The Final Cockdown: #71 Brandon Shell

"Pictures of offensive linemen are hard to find." - Tom Petty - Grant Halverson

With NFL Hall of Fame bloodlines, blue chip prospect credentials, and a strong freshman season, Brandon Shell is poised to become one of the better offensive tackles in the SEC.

Brandon Shell
Redshirt Sophomore Offensive Tackle
6'6", 321 lbs.
Goose Creek, SC

Recruitment:
4 stars, 9th overall offensive tackle in the 2011 class
Other offers: Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Miami

College Career:
After redshirting in 2011, Shell began 2012 as the Gamecocks' starting left tackle (an aggressive assignment and a testament to the coaching staff's confidence in Brandon) but began the transition over to the right side of the line when line coach Shawn Elliott opted to shake things up after a rocky debut in Nashville.

Shell adapted well to the transition, starting 10 out of 13 games as a redshirt freshman en route to a season worthy of SEC All-Freshman honors.

2013 Outlook:
Though Shell could move back to left tackle before his South Carolina career is over, expect to him at right tackle this fall. Shell and junior left tackle Corey Robinson will bookend an offensive line that returns everyone except four-year starter T.J. Johnson.

After Jadeveon Clowney, Shell was the second-highest rated player in the Gamecocks' 2011 recruiting haul, and entering 2013 he's definitely in the discussion for being the second-best player on the team.

A few months ago on Twitter, I asked people which non-Clowney Gamecock currently on the roster would eventually go highest in the NFL Draft, and a lot of smart people (including Gamecock Central's Chris Clark and The Big Spur's Wes Mitchell) singled out Shell. So that's the kind of talent we're dealing with here.

There was a lot of justified excitement when South Carolina signed Shell because it was the first time in recent memory that the Gamecocks had been able to sign a bona fide blue chip tackle prospect with First Team All-SEC upside. After a strong debut, a big sophomore season is very realistic and could represent another positive step toward actualizing that potential.

Trivia:
Brandon's great uncle is NFL Hall-of-Famer Art Shell. One time on the podcast The Feathered Warrior omitted the "great" part, causing someone to declare his hatred for us on our Facebook page. #NeverForget

Social media scouting report:
Shell is what someone like you or I would consider a below-average tweeter. However, it's important to keep in mind that the goal of the average student-athlete on Twitter is not to inform and entertain but rather to communicate with his friends, let us know if he's feeling a nap coming on, and vent about parking tickets. That's pretty much what you're getting with Shell.

Possible Todd Ellis play-by-play call:
"Brandon's Shell must be made out of reinforced steel because not a single Georgia Bulldog defender has broken through the right side of the line tonight here in Athens. BOOM! .... BOOM! ... BOOM! ... ELLISBOT REQUIRES MAINTENANCE."

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