Postseason player decisions keep rolling in, and the war of attrition is taking a bit of a hammer to the South Carolina Gamecocks’ roster.
Just days after tight end Jaheim Bell landed in his new home at Florida State, star running MarShawn Lloyd, arguably South Carolina’s biggest recruiting get at the position since Marcus Lattimore, put his name into the transfer portal as well. While Lloyd’s career in Columbia was hampered by injuries — he tore his ACL before the 2021 campaign, then missed three games this year due to a lingering thigh bruise — he was often an electric runner, averaging 5.16 yards per carry in 2022 while leading the team in rushing (749 yards, 11 TDs) despite his missed time. The Gator Bowl now looks to be a showcase for Juju McDowell and Christian Beal-Smith at tailback, and the two have previously shown ability to carry the load in Lloyd’s absence, thanks to the aforementioned injuries.
In other recent roster developments, defensive end Zacch Pickens has declared for the NFL Draft and won’t be suiting up for the Gator Bowl either. Pickens, also a former blue-chip recruit, logged 131 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and four passes defended in his four-year career with the Gamecocks.
Some good news, though: Wide receiver Ahmarean Brown and cornerback Marcellas Dial will both pass on the NFL for now and return to Columbia for another year. Dial had a standout season, leading the Gamecocks with three interceptions and 11 passes defended, while Brown came down with 19 catches for 166 receiving yards and could be a much bigger piece of the South Carolina offense moving forward.