With the regular season over and bowl matchups set, college football enters its hectic Transfer Portal Szn, in which a slew of players opt to take their talents and remaining eligibility elsewhere, often while also sitting out the postseason and sometimes shocking their current team and fans.
The South Carolina Gamecocks have benefited quite a bit from the transfer portal during coach Shane Beamer’s tenure — look no further than one Spencer Rattler — but the portal works both ways, and USC will continue to lose its share of talent as well.
By far the biggest surprise to this point is tight end/running back/heck-put-him-anywhere star Jaheim Bell announcing his intent to leave Columbia. Bell was honest and candid about the Gamecocks’ offensive woes earlier this season, understandably frustrated about his lack of snaps and the type of snaps he did get. However, Bell did enjoy much higher usage in the final four games of the campaign, filling in ably for injured tailbacks MarShawn Lloyd and Christian Beal-Smith. Despite that — and even though offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield has since departed to Nebraska — Bell may have just felt like he didn’t have a true fit in South Carolina.
The Gamecocks currently have three other players in the transfer portal: Austin Stogner, who came to South Carolina via Oklahoma last year, is on the move again and, with Bell’s decision, leaves the team without its starting tight ends; defensive back R.J. Roderick, a veteran who struggled with injury and ultimately didn’t play after the season opener; and Jordan Davis, a reserve offensive tackle who never made an appearance for South Carolina.
Apart from the portal, NFL Draft decisions are also taking shape, and the Gamecocks so far know of one such decision: Stalwart defensive back Cam Smith, who logged 91 tackles, 24 pass breakups, and six interceptions in his three seasons as a Gamecock, will be going pro. Smith is currently projected as a first- or second-round pick.