2014 South Carolina football preview: K.J. Brent

RS junior receiver continues trying to break into the rotation.

K.J. Brent
Redshirt junior wide receiver
6'4'' / 190 lbs
Waxhaw, N.C.

Recruiting ranking:
3 stars, 72nd overall wide receiver in the 2011 class

Other offers:
Arkansas, Duke, East Carolina, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, N.C. State, West Virginia, Wisconsin

College Career:
So far, the story of Brent's career has been that he's turned heads in practice but hasn't quite been able to get meaningful snaps as a receiver. He's been stuck in a no-man's land between players such as Jody Fuller who have transferred down due to having little prospect of getting playing time at Carolina and the players who have worked their way into the regular rotation.

Brent impressed out of the gates as a true freshman during fall camp in 2011, but he ended up redshirting that year.

With Alshon Jeffery gone and most of the Gamecocks' key receivers of short stature in 2012, it was thought Brent might be able to help the offense as a jump ball target. However, while he played in every game as part of the return units, he never broke through as a contributor at receiver, playing only in garbage time as true freshman Shaq Roland got onto the field instead of Brent.

Despite another round of good spring and fall camps, 2013 was more of the same for Brent. A nine-yard reception in the first quarter in the opener against UNC seemed to promise more action for Brent, but he quickly found himself buried on the depth chart as Pharoh Cooper worked his way up over the course of the season.

2014 Outlook:
Unfortunately for Brent, 2014 might be a familiar story. He's currently listed behind Cooper as the backup slot receiver. He's capable of contributing at the other wideout positions, but with Roland, Cooper, Damiere Byrd, and Nick Jones likely to receive the lion's share of snaps, talented incoming freshmen Shaq Davidson and Terry Googer looking to contribute, and Shamier Jeffery in the same boat as Brent, it's going to either take a major step up in performance by Brent or injury to some of the guys ahead of him Brent to get his chance. It's gotta be comforting to the coaches to know they have a guy with this much talent available as plan B, but it must be little consolation to Brent to be so close but not quite there.

Trivia:
Brent was the first verbal commitment of Carolina's 2011 class.

Beat writer's terrible double-meaning lede:
"J.K. Rowling is the author of the famous Harry Potter series. While he's got the first-name initials backwards, K.J. Brent showed he's got the wizard thing down pat with his amazing one-handed reception last night."
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