2014 South Carolina football preview: Rory "Busta" Anderson

Can Busta recover from triceps injury and have a big senior season?

Rory Anderson
Senior tight end
6'5'' / 230 lbs
Powder Spring, GA

Recruitment:
3 stars, 29th overall tight end in 2011 class

Other major offers:
Cincinnati, Illinois, Louisville, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Mississippi St., N.C. State, Purdue, South Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, Vanderbilt

College Career:
Busta has had a very productive career as a Gamecock, although arguably he hasn't lived up to the potential shown during his freshman and sophomore seasons.

As a freshman in 2011, Busta played in all 13 games, logging two starts but mostly spelling starter Justice Cunningham. He came to Gamecocks fans' attention when he earned a start against Kentucky and responded with a 45-yard catch-and-run on a drag route. A few weeks later, he'd make an even bigger play when he caught a touchdown pass to give Carolina the lead against Tennessee. He ended the regular season with a great performance against Clemson that included a 55-yard catch-and-run.

In 2012, Busta continued to see plenty of playing time while backing up Cunningham. He continued to shine in this role, catching 14 passes for 271 yards. Highlights included an early TD reception against Georgia and a 50+-yard performance against Tennessee.

With Cunningham graduated, Busta finally cornered the starting spot in 2013. However, his numbers didn't improve, as he caught 17 passes for 235 yards. Most surprisingly, after being a popular red-zone target in his first two years, he didn't score a touchdown in 2013. His best game came against Florida, when he caught for 60+ yards, including a big catch late in the game to set up the go-ahead field goal.

Busta's lack of improvement owed in part to Jerrell Adams's increased role in the offense, but another factor was that Busta didn't make much progress in his route-running. He has improved as a blocker as he's put on muscle over the course of his career.

2014 Outlook:
Busta injured his triceps during spring camp, and the coaching staff has not released a definitive timeline on his return to action this fall. However, Steve Spurrier has expressed optimism that Busta will indeed play.

If he does, he'll have a chance to end his college career on a positive note. Whereas Connor Shaw was often tentative about throwing the ball into coverage over the middle where tight ends generally do a lot of their work, Dylan Thompson is unlikely to have any such qualms.

If Busta can come through with lots of big catches from his new quarterback, he could earn himself some money. CBS Sports currently ranks him among the 10 best NFL prospects at tight end among this year's senior class, and there's there's certainly a chance to move up with good play when you look at some of the players ranked ahead of him.

If Busta has to miss significant time this fall, a redshirt may be a possibility if Busta wants to come back for a fifth year. Busta is a true senior and thus has a redshirt year available.

Trivia:
Never forget:


Beat writer's terrible double-meaning lede:
"To Gamecocks fans, 'Busta' is more than first half of the 'Break Ya Neck' rapper's stagename or how Ed Orgeron would describe Dolly Parton, it's South Carolina's senior tight end."

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