SEC Media Days are here! And so is our first look at the 2014 preseason depth chart. Mind you, this still does not account for 2014 signees, which is good news for South Carolina's two-deep at cornerback.
So everybody gather 'round the hearth and let's read far too much into a document that every coach probably resents having to fill out in the first place.
Quick, somebody change the rules so that cornerbacks are not allowed
Hoo boy. This is all getting a bit too real. South Carolina has named a former walk-on as its starting cornerback. Sure, Steve Spurrier issued Sidney Rhodes all of the plaudits he normally doles out to the overachieving, scrappy types, but make no mistake about what Sidney Rhodes is. He has come into this position thanks to attrition and poor roster management at the cornerback position, not because he's a sunken treasure brought to the surface by the Head Ball Coach.
|CB1||Sidney Rhodes||5'10, 182||Senior|
|CB2||Jamari Smith||5'10, 197||Sophomore|
The story is less about Rhodes earning this nominal honor than it's about Jamari Smith and Ali Groves not having done enough to win the position in spring practice. This reality is made more discouraging by the fact that four-star cornerback signees Wesley Green and Chris Lammons have yet to earn the test scores needed to make them academically eligible to play for the Gamecocks this fall.
|CB1||Rico McWilliams||5'11, 184||Sophomore|
|CB2||Ali Groves||5'10, 187||Freshman|
The surprise that we didn't see but could have was Brison Williams moving from strong safety to cornerback. The 5'11, 208-pound senior worked out at corner a great deal during spring practice and held his own by all accounts. And if there's a position in the secondary from which a body could be spared, it's one of the two safety positions. Williams, Kadetrix Marcus, Chris Moody, and T.J. Gurley have each logged meaningful snaps in the South Carolina secondary and would be well-suited to step up should one of their teammates be moved to cornerback.
As it stands, though, South Carolina will be fielding just one career start at cornerback -- thanks, Rico McWilliams! -- when the Gamecocks take the field on August 28.
Mitch rising, Nosovitch falling
Connor Mitch moving up to the backup quarterback spot isn't surprising. The big shocker here -- and a move that may foretell an impending transfer -- is Brendan Nosovitch falling all the way to QB4, one spot behind walk-on Perry Orth. Behind two quarterbacks who are as young our younger than you is not a good place to be, even when both are on scholarship.
With Tanner McEvoy transferring to Wisconsin before the 2012 season and Lorenzo Nunez's NLI not yet signed, the Gamecocks will have no dual-threat quarterbacks on their roster should Nosovitch elect to transfer. One of the recurring questions this offseason has been how Spurrier will adapt to not having a mobile quarterback for the first time since 2008.
Matulis' emergence at RG good for short and long term
Last summer it appeared as though Mike Matulis might be done with football. After undergoing surgeries to both shoulders, the game appeared to be taking too much of a toll on his body. One year later, he he's moved inside from tackle to guard and has claimed a starting spot heading into fall camp.
All of this is great news for Matulis and the Gamecocks. His emergence at guard fills an immediate need. Ronald Patrick was the lone offensive linemen to graduate following the 2013 season. Matulis represents an experienced replacement. Matulis' emergence at guard also allows South Carolina to keep Na'Ty Rodgers at tackle, where he'll likely be needed following the departure of Corey Robinson and Brandon Shell being a decent bet to forego his final year of eligibility and enter the 2015 NFL Draft.
Defensive line looking beefier
There's good news for people who enjoy confused broadcasters. It looks like defensive like coach Deke Adams intends to start both Gerald Dixons on Aug. 28 against Texas A&M. It also means that the Gamecocks' defensive front could be about 10 pounds heavier than it was when Phillip Dukes was slated to start alongside J.T. Surratt.
At a mean of 6'3, 306 pounds, Abu Lamin and Kelsey Griffin are as massive as ever. Even the defensive ends are sounding less rail-thin than some feared. Gerald Dixon is up to 274 pounds and Darius English is at an OK-fine-I-guess-we'll-take-it 241.
New position for Turner
The unimportance of the position and the player's generic name caused me to overlook this change at first, but Gerald Turner has been moved to fullback. Turner signed with South Carolina as a three-star defensive end in 2013. As far as I know no one on the coaching staff has commented upon the move. Whatever the reasons, given how shallow the Gamecocks' defensive end depth chart is, they must have been compelling.
Check out the full depth chart below, and let us know of any moves that we might have missed.
|WR||4||Shaq Roland||6'1||176||JR-2L||Lexington, S.C.|
|OR||1||Damiere Byrd||5'9||170||SR-3L||Sicklerville, N.J.|
|8||Shamier Jeffery||6'1||198||JR-1L||St. Matthews, S.C.|
|WR||11||Pharoh Cooper||5'11||201||SO-1L||Havelock, N.C.|
|OR||1||Damiere Byrd||5'9||170||SR-3L||Sicklerville, N.J.|
|80||K.J. Brent||6'4||192||JR-2L||Waxhaw, N.C.|
|WR||3||Nick Jones||5'7||168||SR-3L||Moore, S.C.|
|83||Carlton Heard||6'0||188||JR-SQ||Athens, Ga.|
|85||Kane Whitehurst||5'11||169||JR-1L||Duluth, Ga.|
|LT||53||Corey Robinson||6'8||344||SR-2L||Havelock, N.C.|
|74||Mason Zandi||6'9||301||SO-1L||Irmo, S.C.|
|LG||50||A.J. Cann||6'4||311||SR-3L||Bamberg, S.C.|
|65||Brock Stadnik||6'5||287||SO-IL||Greensboro, N.C.|
|C||51||Cody Waldrop||6'2||309||SO-1L||Seffner, Fla.|
|OR||54||Clayton Stadnik||6'3||273||SO-1L||Greensboro, N.C.|
|70||Alan Knott||6'4||280||FR-RS||Tyrone, Ga.|
|RG||76||Mike Matulis||6'5||307||JR-2L||Boynton Beach, Fla.|
|75||Will Sport||6'5||291||JR-2L||Milton, Fla.|
|69||D.J. Park||6'4||328||FR-RS||Dillon, S.C.|
|RT||71||Brandon Shell||6'6||333||JR-2L||Goose Creek, S.C.|
|55||Na'Ty Rodgers||6'5||280||FR-RS||Waldorf, Md.|
|OR||78||Cody Gibson||6'7||278||SR-3L||Tallahassee, Fla.|
|TE||81||Rory Anderson||6'5||227||SR-3L||Powder Springs, Ga.|
|89||Jerell Adams||6'6||242||JR-2L||Pinewood, S.C.|
|88||Drew Owens||6'6||238||JR-1L||Charlotte, N.C.|
|QB||17||Dylan Thompson||6'3||218||SR-3L||Boiling Springs, S.C.|
|6||Connor Mitch||6'3||211||FR-RS||Raleigh, N.C.|
|10||Perry Orth||6'1||204||SO-SQ||Ponte Vedra, Fla.|
|5||Brendan Nosovitch||6'1||221||SO-SQ||Allentown, Pa.|
|FB||41||Connor McLaurin||6'0||243||SR-2L||Raleigh, N.C.|
|31||Jordan Diaz||6'1||236||SR-1L||Hamilton, N.J.|
|44||Gerald Turner||6'2||250||FR-RS||Goose Creek, S.C.|
|TB||28||Mike Davis||5'9||223||JR-2L||Atlanta, Ga.|
|22||Brandon Wilds||6'2||222||JR-2L||Blythewood, S.C.|
|7||Shon Carson||5'8||201||JR-1L||Scranton, S.C.|
|33||David Williams||6'1||214||FR-RS||Philadelphia, Pa.|
|DE||44||Gerald Dixon||6'2||274||SO-1L||Rock Hill, S.C.|
|34||Mason Harris||6'3||235||JR-2L||Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.|
|51||Devin Washington||6'3||221||FR-RS||Orlanda, Fla.|
|DT||97||J.T. Surratt||6'2||310||SO-1L||Winston-Salem, N.C.|
|52||Phillip Dukes||6'3||323||JR-2L||Manning, S.C.|
|93||Deon Green||6'4||289||FR-RS||Windemere, Fla.|
|DT||92||Gerald Dixon, Jr.||6'3||323||JR-2L||Rock Hill, S.C.|
|99||Abu Lamin||6'4||302||SO-TR||Fayetteville, N.C.|
|94||Kelsey Griffin||6'2||310||SO-1L||Buford, Ga.|
|DE||5||Darius English||6'6||241||SO-1L||Powder Springs, Ga.|
|55||David Johnson||6'1||275||FR-RS||Lithonia, Ga.|
|18||Cedrick Cooper||6'2||225||JR-2L||Lithonia, Ga.|
|MLB||8||Kaiwan Lewis||6'0||228||JR-2L||Mays Landing, N.J.|
|11||T.J. Holloman||6'2||234||SO-1L||Stone Mountain, Ga.|
|21||Marcquis Roberts||6'1||216||SO-1L||Powder Springs, Ga.|
|WLB||10||Skai Moore||6'2||213||SO-1L||Cooper City, Fla.|
|28||Jonathan Walton||6'0||228||SO-1L||Daphne, Ala.|
|SPR||9||Sharrod Golightly||5'10||187||SR-3L||Decatur, Ga.|
|42||Jordan Diggs||6'0||217||SO-1L||Fort Myers, Fla.|
|32||Larenz Bryant||6'0||220||SO-1L||Charlotte, N.C.|
|CB||30||Sidney Rhodes||5'10||182||SR-2L||Easley, S.C.|
|23||Jamari Smith||5'10||197||SO-1L||Jacksonville, Fla.|
|SS||12||Brison Williams||5'11||208||SR-3L||Warner Robins, Ga.|
|25||Kadetrix Marcus||6'1||194||SR-2L||Stone Mountain, Ga.|
|6||Chris Moody||6'1||210||SO-1L||McDonough, Ga.|
|FS||17||Chaz Elder||6'2||195||SO-1L||Union City, Ga.|
|20||T.J. Gurley||5'10||194||JR-2L||Cairo, Ga.|
|26||Jasper Sasser||6'0||203||FR-RS||Jacksonville, Fla.|
|CB||1||Rico McWilliams||5'11||184||SO-1L||Hampton, Ga.|
|14||Ali Groves||5'10||187||FR-RS||Stone Mountain, Ga.|
|KO||19||Landon Ard||5'9||178||JR-1L||Rock Hill, S.C.|
|29||Elliott Fry||6'0||165||SO-1L||Frisco, Texas|
|PK||29||Elliott Fry||6'0||165||SO-1L||Frisco, Texas|
|19||Landon Ard||5'9||178||JR-1L||Rock Hill, S.C.|
|P||13||Tyler Hull||6'2||207||SR-2L||Mount Airy, N.C.|
|18||Patrick Fish||6'0||194||SR-1L||Shelby, N.C.|
|KR||11||Pharoh Cooper||5'11||201||SO-1L||Havelock, N.C.|
|PR||11||Pharoh Cooper||5'11||201||SO-1L||Havelock, N.C.|
|SSN||58||Ryland Culbertson||6'4||267||SR-1L||Laurens, S.C.|
|LSN||47||Drew Williams||6'2||201||SO-1L||Irmo, S.C.|
|H||18||Patrick Fish||6'0||194||SR-1L||Shelby, N.C.|
|13||Tyler Hull||6'2||207||SR-2L||Mount Airy, N.C.|