Gamecocks ranked in top 5 of two preseason football polls

GoGamecocks staff reportsMay 23, 2013 

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South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Dylan Thompson (17) celebrates throwing a touchdown pass to wide receiver Bruce Ellington (23)against Clemson in the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C.

C. ALUKA BERRY — caberry@thestate.com

South Carolina has made its way into the top five of a pair of preseason football polls exactly 14 weeks from the start to the 2013 season.

Athlon Sports Magazine named the Gamecocks the No. 5 team in its preseason Top 25 poll, announced Thursday.

That comes one day after The Sporting News' cover revealed that magazine had South Carolina No. 3 in its early rankings.

Athlon Sports predicts South Carolina will finish second in the SEC East - behind Georgia, which the magazine ranks No. 4 in its preseason poll.

“South Carolina will continue to do what it's done so well in recent years — run the ball and play solid defense,” Athlon Sports Executive Editor Mitch Light said in a statement. “The Gamecocks feature the finest player in college football, end Jadeveon Clowney, who anchors the SEC's best defensive line. The offense isn't overpowering but should be good enough to keep this club in contention in the SEC East.”

Clowney was voted by Athlon as a preseason All-American on the first team. Three Gamecocks earned preseason All-SEC honors, including Clowney on the first team; and tight end Rory Anderson and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles on the second team.

In addition, the defensive line unit was rated No. 1 in the country and best in the SEC. The quarterback unit was ranked fourth in the conference. The defensive backs unit was ranked fifth in the conference.

The Sporting News had Alabama No. 1 and Stanford No. 2 in its preseason poll. Athlon is still unveiling its rankings.

Instate rival Clemson is ranked No. 6 by Athlon and No. 9 by The Sporting News.

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