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South Carolina Gamecocks positional previews: Wide receiver

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Is another Gamecock pass-catcher prepared to burst on the scene like Pharoh Cooper did last season? A breakdown of this year's wide receivers is here.

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Who's gone?

Damiere Byrd, Nick Jones, Shaq Roland, K.J. Brent, Tyshaun Samuel, Andrew Bunch, Caleb Hines, Matthew Harvey, Kane Whitehurst

Who's back?

Pharoh Cooper, Deebo Samuel, Carlton Heard, Terry Googer, Shamier Jeffery, Shaq Davidson, Matrick Belton, Sean Odom

Who's new?

Jerad Washington, Christian Owens, D.J. Neal, Jalen Christian, Javon Charleston, John Dixon, Devin Dingle

Key Stat: 2 - the number of receivers on South Carolina's roster that have caught passes in their college career (Pharoh Cooper, Shamier Jeffery).

The scoop: Pharoh Cooper is the known commodity and Deebo Samuel is the budding star. For much of the spring and summer, it was hard to pin down the Gamecocks wide receiver rotation outside of those two. In the first edition of "Carolina Calls" last week, Steve Spurrier mentioned that Cooper and Samuel would be the starters along with Carlton Heard if the Gamecocks were to play today. Heard transferred from Gardner-Webb and made the team as a walk-on in 2013. He's best known for his blocked punt at Florida last season that led to the game-tying touchdown. It sounds like Heard will beat out redshirt freshman Terry Googer for the "B" receiver slot. Googer's size is impressive at 6-foot-4 and he's a guy that caught my eye in spring ball. Googer played mainly quarterback in high school but also spent time at wideout and defensive back as he came out of Atlanta. He earned the Most Improved Wide Receiver award at the spring game in April.

Cooper can play at any of the three wide receiver positions and I hope he does. Amari Cooper's immense talent helped him garner his All-American season at Alabama last year but Lane Kiffin's creativity in lining him up in different spots, creating mismatches across the field went a long away for the first round pick. That recipe should be followed for Cooper this season.

The story coming into last year was that Cooper put himself through two-a-days to prepare for the season. It appears Deebo Samuel did something similar. He sought out Chris Lammons and the two went head-to-head all offseason. Steve Spurrier Jr. indicated that Samuel began prepping for a starting position as soon as the bowl game ended. The coaching staff believes he can be a "really good one" for the program. He's solidified himself as the second option for this team.

Predicted depth chart

Z-WR

Pharoh Cooper-Matrick Belton-Jerad Washington

X-WR

Deebo Samuel-Shamier Jeffery-Shaq Davidson-Christian Owens

B-WR

Carlton Heard-Terry Googer-Sean Odom