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Your guide to South Carolina spring football

An increased talent level brings higher expectations.

NCAA Football: Duke’s Mayo Bowl-South Carolina at North Carolina Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina is currently 11 players over the scholarship limit. The final spring depth chart will help to determine which players will be returning for the 2022 season and which might be leaving. The coaching staff still has two scholarships to give, if they choose to do so, after the next wave of transfer portal hits. Below are the scholarship players who will be taking part in spring practice.

QUARTERBACK: All eyes will be on Spencer Rattler as he’s the most heralded quarterback to suit up for Carolina. He’ll be backed up by a few quarterbacks that have plenty of potential in their own right in Luke Doty, Colton Gauthier, and early enrollee Braden Davis. Doty is still recovering from surgery, so his reps will be limited if he receives any at all.

Returning: Luke Doty, Colton Gauthier

Additions: Tanner Bailey (Summer), Braden Davis, Spencer Rattler

Departures: Jason Brown, Zeb Noland

RUNNING BACK: Carolina running backs may not enter 2022 with as much fanfare as 2021, but there is good reason to believe this group will be more productive. MarShawn Lloyd flashed at times last year, but it was clear he wasn’t fully confident and recovered from his surgery. Juju McDowell displayed his ability to produce big plays. Rashad Amos is a big bruising back that should be ready to contribute. Transfer Lovasea Carroll is an explosive back that will be difficult to keep of the field and Christian Beal-Smith brings with him experience and production that Carolina will look to lean on early.

Returning: Rashad Amos, MarShawn Lloyd, Juju McDowell

Additions: Christian Beal-Smith, Lovasea Carroll

Departures: Kevin Harris, ZaQuandre White

WIDE RECEIVER: This group will most likely be the most improved on the roster. Josh Vann’s return is a huge coup for Carolina. He’ll slid right back into his role as the top target. If transfer Antwane Wells can produce at a high level, he’ll provide relief for Vann and help open up the passing game. Dakreon Joyner, Xavier Leggette, and Ahmarean Brown will look to take the next step in their development. Rico Powers and Sam Reynolds possess explosive ability, albeit limited experience. O’Mega Blake is a young player with some athletic ability, while Trey Adkins is a former walk-on. Questions remain around Jalen Brooks return and if EJ Jenkins will stay at WR or if he’ll bulk up and be moved back to TE. Chad Terrell rounds out the scholarship players.

Returning: Trey Adkins, O’Mega Blake, Jalen Brooks, Ahmarean Brown, EJ Jenkins, Dakereon Joyner, Xavier Leggette, Rico Powers, Sam Reynolds, Chad Terrell, Josh Vann

Additions: Kylic Horton (Summer), Landon Samson (Summer), Antwane Wells

Departures: Ger-Cari Caldwell, OrTre Smith

TIGHT END: Nick Muse leaves behind some big shoes to fill as he developed into a “do it all” tight end. Jaheim Bell is oozing with talent and if he improves his blocking, could eventually develop into a 1st or 2nd round NFL talent. Traevon Kenion was a nice surprise as an in-line blocking TE and flashed solid hands when the ball was thrown his way. Eric Shaw was moved to WR, but may be moved back to TE if he’s managed to add mass to his frame. Transfer Austin Stogner will look to step into Muse’s vacated position and produce right away.

Returning: Jaheim Bell, Traevon Kenion, Eric Shaw

Additions: Zavier Short (Summer), Austin Stogner

Departures: Keveon Mullins, Nick Muse

OFFENSIVE LINE: The OL received heavy criticism during portions of 2021. Unfortunately offensive line is never a quick fix. However, there is some talent on the roster and with another offseason with the Strength and Conditioning program, as well as with their position coach, there should be a leap in productivity in 2022. The entire starting OL returns in Jaylen Nichols, Vershon Lee, Eric Douglas, Jovaughn Gwyn, and Tyshawn Wannamaker. Expect some of the younger players to push for more playing time as they’ve had time to develop and get acclimated with SEC football. The incoming freshmen won’t arrive until after spring concludes.

Returning: Wyatt Campbell, Jordan Davis, Eric Douglas, Mark Fox, Jovaughn Gwyn, Trai Jones, Vershon Lee, Hank Manos, Jakari Moore, JonDarius Morgan, Jaylen Nichols, Jazston Turnetine, Tyshawn Wannamaker, Dylan Wonnum

Additions: Ryan Brubaker (Summer), Cason Henry (Summer), Grayson Mains (Summer)

Departures: Vincent Murphy

DEFENSIVE TACKLE: DT was inconsistent in 2021. At times there were flashes of dominance and at other times it was difficult to watch. Jabari Ellis is currently the only departure. Zacch Pickens returns and will look to propel himself into a high NFL draft pick by end of year. Alex Huntley and MJ Webb collected all of the back up minutes by the end of 2021. Tonka Hemingway has plenty of potential and will look to factor into the rotation. DeVontae Davis, TJ Sanders, Nick Barrett, and Rick Sandidge bring size and strength. Keem Green and Will Rogers round out the depth chart. Freshmen signees Felix Hixon, Jamaal Whyce, and D’Andre Martin are all early enrollees. In most years, they would see some playing time, but with the current veteran depth, it’ll likely take a slew of injuries and/or transfers for the freshmen to see the field in 2022.

Returning: Nick Barrett, DeVontae Davis, Keem Green, Tonka Hemingway, Alex Huntley, Zacch Pickens, Will Rogers, TJ Sanders, Rick Sandidge, MJ Webb

Additions: Felix Hixon, Jamaal Whyce, D’Andre Martin

Departures: Jabari Ellis

EDGE: Notable departure Kingsley Enagbare will likely be drafted in the first three rounds of the NFL draft. Aaron Sterling also vacates his starting position. In steps Jordan Burch, who has the potential to be as good as he wants to be and Jordan Strachan who may have a breakout year. Due to the ability those two players bring, there will likely be very little, if any, drop off - and potentially a step up - in production. They are backed up by Gilber Edmond, Hot Rod Fitten, and Tyreek Johnson. Edmond and Johnson struggled against the run in their limited time, but its easy to see the pass rush potential they bring. Bam Martin-Scott is being shifted to DE in an attempt to take advantage of his explosive ability as a pass rusher. Transfer Terrell Dawkins should solidify minutes in a backup role. Donovan Westmoreland is an early enrollee with plenty of talent, but will need to bulk up.

Returning: Jordan Burch, Gilber Edmond, Hod Rod Fitten, Tyreek Johnson, Bam Martin-Scott, Jordan Strachan

Additions: Terrell Dawkins, Donovan Westmoreland, Bryan Thomas (Summer)

Departures: Kingsley Enagbare, Aaron Sterling

LINEBACKER: Sherrod Greene returns after missing most of the 2021 season, but will be coming off of surgery, so his timeline will be questionable. Brad Johnson returns at the “WILL” spot and looks to take advantage of an extra year. Mo Kaba and Debo Williams showed flashes of what they could become and will be expected to take the next step in their development. Darryle Ware a former walk-on who earned a scholarship will provide depth.

Returning: Sherrod Greene, Brad Johnson, Mo Kaba, Darryle Ware, Debo Williams

Additions: Stone Blanton (Summer), Nick Emmanwori (Summer)

Departures: Kolbe Fields, Rosendo Louis, Damani Staley

CORNERBACK: The cornerback position was a question mark heading into the 2021 season and instead finished the year with an exclamation mark. Cam Smith, a future NFL draft pick, came close to shutting down his side of the field every game. Marcellus Dial and Darius Rush developed into SEC caliber players by the end of the year and will look to continue their improvement. Anthony Rose is a talented early enrollee who can play any position in the secondary and will probably get a look at safety as well. LaDareyen Craig, Joey Hunter, Isaiah Norris, and Fortune O’Donnell will attempt to climb the depth chart and earn playing time. A few of the cornerbacks will also have an opportunity to fill the “Nickel” position.

Returning: LaDareyen Craig, Marcellus Dial, Joey Hunter, Isaiah Norris, Fortune O’Donnell, Darius Rush, Cam Smith

Additions: Kajuan Banks (Summer), Emory Floyd (Summer), Keenan Nelson (Summer), Anthony Rose

Departures: Dominick Hill

SAFETY: Jaylan Foster will leave a hole in the secondary, but there isn’t a lack of talent to fill it. RJ Roderick will attempt to hold down one safety position, while Tyrese Ross, transfer Devonni Reed, and early enrollee Peyton Williams will battle it out for the opposite safety position. David Spaulding mostly played “Nickel” in 2021, but could be slid to safety before the 2022 season begins to add depth.

Returning: RJ Roderick, Tyrese Ross, David Spaulding

Additions: Devonni Reed, DeQuandre Smith (Fall), Peyton Williams

Departures: Jahmar Brown, Jaylin Dickerson, Jaylan Foster, Carlos Platel

SPECIAL TEAMS: Parker White leaves a massive hole to be filled. South Carolina is no longer offering scholarships to specialists coming out of high school. Like most SEC schools, they are allowing their specialists to earn scholarships while on campus.

Returning: Matthew Bailey, Mitch Jeter, Kai Kroeger

Additions:

Departures: Parker White