The South Carolina Gamecocks released their first official depth chart before their home opener against the Tennessee Volunteers this week, and there aren’t too many surprises — except Wingate transfer receiver Jalen Brooks might be off the books this season.
Wide receiver Jalen Brooks had his waiver denied by the NCAA. South Carolina is appealing the decision. It'll be a blow for the Gamecocks if he can't play this year. Was on track to start.— Josh Kendall (@JoshTheAthletic) September 22, 2020
Why the NCAA won’t let him play in an extremely permissive season regarding eligibility — especially since he’s not even a Power 5 or FBS transfer — is beyond my ability to understand, but NCAA gonna NCAA, I guess.
Anyway, here’s the depth chart, which was released sans Brooks with his status still in the air:
The biggest news — Collin Hill over Ryan Hilinski at quarterback — was revealed last week, but it won’t be shocking to see Hilinski still get plenty of reps to himself this season. With COVID-19 still lurking and this season generally being an odd one, coach Will Muschamp indicated quarterback will be an all-hands-on-deck proposition.
That said, one item to note in the quarterbacks room is that Jay Urich is no longer involved — he’s decided to step away from football because of lingering shoulder issues. Definitely a shame for him, but he’s very involved in social justice matters and shifting his focus to nonprofit work, so it sounds like he’s got plenty to be passionate about outside of football.
Shi Smith, Xavier Legette, and Dakereon Joyner are your starting receivers. Smith, of course, is the veteran of the group, while Legette has consistently gotten praise in training camp and Joyner is making the shift over from quarterback. Should be exciting to see how this group shakes out, especially with another QB/WR jack-of-all-trades in Luke Doty.
At running back, Kevin Harris and Deshaun Fenwick will platoon in the absence of injured blue-chip MarShawn Lloyd — can Kevin Harris keep channeling his epic performance against Charleston Southern? Tight end will be another position group to watch, since after Nick Muse, there are a whole lot of unknowns. The depth at these positions is a little scary, but there’s a ton of room and opportunity for development.
The defensive depth chart is much more settled and less surprising to my eye, as the program finally has across-the-board veteran leadership in the secondary and key returnees along what should be a stalwart defensive line as well, even without Javon Kinlaw. Given the upheaval on offense, the defense will likely again have to be the backbone of the team in 2020.
Not to be forgotten, here are the specialists:
Parker White continues to hold on to the kicking job, which is no surprise, and the kick/punt return units look like a solid committee that should give the Gamecocks some options.
How are y’all feeling about these charts?