart

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    South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was happy with the Gamecocks' spring.
    South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was happy with the Gamecocks' spring.Associated Press

    South Carolina wrapped up spring practice on April 12 with its annual spring game but thus far hasn't released an official depth chart.

    When it is released, it's doubtful if there will be any major surprises.

    The Gamecocks are relatively stable at all positions, with the exception of cornerback and, to a lesser extent, the defensive line.

    South Carolina did an exceptional job of recruiting for its need areas: the secondary and the offensive line, so expect the real competition for those spots to begin in the fall.

Backfield

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    South Carolina tailback Mike Davis had an easy spring.
    South Carolina tailback Mike Davis had an easy spring.RICHARD SHIRO

    Quarterback

    1. Fifth-year senior Dylan Thompson did nothing but solidify his status as the Gamecocks starter with his performance in the spring. Thompson was sharp in limited work in each scrimmage, but his knowledge of the offense and decision-making skills were clearly superior to the other quarterbacks.

    2. Even though the competition for the backup spot will continue into the fall, Connor Mitch probably deserves the edge at No. 2. Brendan Nosovitch had a disappointing spring. Although walkon Perry Orth had a surprisingly good spring, he still seems a notch below Mitch.

     

    Tailback

    1. Mike Davis is the established starter at the position, and was all but given the spring off, at least when it came to carries in the scrimmages. Davis should be rested and ready for a big year come the fall.

    2. Brandon Wilds, another proven performer at tailback, is the probable No. 2 to Davis, but this is yet another spot where the competition will continue into the fall. Shon Carson had a solid spring before injuring his shoulder in the spring game, and redshirt freshman David Williams could make an impact in the fall after being hindered by a hamstring injury.

     

    Fullback

    1. Senior Connor McLaurin returns as the starter at fullback. McLaurin knows the offense and knows his role—block for the tailback.

    2. Jordan Diaz, another senior, is the probable backup. Diaz actually got a few carries in scrimmages in the spring and was effective as a runner as well as a blocker.

     

     

     

Wide Receivers/Tight End

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    Shaq Roland (No. 4) emerged last season as one of the Gamecocks' best receivers.
    Shaq Roland (No. 4) emerged last season as one of the Gamecocks' best receivers.John Raoux

    Wide Receiver

    1. Shaq Roland continued to build on a strong finish to last season with a good spring. Roland has superstar potential.

    2. Shamier Jeffery also improved during the spring, and should enter the fall penciled in as Roland's backup. Jeffery, the younger brother of former Gamecock Alshon Jeffery, has improved his work ethic.

     

    Wide Receiver

    1. Pharoh Cooper is a star in the making for the Gamecocks after an outstanding freshman season. Cooper also will be featured in the return game and as the Wildcat quarterback.

    2. K.J. Brent looks like he has the edge for the backup spot. Transfer Carlton Heard had an outstanding spring, and it would not be a surprise if he edges out Brent on the official depth chart.

     

    Wide Receiver

    1. Nick Jones probably has a slim hold on this position exiting the spring, if nothing else because of injuries. Jones is an excellent route runner with good hands and belongs in the rotation.

    2. Returning starter Damiere Byrd was recovering from surgery and was limited during the spring. Look for him to regain a starting role if he's healthy in the fall.

     

    Tight End

    1. Jerell Adams is the probable No. 1 after Rory Anderson had to undergo surgery for a torn triceps. Adams is experienced and arguably just as good as Anderson.

    2. Anderson, provided he's healthy, should remain in the rotation. If not, then Drew Owens is the probable No. 2.

Offensive Line

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    A.J. Cann (No. 50) will be one of the anchors on South Carolina's offensive line.
    A.J. Cann (No. 50) will be one of the anchors on South Carolina's offensive line.Associated Press

    Right guard

    1. Oft-injured junior Mike Matulis entered the spring listed as a backup at tackle, but exited the spring as the projected starter at right guard, the only spot on the line where the Gamecocks didn't have a returning starter. All Matulis needs to do is stay healthy.

    2. Will Sport, a junior with playing experience, is the likely backup. Sport will likely be counted on as a backup at either guard spot.

     

    Right Tackle

    1. By all accounts, returning starter Brandon Shell had a good spring. He has All-SEC potential, and it's a safe bet he will be motivated to have a big year as a junior with the chance of making the jump to the NFL looming.

    2. Senior Cody Gibson is a versatile lineman with experience and will probably back Shell. Gibson can play several positions on the line.

     

    Center

    1. Because of the uncertainty at right guard, returning starter Cody Waldrop got a look there before moving back to center once Matulis established himself. Waldrop is solid but still has the occasional problem with the shotgun snap.

    2. When Waldrop was injured, Clayton Stadnik stepped in effectively at center last season and is a reliable backup. Stadnik showed solid improvement through the spring and can take over for Waldrop with little or no dropoff.

     

    Left Guard 

    1. Senior A.J. Cann is a returning starter who had a solid spring. A senior, he is also a solid leader up front for the Gamecocks.

    2. Brock Stadnick rates an edge over Bryce King for the backup spot. Like so many other positions, the battle will continue in the fall.

     

    Left tackle

    1. Corey Robinson, the acknowledged leader on the offensive line, returns for his senior year. A definite All-SEC candidate.

    2. Sophomore Mason Zandi had a good spring and will likely enter the fall with the edge at the backup tackle spot. A 6'9", 303-pound sophomore, Zandi played at tackle and tight end last season.

     

     

Defensive Line

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    Defensive tackle J.T. Surratt (No. 97) is South Carolina's only returning starter on the defensive line.
    Defensive tackle J.T. Surratt (No. 97) is South Carolina's only returning starter on the defensive line.USA TODAY Sports

    Defensive end

    1. Gerald Dixon is a sophomore who had a solid season as a backup last year. He will face a challenge from incoming talent in the fall, but right now he's got the edge as the starter.

    2. Mason Harris is another player who got some experience as a backup and had a good spring. Harris is versatile enough to play end or linebacker.

     

    Defensive tackle

    1. J.T. Surratt is the only returning starter on the defensive line and did nothing to lessen his status as the leader of the group.

    2. Phillip Dukes, a junior, is another returning player with experience. He will have to hold off challenges from incoming recruits to maintain his spot in the lineup.

     

    Defensive tackle

    1. Gerald Dixon Jr. played well as a reserve last season and has earned first crack at a starting position. He should enter the fall No. 1 simply based on his experience.

    2. Big things are expected from JUCO transfer Abu Lamin, who had a good spring. He  should challenge Dixon for the starting role in the fall.

     

    Defensive end

    1. Darius English played behind All-American Jadeveon Clowney last season and, when called upon, played well. He has added some weight and should be ready for a starting role.

    2. Converted linebacker Cedrick Cooper may have a slight edge over David Johnson for the backup spot. Cooper has been nagged by injuries.

Linebackers

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    South Carolina linebacker Sharrod Golightly (No. 9) provided the Gamecocks with big plays last season.
    South Carolina linebacker Sharrod Golightly (No. 9) provided the Gamecocks with big plays last season.USA TODAY Sports

    Middle Linebacker

    1. Kaiwan Lewis probably holds a slight edge for the starting spot after splitting time with T.J. Holloman last season. Lewis was selected the Gamecocks' most improved linebacker in the spring.

    2. Holloman will resume the challenge for the starting spot in the fall. Either way, he will get plenty of playing time.

     

    Will Linebacker

    1. Skai Moore emerged last season as the Gamecocks' leading tackler and looms as a potential All-SEC and All-American candidate. He also led the team in interceptions with four.

    2. Jonathan Walton played mostly on special teams last season. He improved with additional reps this spring and is the likely backup to Moore.

     

    Spur Linebacker

    1. Sharrod Golightly faced plenty of competition over the spring for his starting spot in the lineup but probably held onto it at least for now. He has work to do.

    2. Jordan Diggs is the tentative backup, but the battle should continue in the fall. Diggs, along with Larenz Bryant, will challenge for playing time.

Secondary

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    Brison Williams (No. 12) could start at corner, but the Gamecocks prefer him at safety.
    Brison Williams (No. 12) could start at corner, but the Gamecocks prefer him at safety.USA TODAY Sports

    Cornerback

    1. Rico McWilliams is the only returning player with any playing experience at cornerback. He exits the spring as a starter almost by default.

    2. Ali Groves, who was limited because of injury, is the tentative backup exiting the spring. He is almost certainly destined to slide further down the depth chart.

     

    Cornerback

    1. Jamari Smith, a converted tailback, will likely hold this position at least until South Carolina's recruiting class arrives. He could be a solid player in time.

    2. Sidney Rhodes is a former walkon best known for his work on special teams. He earned a scholarship prior to last season.

     

    Strong Safety

    1. Brison Williams got a lot of work at cornerback and could start there, but only if the Gamecocks' incoming talent at corner is a bust. The Gamecocks want him at strong safety.

    2. T.J. Gurley is an experienced backup. He's probably good enough to start if Williams has to play corner.

     

    Free Safety

    1. Chaz Elder came on at the end of last season to establish himself as the starter at free safety. He has backed it up with a solid spring.

    2. Kadetrix Marcus is a senior with plenty of experience who should be a capable reserve. He's destined for plenty of playing time.

     

     

Kicking Game

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    Elliott Fry (right) had a solid season for the Gamecocks as  a freshman.
    Elliott Fry (right) had a solid season for the Gamecocks as a freshman.USA TODAY Sports

    Placekicker

    1. Elliott Fry established himself last season as a freshman. He exits an uneventful spring as the clear-cut starter for field goals and extra points.

    2. Landon Ard is the backup on field goals and extra points. Ard handled kickoffs last season, but could be challenged in the fall.

     

    Punter

    1. Tyler Hull has started each of the last two seasons, but after average results, could find himself in a battle in the fall if the Gamecocks recruit some talented walkons. Thus far, Hull has repelled all challengers.

    2. Patrick Fish is the backup at punter. His true value lies as the Gamecocks' top player holding on extra points and field goals.

     

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