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South Carolina Gamecocks football 2014 roster preview: No. 1, Damiere Byrd

Speedy wide receiver looks to break out in final season.

Damiere Byrd
senior wide receiver
5'9'' / 170 lbs
Sicklerville, N.J.

Damiere Byrd was a consensus four-star recruit and the nation's 25th wide receiver in 2011. He selected Carolina over other offers including Iowa, Florida, and Ole Miss. He's probably the most successful player to come out of Carolina's northeast pipeline of recent years.

College career:
Byrd sat out his first few games of his 2011 freshman season due to an eligibility issue. He played in the final nine games of the year, starting against Auburn and Arkansas. Although he only caught one pass on the year, he was used frequently on jet sweeps and had a handful of good rushes.

In 2012, Byrd made several big plays as Carolina's favored deep threat. His 94-yard reception against UAB was the fourth-longest in school history, and he also had long catches against ECU, Georgia, and Michigan. He averaged over 26 yards per catch on the year, doing most of his damage deep.

Byrd showed signs of becoming a more complete receiver in 2013. Starting ten games, he improved his reception total to 33 and finishing second on the team with 575 receiving yards. He notched a career-high 121 yards against Tennessee.

2014 outlook:
With Bruce Ellington gone and gunslinger Dylan Thompson under center, it's reasonable to expect that Byrd's senior season will be his best. Along with Shaq Roland, Byrd will likely be a featured receiver in the offense, and he's shown good chemistry with Dylan in the past, for instance serving as Dylan's favorite target in last year's win over UCF. He's currently listed as Roland's backup on the depth chart, but don't let that fool you; he knows how to play each of the three receiver positions and will be on the field early and often every game.

Byrd, well-known for being the fastest player on the team, also stars for Carolina's track team.