Quick links:
 Latest Team Rankings
 Free Rivals Alerts
 Member Services
ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports

March 19, 2008

South Carolina Gamecocks
Head coach: Steve Spurrier
Last season: 6-6 overall, 3-5 in the SEC.
Spring practice: March 19-April 19.

South Carolina began last season 6-1 and looked as if it could be a legit contender in the SEC East. But injuries and poor play took their toll, and the Gamecocks finished the season with a five-game losing streak that included three losses at home. The run defense especially was lax down the stretch. This spring, the focal point will be finding a new quarterback. Here's a look at the Gamecocks as they prepare for spring drills.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Steve Spurrier would like to find a quarterback this spring.

RETURNING STARTERS
Offense—4: G Seaver Brown, WR Kenny McKinley, T Jamon Meredith *, T Justin Sorensen.
Defense—10: T Ladi Ajiboye, SS Emanuel Cook, T Marque Hall, LB Cliff Matthews, CB Captain Munnerlyn, E Eric Norwood, LB Rodney Paulk, LB Marvin Sapp, FS Darian Stewart, CB Carlos Thomas%.
Special teams—1: K/P Ryan Succop.
*–Meredith was granted a medical hardship that allowed him to play in 2008, but only if he misses the first two games.
%–Thomas has been suspended indefinitely.
EARLY ENROLLEES
SS Antonio Allen (from high school), CB Akeem Auguste (high school), RB Eric Baker (high school), FS Jay Spearman (high school), WR Charles Whitlock (high school), LB Shaq Wilson (high school).

POSITIONS OF STRENGTH

Cook and Munnerlyn give South Carolina two All-America candidates in a secondary that returns four starters from last season. The return of Jasper Brinkley from a knee injury should fortify the Gamecocks at linebacker. South Carolina also returns Norwood, a potential All-American at defensive end.

HELP IS NEEDED

South Carolina has had instability at the quarterback position, where sophomore Chris Smelley likely will compete with redshirt freshman Stephen Garcia and junior Tommy Beecher for the starting job. The Gamecocks also must find a tailback to replace the departed Cory Boyd. Although the Gamecocks return three starters on the offensive line, they need to improve upon their 2007 performance.

KEEP AN EYE ON

WR Chris Culliver: This former five-star prospect didn't catch a pass last season, but he certainly has the speed to become a major factor as a sophomore. Culliver spent his freshman season adjusting to receiving after primarily playing defensive back at Garner (N.C.) High School.

QB Stephen Garcia: Although Smelley has more experience, don't be surprised if this redshirt freshman opens the season as the Gamecocks' starting quarterback.

RB Brian Maddox: Senior Mike Davis has the edge in seniority, but Maddox - a sophomore - might beat out the senior for the right to open the season as the Gamecocks' No. 1 tailback.

HIS TIME IS NOW

After rushing for at least 94 yards in two of South Carolina's first three games last year, Davis stumbled down the stretch and carried the ball just 12 times in the Gamecocks' last three games. Davis' experience would appear to give him the edge in the battle to replace Boyd as the Gamecocks' main tailback, but he should face a tough challenge from Maddox. Davis didn't help his cause by receiving a one-game suspension for missing class.

THE BUZZ

South Carolina's inability to stop teams led to a season-ending five-game losing streak last year, so it will be interesting to see how a defense stacked with returning starters adjusts to new coordinator Ellis Johnson. South Carolina also will spend this spring trying to decide on a tailback to replace Boyd. But there's no question the quarterback competition will steal most of the headlines this spring.

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com.



Florida NEWS

[More]

Latest Headlines:


 

Rivals.com is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
Site-specific editorial/photos © InsidetheGators.com. All rights reserved. This website is an officially and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school or team.
About | Advertise with Us | Contact | Privacy Policy | About our Ads | Terms of Service | Copyright/IP policy | Yahoo! Sports - NBC Sports Network

Statistical information ©2014 STATS LLC All Rights Reserved.