With Skai Moore ruled out for the 2016 season with a herniated disk, every Carolina fan let out a simultaneous groan. South Carolina was already slated to finish in the bottom half of the SEC, and now with its defensive cornerstone done for the year, success would be hard to attain. However, Skai Moore is one player on a defense stocked with undeveloped talent, and there will be a player to step in and take his place. Now don't get me wrong, there is no replacement for a player of Moore's caliber, but with a committee approach, Coach Muschamp can likely replace the production at the very least.
Bryant has a great deal of untapped potential and is a phenomenal athlete, but is the victim of the lack of player development during his first three years on campus. Although he is a senior, he has only one start to his name and has played primarily on special teams. That being said, he does have some experience at the hybrid LB/S position (formerly known as the Spur) that Moore was expected to play this season. That experience will come in handy along with his solid athleticism, clocking a 4.55 40 yard dash time. His time with special teams will help develop sure tackling mechanics, as well as the skill to bring down ball-carriers in space. With Moore injured, look for Bryant to step in and make a huge impact this fall.
Holloman, who was slated to be one of the team's starters at LB already, has been a regular starter for Carolina over the past two seasons. He was already slated to be one of the starting three linebackers this year, and now has a chance to become a star on defense. He's been consistent, seeing time in 36 games and making 10 starts in his three-year career. He also can force turnovers, with five interceptions and three fumble recoveries on his resume. He has ideal size to play the middle linebacker position, measuring 6'2" and weighing in at 240 pounds.
The junior is an exceptional athlete with the chance to really make a name for himself this year. Penciled in as the starting strong-side 'backer, Allen-Williams should be a dependable run-stopper while he develops his abilities in pass coverage. Could this be a breakout year for Allen-Williams as he looks to earn a key role in the rotation?
A player with the versatility to play all three linebacker positions, Walton certainly has some experience, amassing 12 career starts and over 100 tackles in his career. He was a three-star player coming out of high school but has the natural talent to make some noise in his senior season. He also has seen time at running back during his time on campus, proving himself as a well-rounded athlete. He will be a key run-stopper and has the experience to be a three-down player. He projects to be an impactful player, and could very well beat out one of the players above for a starting spot in the lineup.
Despite Moore's injury, it is just one player out of 11, and the players above will be counted on to step in and maintain the production. Although none of them are the special talent that Moore is, I believe that with Larenz Bryant, TJ Holloman, and Jonathan Walton in the starting lineup with BAW playing a key rotational role, this linebacker unit will still be a strength this season. Coach Will Muschamp is known for his ability to field a capable defense, and he certainly has the right pieces at the second level.