South Carolina’s wide receiver corps has a little bit more of a known quantity than it did last year. Along with returnees Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards, there’s also Terry Googer, Dreak Davis (a redshirt from last year) and Chavis Dawkins, along with several promising freshman like Shi Smith, OrTre Smith and Chad Terrell.
WR coach Bryan McClendon spoke about the faces he has at the position after today’s practice session. One thing he mentioned is that he is preparing all of his freshmen to see playing time this upcoming season.
We want to get guys ready to play...We want to get guys in there competing and having guys fighting for playing time and fighting for starting jobs.
Of course, it’s possible not all three of the true freshmen on scholarship will play the entire season, as McClendon commented that he and the staff will decide on who will be redshirted toward the tail end of camp.
OrTre Smith was one player in particular that was singled out as having a shot at keeping that redshirt off his back. The top in-state recruit in the 2017 class (according to 247Sports) has already been making an impact during camp. One thing that McClendon is trying to do is ensure Smith’s weight doesn’t increase to the point where the freshman isn’t able to perform at a high level.
The biggest thing is just making sure we’re doing a great job of nutrition and making sure that 220, 225 pounds doesn’t turn into 240...What we can help, we want to do that. So now we can keep our mobility and be able to move and get in and out of breaks.
Smith’s size is certainly something the staff wants to use as an advantage during his career at South Carolina.
“He’s using his body very well,” junior wide receiver Terry Googer said. “He’s throwing people around and making plays and tough catches.”...
“The one thing I’ve been real impressed with him is just knowing what to do,” McClendon said. “I think him being here for so long, it has helped him. That’s the biggest thing that slows guys down is just knowing what to do. Once we do that, we can figure out exactly what to do.”
OrTre’s height looks to be used as a big advantage as he’s listed at 6’4”, the same as Googer and an inch shorter than projected starter Edwards. If he can adjust himself to the college level using that frame he’s been given, he should be a key part of Jake Bentley’s arsenal this year and beyond. While Shi Smith and Chad Terrell haven’t gotten as much mention, it sounds like they are coming along well in the process and still have those freshman kinks to work out, just like everyone does.
From a numerical standpoint, McClendon mentioned that he wanted about six or seven wide receivers to play. Samuel, Edwards and Googer are three, Davis makes four, and Chavis Dawkins makes five. One or two of the freshman duo (my bets are on OrTre Smith for sure and maybe Shi Smith) would get the team at that WR baseline. That doesn’t count pass-catching tight ends K.C. Crosby and Hayden Hurst, meaning that Bentley should have plenty of targets to choose from.