An early look: Gamecocks' offense in 2013

Projecting the depth chart for next season

GoGamecocks staff reportsDecember 17, 2012 

Shaq Roland

ROB THOMPSON — The State

An early look at how South Carolina's offensive depth chart could shape up for the 2013 season.

Wide receivers

DEPARTURES: D.L. Moore, DeAngelo Smith

Projected 2013 depth chart

WR starters
... Ace Sanders
... Bruce Ellington
... Shaq Roland

WR backups
... Kwinton Smith
... Damiere Byrd
... Nick Jones
... Jody Fuller
... K.J. Brent
... Shamier Jeffery

What should happen

1. Sanders (36-439, 7 TDS) and Ellington (38-564, 6 TDs) have done more than enough in 2012 to open 2013 as starters.

2. Roland, a jewel of the 2012 signing class, was missing in action for most of the season (5-80, 1 TD). Coaches hope that will change next season. To see more action next year, he'll need to pass Sanders (he played behind him all this year) or become versed at the receiver spot manned in 2012 by D.L. Moore and Nick Jones.

The uncertainties

1. It's unclear where redshirt freshmen Smith and Fuller will factor in next season, but they'll get a look. The 6-foot-4 Smith is big and physical, and he made the biggest impression on teammates during the team’s summer workouts. Fuller can play the inside or outside spots. Both were four-star prospects by most recruiting rankings.

2. Damiere Byrd (12-303, 2 TDs) had a strong first half but faded down the stretch. He certainly was better than his one-catch freshman campaign.

3. Jones, K.J. Brent and Shamier Jeffery will all return in hopes more playing time. Jones and Brent have the better chance to emerge, but as you see every year, there aren't enough balls to go around.

Offensive line

DEPARTURES: T.J. Johnson, Kaleb Broome, Travis Ford, Kyle Harris

Projected 2013 depth chart

LT
... Brandon Shell
... Corey Robinson

RT
... Mike Matulis
... Cody Gibson

C
... Clayton Stadnik
... Cody Waldrop

LG
... A.J. Cann
... Cody Waldrop

RG
... Ronald Patrick
... Brock Stadnik

What should happen

1. Just a hunch that Brandon Shell will work his way back to left tackle, with Mike Matulis returning from shoulder surgery and taking over again at the right tackle spot.

2. A.J. Cann and Ronald Patrick played well in 2012 and, with another year of experience, should open 2013 at the guard spots.

The uncertainties

1. The glaring hole will be at center, where the Gamecocks lose starter T.J. Johnson and backups Travis Ford and Kyle Harris. Johnson's eligibility is up, and Ford and Harris are leaving the program early. Clayton Stadnik should get a long look for the spot; Cody Waldrop is another option.

2. The highly touted Brock Stadnik was moved to guard this preseason and could stick there as a redshirt freshman. Waldrop could back up Cann if he can beat out Will Sport.

Tight end

DEPARTURE: Justice Cunningham

Projected 2013 depth chart
... Rory Anderson
... Jerell Adams
... Kelvin Rainey/Drew Owens

What should happen

1. Rory Anderson has 13 grabs so far this season, and five are for touchdowns. He'll open up as the top returning pass-catching threat.

2. Jerell Adams was a preseason standout, but only played in eight games and had four catches. He should be next in line to challenge for a starting spot and could break out as a sophomore.

The uncertainties

1. Who will assume the blocking duties that Cunningham so willingly performed? It could be Adams, though he and each of his fellow tight ends are at least 40 pounds lighter than Cunningham.

2. Drew Owens was a spring standout, but he wasn't heard from much after suffering a leg injury in the spring game. We haven't seen enough from Kelvin Rainey to know if he's poised for a breakout as a redshirt freshman.

Quarterback

DEPARTURES: Andrew Clifford, Seth Strickland

Projected depth chart
... Connor Shaw
... Dylan Thompson
... Brendan Nosovitch

What should happen

1. It seems like he just got here, but Connor Shaw will be a senior in 2013 and should get the first shot at the starting job. He's in line to be the first quarterback signed under Steve Spurrier to complete his eligibility at USC.

2. Dylan Thompson, a hero in the win over Clemson, could push Shaw in the spring and fall but is likely destined to be the No. 2 guy again.

3. Fans will be eager to see incoming freshman Connor Mitch. He's enrolling early, but a redshirt year is almost a certainty.

The uncertainties

1. With Andrew Clifford and Seth Strickland leaving, coaches will get their first serious look at Brendan Nosovitch, USC's lone quarterback signee of 2012. It will be interesting to see if Nosovitch is more patient than Tanner McEvoy was if depth chart success doesn't come right away.

Running back

DEPARTURES: Marcus Lattimore, Kenny Miles, Jacob Baker, Blair Lowery

Projected 2013 depth chart
... Mike Davis
... Brandon Wilds
... Shon Carson
... Kendric Salley

What should happen

1. With Marcus Lattimore turning pro and Kenny Miles' eligibility up, Mike Davis will be a sophomore with more than 50 carries of experience. Look for Davis to get the first shot at the starting role in 2013.

2. Barring a bowl game surprise, Brandon Wilds will redshirt as a sophomore. He had 107 carries for 502 yards and three scores as a freshman and should be the No. 2 guy next season.

The uncertainties

1. We still haven't really seen Shon Carson play. He injured his knee last year on his third carry; he hasn't played a down this year with a bad wrist. Unless he plays in the bowl game, his first meaningful playing time could come this spring for the USC baseball team.

2. Kendric Salley rehabbed his injured knee this fall as a true freshman. He was ultra-productive in high school and will get his first meaningful reps in the spring.

3. South Carolina has one running back commitment for 2013 - Jamari Smith - and could get another. It's not uncommon for running backs to play as true freshmen, but it's hard to predict.

Fullback

DEPARTURES: Qua Gilchrist, Kyle Madden

Projected 2013 depth chart
... Connor McLaurin
... TBD

What should happen

1. Connor McLaurin, who played mostly on special teams in 2012, is the only returning player with fullback experience. He should get a look at the spot in 2013, or at least be an option as a backup.

The uncertainties

1. Qua Gilchrist was a converted linebacker who played running back in high school. The Gamecocks could look to do the same with one of its defensive guys when the spring rolls around.

Kicker

DEPARTURES: Adam Yates

Projected 2013 depth chart
... Nick St. Germain
... Landon Ard

The uncertainties

1. This one is a coin flip. Nick St. Germain was signed to be the kicker of the future, but he struggled in the practices that were open to the media.

2. Landon Ard was ahead of St. Germain in 2012, as evidenced by Ard's playing time. He has just as much chance to be the guy next year.

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