Gamecocks spring preview: TEs, WRs

February 27, 2012 

South Carolina Tennessee Football

South Carolina tight end Rory "Busta" Anderson is probably out for Thursday.

WADE PAYNE — ASSOCIATED PRESS

The glow of the historic 11-win season and another top 20 signing class will shine on South Carolina’s football team for just a while longer. But, in the second week of March, it will be back to business for the Gamecocks as they begin spring practice and work toward the annual Garnet and Black game, which is scheduled for April 14 in Williams-Brice Stadium. That process starts with spring practice. South Carolina lost nine players who started the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 2 so there will be plenty of starting jobs up for grabs this spring.

TIGHT ENDS

On signing day, Steve Spurrier bemoaned his lack of depth at tight end during the Capital One Bowl. That won’t be a problem this spring.

Not only will the redshirt come off Drew Owens, but freshman Kelvin Rainey enrolled early and will participate in spring practice. Returning starter Justice Cunningham is a proven commodity and a rising senior, which will buy him some down time this spring.

That means more snaps for Rory Anderson. Finding more ways to get Anderson the ball would be time well spent for the Gamecocks. He caught eight balls last year but averaged 23.5 yards per catch and has the potential to develop into an All-SEC tight end.

Justice Cunningham, Sr.
Rory Anderson, So.
Drew Owens, Fr.
Kelvin Rainey, Fr.
Corey Simmons, So.

WIDE RECEIVERS

The player most widely expected to replace Alshon Jeffery in the lineup won’t be on campus until the fall, so the spring will provide plenty of chances for someone in a group that mostly underwhelmed last year to catch the coaches’ eye before Shaq Roland arrives on campus.

K.J. Brent is the most intriguing of the possibilities. A natural route-runner, Brent looked like he was going to play as a true freshman last year but eventually redshirted. The development of Damiere Byrd and Shamier Jeffery also bears watching. Byrd showed flashes last preseason but never translated that to the field. Jeffery will have high expectations just because of his name. (He’s Alshon’s little brother.)

Veterans like D.L. Moore, DeAngleo Smith and Lamar Scruggs only have so many more chances to prove they can contribute regularly, and this could be the last. Bruce Ellington could be back on the football field for the spring but might decide to concentrate on basketball full time.

DeAngelo Smith, Jr.
Lamar Scruggs, Jr.
Ace Sanders, Jr.
Bruce Ellington, So.
Damiere Byrd, So.
D.L. Moore, Sr.
Nick Jones, So.
K.J. Brent, Fr.
Fr. Shamier Jeffery, Fr.
So. Zach Broome, So.
Sr. Blair Lowery, Sr.
So. Riley Gallaher, So.

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