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The Feed Pail: Shane Beamer wins co-First Year Coach of the Year award

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It’s an honor given out by a familiar legend.

Duke’s Mayo Bowl - North Carolina v South Carolina Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

South Carolina coach Shane Beamer has his first honor as leader of the Gamecocks, earning the Steve Spurrier First Year Coach of the Year Award from the Football Writers of America Association and sharing the distinction with Tennessee’s Josh Heupel.

Here are the words of former Gamecock legend Spurrier himself, describing how Beamer met the grade:

“Well there are two coaches this year because they are both very deserving. Preseason, their teams were picked next to Vandy at the bottom of the league, 12 and 13, but instead of gloom and doom they took their players and improved every game and both finished 7-6. It’s extremely important for coaches in their first year that they come in with no excuses,” They don’t say give me two or three years, they eliminate excuses, they take the team they got an add to it the best way they can, and they go and compete.”

Congratulations to Beamer, and hopefully this award is the first of many.

Gamecocks pick up a kicker

South Carolina has its first commitment of January in the fold, and it’s an important one. Daniel Lester, a preferred walk-on pledge, will enter a placekicking room that needs answers after all-time scoring leader Parker White exhausted his eligibility. Redshirt sophomore Alex Herrera will return along with Mitch Jeter, who is currently the only kicker on the roster who has seen action as the Gamecocks’ kickoff specialist. This will be a position battle to watch in the coming months.

Deebo Samuel simply cannot be stopped

If you took in the NFL’s wildcard action this weekend, I hope you made it a point to see the former South Carolina star run roughshod over the Dallas Cowboys to help power San Francisco into a date with top NFC seed Green Bay. Deebo has had an absolutely mammoth season — he’s broken multiple franchise records held by Hall of Famer Jerry Rice and set a couple league marks, too — and no one who watched him in Columbia has been remotely surprised. It’s a joy to see him continuing to be an unstoppable Swiss Army knife at the highest level of football.

USC announces spring football schedule

The school released a few key dates to keep in mind as we will the calendar to turn from winter to spring. The Gamecocks report to spring practice on March 15, with the annual Garnet and Black Game being held on Saturday, April 16 (although no time has yet been announced). If you’re into watching NFL hopefuls prep for the league, Pro Timing Day is March 18.

South Carolina makes a couple appearances in “too early” Top 25s

It happens at the end of every season: A team that started the year with rock-bottom expectations ends up grabbing a bowl victory and also captures a share of momentum with pundits and the press. The Gamecocks are squarely in that territory now, with way-too-early Top 25 nods from CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd (checking in at No. 22), and ESPN’s Mark Schlabach (No. 25). Dodd was particularly complimentary and set the bar at eight (!) wins:

Shane Beamer defied expectations winning seven games in Year 1 of his regime. Insert Spencer Rattler from the transfer portal, and the Gamecocks will be a legitimate upset threat in several SEC games. Expect eight wins as the upward trajectory continues.

Historically, this is where South Carolina has tended to fall flat. But in just one year, Beamer has done a pretty good job of dispelling typical #ChickenCurse behaviors. How do y’all feel about the national media taking notice of the Gamecocks again?