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South Carolina football 2014 preview: Drew Owens

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Can the Gamecocks tight end earn consistent playing time in 2014?

Drew Owens
RS Junior
6'6'' / 244 lbs
Charlotte, N.C.

Recruitment:
3 stars, 28th overall tightd end in 2011 class
Other offers: North Carolina, Arkansas, Clemson, N.C. State, Virginia Tech

College Career:
Although he's impressed the coaches with his potential, Owens has yet to make an impact on the field. After redshirting in 2011, he made strides in spring 2012 only to injure his knee in the Garnet and Black Game and consequently miss the 2012 season. In 2013, he made his way onto the field after recovering from the injury, but after starting in place of injured Rory Anderson and Jerrell Adams against North Carolina and notching Carolina's first reception of the season, he lost playing time after Anderson and Adams returned to the lineup.

2014 Outlook:
Owens is a talented player, but he's been buried on the depth chart behind Anderson (a senior) and Adams (a junior). However, Anderson's uncertain return from a spring triceps injury could finally open the door for Owens to get onto the field. Even with Adams as the starter while Anderson is out, Owens could get some time spelling the starter as well as part of Carolina's two-end sets. Owens is a particularly viable option in the two-end sets, as he may be the best blocker of the three players. Carolina also played Mason Zandi in this role last year, but Owens would be the more versatile receiver of the two.

Trivia:
Believe it or not, Owens was rated a slightly more promising tight end than Anderson in the 2011 class according to 247 Sports's consensus rankings. Owens was rated the 35th-best in the nation, Anderson 36th.

Beat writer's terrible double-meaning lede:
"Move over, T.O. After his six-catch, 100+-yard performance against Texas A&M, complete with an amazing one-hand grab over the middle, there's a new Owens lighting up Sports Centers' top ten with highlight reel catches: South Carolina's Drew Owens, who's finally getting some playing time these days."