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South Carolina Gamecocks positional preview: quarterback

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The opener is looming and Steve Spurrier has yet to name a starting quarterback. Who will it be? We break down the most important position ahead of a critical year for the Gamecocks.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Who's gone?

Dylan Thompson, who is now with the San Francisco 49ers.

Who's back?

Connor Mitch, Perry Orth, and Michael Scarnecchia.

Who's new?

Lorenzo Nunez, Danny Gordon and Gage Pucci.

Key Stat

The three returning quarterbacks vying for the starting position have combined to attempt nine passes in their college careers - All-SEC WR Pharoh Cooper has 11 pass attempts as a Gamecock. Their nine attempts have come against South Alabama, Coastal Carolina and Furman.

The scoop: Presumed starter Connor Mitch has been splitting reps with Perry Orth and Michael Scarnecchia ever since the offseason program began. Steve Spurrier and the coaching staff have indicated that the battle has been absent of separation. The Gamecocks held a closed scrimmage on Saturday and that sentiment remained. Specific preparation for the opening game is set to begin soon and Spurrier was pressed to name a quarterback with that moment approaching, but reported that the staff "should know something maybe by the middle of this coming week."

I personally believe Mitch is the starter and it's not even close. This position battle is all about Spurrier making Mitch earn the job rather than it being handed to him. I do not doubt that Orth and Scarnecchia have flashed in practice and workouts, but Mitch has the most talent so he is the likeliest of the three to give USC an extra punch on offense. True freshman Lorenzo Nunez, who will have a significant role in this year's offense, ran for over 2,000 yards his last two seasons in high school and has already shown his running ability in fall practice. He's not ready to take the reins as a full-time QB and he was not a very accomplished passer at the high school level, but does have special athletic ability and can be a frightening weapon if the coaching staff uses him correctly.