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Gamecock football: Projecting South Carolina's 2015 offensive depth chart

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Practice for the 2014 football season starts today. So let's look ahead to the 2015 offensive depth chart, obviously.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

One of the great things about not being on the football team is that you don't have to do boring things like taking it one game at a time. You don't even have to take it one season at a time. No one can make you. Not even your parents. So let's skip 2014 (even though it will probably be a great season filled with many achievements) and try to figure out which players will be responsible for scoring South Carolina's points.

Quarterbacks

Connor Mitch 6'3 211 SO-RS Raleigh, N.C.
Perry Orth 6'1 204 JR-RS Ponte Vedra, Fla.
Michael Scarnecchia 6'4 189 FR-RS Fleming Island, Fla.
Lorenzo Nunez 6'3 190 FR-HS Kennesaw, Ga.

Dylan Thompson will have exhausted his collegiate eligibility after the 2014 season, making way for Connor Mitch to take over as starting quarterback. Of course, we are now venturing into the dangerous territory of speculating about players who have not played a down -- except walk-on Perry Orth, who completed one pass for a gain of five yards against Coastal Carolina -- but Spurrier seems to be plenty confident in Mitch. The Head Ball Coach famously sent the former four-star prospect a postcard promising that committing to South Carolina would likely extend his coaching career by a few years, and his aggressive placement as backup on the 2014 preseason depth chart supports those words with action.

Not pictured is Brendan Nosovitch. With Mitch and Orth overtaking the redshirt sophomore on the 2014 depth chart, Freak Nosty is now in the rear-view mirror of two quarterbacks who are as young or younger than he is. This fact makes him the likeliest candidate to transfer.

Unless something bad happens to Dylan Thompson this year, this will be least experienced group of quarterbacks the Gamecocks have fielded since, what, 2008? And it's more likely than not that they'll be taking their lumps behind an equally inexperienced offensive line.

Offensive line

LT Mason Zandi 6'9 301 SO-1L Irmo, S.C.
Paris Palmer 6'8 305 JR-JC Plymouth, N.C.
LG Brock Stadnik 6'5 287 SO-2L Greensboro, N.C.
Donell Stanley 6'4 346 FR-RS Floydale, S.C.
C Cody Waldrop 6'2 309 JR-2L Seffner, Fla.
OR Clayton Stadnik 6'3 273 JR-2L Greensboro, N.C.
Alan Knott 6'4 280 SO-1L Tyrone, Ga.
RG Mike Matulis 6'5 307 SR-2L Boynton Beach, Fla.
Will Sport 6'5 291 JR-2L Milton, Fla.
D.J. Park 6'4 328 SO-1L Dillon, S.C.
RT Na'Ty Rodgers 6'5 280 SO-1L Waldor, Md.

In the past few years, South Carolina has recruited well on the interior of the offensive line but the cupboard is approaching bare at the tackle position. I couldn't even find a fourth tackle to put on the two-deep. This projection assumes that Brandon Shell will forego his final year of eligibility and enter the 2015 NFL Draft. If he comes back for his senior year, the Gamecocks should be just fine. If not, well ...

Getting a commitment from four-star junior college tackle Paris Palmer was a massive win for offensive line coach Shawn Elliott. Whether Shell stays or goes, Palmer will be called upon to step in and contribute immediately. If he can't, it won't be for a lack of size.

Stray observation: Donell Stanley weighs 346 pounds. Is that a lot?

Running backs

Brandon Wilds 6'2 222 SR-3L Blythewood, S.C.
David Williams 6'1 214 SO-1L Philadelphia, Pa.
Shon Carson 5'8 201 SR-2L Scranton, S.C.
AJ Turner 5'11 180 FR-HS Clifton, Va.
Mon Denson 6'0 214 FR-HS Lagrange, Ga.

It's not impossible that David Williams will end the year as the heir apparent to Mike Davis, but Brandon Wilds has already proven he can be an above-average SEC running back. Williams hasn't. In 2011, Wilds' 4.54 yards per carry in relief of Marcus Lattimore was an impressive showing from a true freshman, especially one who was not a blue chip recruit. Injury kept him out for all of 2012 and a good chunk of 2013, but when he was fit to play Wilds boosted his yards per carry by more than half a yard to 5.14.

That's a difficult bar to clear, even for a player who gives you as many things to like as Williams does. Either way, it won't be an all-or-nothing situation. Both Wilds and Williams will get significant snaps. They'll make a nice one-two punch, with Williams' gamebreaking speed offering a nice change of pace from Wilds.

Wide receivers and tight ends

I was putting the chart for this group together and concluded that there is going to be so much turnover and so much change as to who is lining up at what wide receiver position that it would be silly to put up a depth chart. (Yes, even sillier than doing the other ones.)

I think Shaq Roland is going to have a big 2014 season -- or at least big enough to serve as a launching pad to the 2015 NFL Draft. Damiere Byrd and Nick Jones are graduating. I think Jerell Adams will go pro too.

That leaves Pharoh Cooper, Kane Whitehurst, Drew Owens, and a bunch of guys who either haven't done much in their time at South Carolina or have not so much as suited up for the Gamecocks. Shaq Davidson, Tyshun Samuel, Terry Googer, and Jalen Christian could step into those roles. K.C. Crosby will probably do too well at tight end.

If Roland and Adams do indeed go pro, there will be many roles to fill in South Carolina's passing attack. Unlike the offensive line, though, there's plenty of reason to feel optimistic that one of these blue chip prospects will be able to step in and contribute.

***

When I started this exercise, I knew South Carolina would be dealing with some major losses on offense. I did not think it it would be this bad. Check back on Monday for a projection of the 2015 depth chart for defense. Let's hope there's more cause for optimism on that side of the ball.