South Carolina was one of the teams featured at SEC Media Days today. Steve Spurrier, Jadeveon Clowney, Bruce Ellington, and Connor Shaw each spoke to the media. Plenty of quotes can be found here at the ESPN Media Days blog, while videos can be found here at Youtube. A few quick thoughts on what they said and other news that was released.
--An updated depth chart was released. A few things to note here. First of all, Damiere Byrd or Shaq Roland are listed as the starters at the "X" receiver position, so that will be a key position battle to watch. I think, though, that you'll see both play a lot. Byrd can play all the receiver positions, so you'll probably see lots of sets with him moving somewhere else on the field while Roland works from the "X." Mike Davis or Brandon Wilds were also listed as starters. I continue to think that Davis will win this battle but that both will get plenty of carries, and that Wilds will be the back of choice in short-yardage situations. On defense, the main things to continue watching are in the defensive backfield. Kadetrix Marcus/T.J. Gurley, Sharrod Golighty/Jordan Diggs, and Jimmy Legree/Ahmad Christian are all going to be interesting position battles to watch. J.T. Surratt or Gerald Dixon, Jr. are listed as starters at one of the tackle positions, but I expect Surratt to take that spot.
--Clowney was one of the highlights of the day for Carolina. He comes across as comfortable with the media and very confident. He got a good bit of press for claiming that Tajh Boyd is afraid of him. I'm not sure whether I feel that it's not in our best interest to give Clemson bulletin-board material (over the past couple of years, it's been Clemson doing the talking with us doing the winning), but at the same time, Clowney is a player who has earned a right to express confidence. Indeed, I got the impression that he wants to end his college career with a bang and achieve true greatness. That's the way he should feel. At the same time, Spurrier talked about how Clowney has avoided the limelight this off-season and has worked on getting ready for the season, which is true. A stark contrast to Johnny Manziel.
--As had been reported on the message boards, it was confirmed that Clowney was clocked as running a 4.46 40. While unofficial 40 times should be taken with a grain of salt (they're generally hand-timed instead of laser-timed, and thus have a high margin of error), the fact that Clowney is in that range is pretty amazing, not that we didn't already know that he's freaky athletic.
--Shaw pointed out that he was only healthy last year against Mizzou and Tenn., not coincidentally the two games where he looked sharpest. I think he's in for a big year if he can stay healthy, and he said that he's worked on building muscle this off-season in an effort to get his body ready. He did say that Dylan Thompson will get his chances. Shaw even said that he may play some wide receiver this year. Just think of the trick plays.
--Ellington mentioned Victor Hampton as a potential breakout player this year. I agree strongly with him. Hampton has shown excellent coverage skills so far and just needs to work on being a bit more sure-handed to become one of the league's best corners. Ellington also mentioned Davis, Roland, Nick Jones, and Gurley. Jones is one who has been talked about quite a bit this summer. Look for him to build off his strong end to 2012.