First Look: South Carolina Gamecocks

South Carolina is hoping the return of Shane Beamer can finally get the Gamecocks within closer than 20 points of the Tigers this year.

It’s been said that Shane Beamer has done more for the South Carolina fan base in three months than Will Muschamp did in five years. His excitement has a fan base starved for success believing he can do what they experienced when Steve Spurrier was there and totally downplaying their history. This new hire also seems to have them forgetting that this year’s roster is also not a very strong one.

Their starting quarterback situation took a huge hit when projected starter, Luke Doty, suffered a foot injury. The length of that recovery time is still unknown, though, they are still hoping he’ll be back soon. It caused the staff to even have one of their graduate assistants change his status and put his name in the hat of quarterbacks.

As far as receivers, last year, Shi Smith was the lone bright spot but now he is gone. Nick Muse’s return will help out a little at tight end. Xavier Legette, Jalen Brooks, and Dakereon Joyner will be looked to for more production than they had last season. They also welcome E.J. Jenkins, who is also expected to make a big impact for them.

South Carolina returns one of the most dynamic rushers in the country in Kevin Harris, who took over for MarShawn Lloyd last year when he was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Harris went on to post the school’s 11th 1,000-yard rushing season ever. It is expected that Lloyd will rejoin him carrying the football which should help.

Defensively, the Gamecocks began last season loaded with NFL talent in the secondary but, even with all of that talent, they couldn’t make it work. Somehow it completely fell apart with key pieces completely gone by the end of the season.

They finished up allowing 452 yards and 36 points per game. The defensive line also got manhandled far too easily. This season that same line could be the deepest unit on the team and it fall on them to carry them on that side of the ball. Especially after losing so much on the backend of their defense.

Kingsley “J.J.” Enagbare and Aaron Sterling returning was huge. Then when you factor in backups Jordan Burch, Tonka Hemingway, and the addition of Jordan Strachan the Gamecocks have a strong foundation.

South Carolina’s linebackers have to improve. Leading tackler Ernest Jones is now with the LA Rams but Sherrod Greene and Mo Kaba are experienced enough to be good and get better. As the season goes on they should have time to gel.

There’s no Jaycee Horn in the Gamecock’s secondary now. John Dixon and Jammie Robinson both left the program by way of the transfer portal. Jaylan Foster coming back along with veterans like Jaylin Dickerson and Cam Smith should help offset those losses.

South Carolina has a shot at getting off to a good start this season and taking care of business at East Carolina would help out bigtime. Now, playing Auburn and Texas A&M out of the West isn’t great, but it’s still gotta be better than playing Alabama at this point. Three of their final four games will be at home including Florida and Clemson.

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