This offseason we will be breaking down the positions on the roster following the chaotic roster turnover after the 2022 season. Today, we will take a look at the quarterback room as it stands today going into the 2023 spring. *Rosters are subject to change at any point*
Spencer Rattler: The Gamecocks got a huge boost to the 2023 roster when the most notable player on the 2022 squad opted to return to South Carolina instead of entering the NFL Draft. The Oklahoma transfer and former 5 star recruit had an inconsistent 2022 for the Gamecocks but ended his season on an extremely high note. Rattler went 84-122 for 1,044 yards with 10 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in South Carolina’s last three games against Tennessee, Clemson, and Notre Dame. Rattler will be the uncontested starter for the Gamecocks to begin the 2023 season and seeing him work with new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains will be an interesting storyline in the spring. Rattler has high hopes of improving his draft stock and expectations will be high from everyone for Rattler going into 2023.
Luke Doty: The Myrtle Beach High School product is entering his fourth year in Columbia. Doty came to South Carolina in 2020 and his career to this point has been a roller coaster, much of which has been out of his control. Doty committed to South Carolina when Bryan McClendon was the offensive coordinator in 2019. McClendon moved on at the end of the 2019 season and Mike Bobo was brought in to be the offensive coordinator for the 2020 season. Two months into his first offseason in Columbia, Covid-19 struck. The 2020 South Carolina season was a complete disaster for many reasons. Doty played some at receiver as well as at quarterback before being given the reins to the offense as a true freshman in the middle of a pandemic with a decimated roster and a head coach that had just been fired. Doty showed flashes of brilliance but also showed signs of growth needed as any true freshman quarterback in the SEC would. Doty would go 0-2 as a starter at the end of 2020, but it was a foregone conclusion that he would be the starting quarterback going into the 2021 season in Shane Beamer’s inaugural season. Once again, bad luck struck Doty when he suffered a foot injury in fall camp. Doty would miss the first two games before coming off the bench against Georgia in week 3. Doty would start the next 4 games before reinjuring his foot that would cause him to miss the rest of the 2021 season. In 2022, Doty appeared in 5 games but was able to preserve his redshirt. If you look at the stats, Doty is 2-4 as a starter while completing 60.4% of his passes for 1,380 yards with 7 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Obviously, that doesn’t stand out very much. However, Doty is finally healthy. This is a guy that had to go through Covid-19 as a true freshman, a season ending foot injury in 2021, and now his 4th different offensive coordinator that he knows at South Carolina. To me, Doty is the wildcard for the Gamecocks once Spencer Rattler leaves. He has been through a lot of adversity at Carolina but has been loyal to the program all along. I think that he benefited the most from being able to redshirt, heal up, and learn behind Spencer Rattler in 2022. I expect him to be the backup behind Rattler once again heading into the 2023 season and if he were needed to be pressed into action, a healthy Luke Doty would mean the Gamecocks are still in good hands.
Dakereon Joyner: Joyner came to Carolina in 2018 as a highly decorated quarterback prospect from Fort Dorchester High School. Joyner has found his role at South Carolina by doing whatever is needed to help this football team win games. He has played receiver, which is what he is listed as on the roster, while also playing a “wildcat” quarterback for the Gamecocks when needed. I am hesitant to even call Joyner a “wildcat” quarterback. That feels incredibly disrespectful to Joyner because it implies that all he is capable of doing is running a small package of plays to utilize his mobility. Make no mistake about it, Joyner is a quarterback, and a very good one. If you doubt that, go watch the last two bowl games that the Gamecocks have played in. Joyner has played a significant role in this offense over the last two seasons, whether it be as a receiver or as a quarterback. Teams have to respect him as a threat to throw and run when he lines up at quarterback. Joyner recently announced that he will be returning to Columbia for his 6th and final season. He will also make an appearance in the write-up on the wide receiver position, but it would be malpractice to not factor him in as a quarterback on this roster as well. He will continue to get snaps at quarterback for the Gamecocks in 2023.
Tanner Bailey: Tanner Bailey was a bit of a surprise commitment in December of 2021 out of Gordo High School in Alabama. I know that the Gamecock coaching staff is absolutely in love with Bailey’s arm and are extremely high on his ability. Bailey redshirted in 2022, and had Rattler moved on following the 2022 season, it would not have shocked me at all to see Bailey as the starting quarterback against North Carolina in the 2023 season opener. I do not know what Bailey’s role will be in 2023. With Rattler, Doty, and Joyner all returning for the 2023 season, it may benefit Bailey to learn Dowell Loggains’ offense for the 2023 season and not have to play much in his redshirt freshman season. Bailey does not project to play much in 2023, but beyond the 2023 season, all bets are off. Bailey could play a big role in the battle for the starting quarterback battle following the 2023 season given his upside.
Colten Gauthier: Gauthier signed with Carolina in December of 2020, and to this point in his career has appeared in only one game while only throwing one pass. On the surface, Gauthier appears like someone that is buried on the depth chart. However, there is a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in Columbia. It sounds cliche, but all things are equal. Dowell Loggains has only seen Spencer Rattler play in person when it comes to Carolina quarterbacks. Gauthier is entering his spring practice in Columbia, and that gives him a head start on many of the guys that he is competing with. Luke Doty is the only full-time quarterback that has been in the program longer. The spring will be big for Gauthier to attempt to move up the depth chart.
Braden Davis: Davis came to Carolina from the Delaware High School ranks in December of 2021. Davis has yet to appear in a regular season game at Carolina, but he appeared in the 2022 spring game and arguably gave the best performance of any quarterback that night. Obviously spring games do not matter much in the grand scheme of things, but Davis showed that he has the tools to play in the SEC. Much like Bailey and Gauthier, this is a huge spring coming up for Davis to impress new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. Davis has a height advantage over the entire quarterback room. Davis is 6-5 and may be the most athletic quarterback in the entire room, which is saying something given the amount of talent in that room. Davis also runs a 4.63 40. Davis is a guy that will benefit greatly from a redshirt season and an offseason in the weight room. Given his physical tools and athleticism, he is a guy that could open some eyes and surprise some people this spring.
LaNorris Sellers: I wrote in the Recruiting Roundup piece recently that I believed that Sellers is the best quarterback prospect to come out of the South Carolina high school ranks in a long time. Listen to his senior season stats. Sellers had 62 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Let me repeat that. Sixty. Two. Touchdowns. Turn his senior season film on and it is extremely impressive. The South Florence state champion quarterback is already on campus and working out with the team. Sellers probably projects to redshirt in 2023, but 2024 and beyond is when I believe Sellers will begin to play a major role in this Gamecock offense and become a household name among Gamecock fans.
Overall Position Overview: This position group is flat out loaded. I wish every position on this roster had this much talent and depth. You have Spencer Rattler, who may be the most talented quarterback in the entire SEC, returning for the 2023 season. Then you have Luke Doty, who could start for many SEC teams right now, entering his 4th year in the program. Following them is Dakereon Joyner, who all he does when he gets in at quarterback is make big plays. Then there is a slew of young, ultra-talented quarterbacks that are just going to have to wait their turn right now. In my opinion, this is the best position group on the team and it is not really close. Unfortunately there is only one quarterback that will be on the field at a time. Spencer Rattler is going to be that guy in 2023 without any argument. In this day of the transfer portal, spring practice is going to be a huge period for many of these guys. Let’s be honest about these guys, we have listed 7 guys above, and many of them are good enough to start somewhere at quarterback in 2023. It would not shock me a bit to see one of these guys transfer out of the program following spring practice once the transfer portal opens back up in May. No matter what happens, Shane Beamer and company have done an outstanding job building talent and depth in the quarterback room. There are many teams that would kill to have what South Carolina has there going into the 2023 season.