65 Teams in 65 Days: South Carolina Gamecocks

Head Coach: Shane Beamer

Offensive Coordinator: Marcus Satterfield

Defensive Coordinator: Clayton White

Conference: SEC

2021 Record: 7-6 (3-5) (Beat North Carolina in the Mayo Bowl)

2022 Non Conference Opponents: Georgia State, Charlotte, South Carolina State, Clemson

Key Additions: QB Spencer Rattler (Oklahoma), TE Austin Stogner (Oklahoma), RB Christian Beal-Smith (Wake Forest), S Devonni Reed (Central Michigan), WR Antwane Wells Jr. (James Madison)

Shane Beamer and his staff came out firing last season, leading South Carolina to a winning record despite using four quarterbacks throughout the year and being picked to finish last in the division. Over the offseason, Beamer absolutely killed the transfer portal, bringing in some elite offensive players to complement the studs he already has at his disposal on defense.

At quarterback, Oklahoma transfer Spencer Rattler will be calling the shots for the Gamecocks, after a disastrous 2021 season. While Rattler was not very good in 2021, his 2020 stats reflect a completely different player, as Rattler threw for over 3,000 yards, 28 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Rattler’s deep ball excelled that season, as on attempts of 20 or more yards, Rattler’s passer rating was 124.4. Without a doubt, South Carolina is a better environment for him to succeed, and with him bringing a familiar face in Austin Stogner to Columbia, I expect Rattler to be much better than he was last season. The rushing attack was atrocious last season, but expect it to improve with the addition of Wake Forest transfer Chris Beal-Smith. Last season, Beal-Smith rushed for over 700 yards on 5.2 yards per carry. His breakaway percentage was above 40% making him an extremely speedy back, and while he isn’t extremely physical, he averaged over three yards after contact per carry as well, which is impressive given his speed. As for Rattler’s targets, the receiving depth on this South Carolina team is absolutely ridiculous. Starting off with the tight end duo of Jaheim Bell and Austin Stogner, which is arguably the best duo in the nation. Bell has elite speed and is a great separator, as he averaged 11.3 yards after catch per catch and 3.67 yards per route run last season. Both of those marks are absolutely ridiculous and with Stogner coming in, there is a chance they increase in 2022. Austin Stogner has had a career very similar to Rattler, as he had a great 2020 season but regressed in 2021. In 2020, Stogner averaged 2.72 yards per route run, and eclipsed 450 receiving yards. He is much more of a traditional tight end, as he excels at coming down with contested catches. Him and Bell complement eachother greatly and I am looking forward to watching them terrorize opposing linebackers in 2022. As for their wide receivers, the two to highlight are Josh Vann and James Madison transfer Antwane Wells Jr. Vann had a breakout season in 2021, totaling 678 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns. He saw his yards per route more than double and his workload increased as the season went on. Along with him, the Cocks also have Antwane Wells Jr. Over two seasons at James Madison, Wells Jr. recorded 108 receptions for 1,741 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns, while averaging 2.97 yards per route run. Standing at 6’1 and weighing 207 pounds, I believe Wells has the physical traits to succeed in the SEC. With these four targets, the Cocks have some extremely reliable options and the coaching staff will be able to open the playbook and run some creative sets. The Cocks offensive line struggled a ton last year, and part of the blame is on injuries, as they only had two linemen play more than 650 snaps. They return pretty much everyone from that group, but the main issue is none of them are very good. With more consistency and less injuries in 2022, there is hope the group can grow and become solid, but without a real alpha in the room, I find it hard to see this group be anything better than average.

The Cocks defensive line is worrisome against the run and rushing the passer. None of the starters had an above average stop rate or average depth per tackle last season. As for the pass rush, the Cocks lost their only player from last year who had more than 20 pressures in Kingsley Enagbare. While it may be a stretch, I can actually see someone putting up similar numbers to Enagbare this season in Jordan Strachan. Strachan transferred to South Carolina from Georgia State after his 2020 breakout campaign where he tallied 37 pressures and eleven sacks. He regressed in his first season as a Cock, recording 12 pressures and three sacks, but his win rate was 14.5% which is very intriguing and if someone is going to pick up where Enagbare left off, it’s Strachan. The cornerback room is very solid, returning all three starters from last season, including the best nickel back in the nation, Cam Smith. Last season Smith allowed a completion percentage less than 50%, recorded nine breakups, three interceptions and allowed a passer rating of just 36.5. While he is the star of the show, the outside cornerbacks: Marcellas Dial and Darius Rush are not bad either. Rush is a pure boom or bust corner, as last season he allowed a completion percentage of just 41%, forced eight incompletions and also compiled an interception. The downside of his game is that he allowed over 20 yards per reception and also a 75 yard touchdown. One could chalk that up as Rush being unlucky, which could definitely be the case, but either way he is a lockdown corner on throws less than 20 yards and will be a solid piece in 2022. Marcellas Dial will play opposite Rush and was very productive in 2021, forcing five incompletions and allowing a passer rating of 74.0. With Rush, Smith and Dial leading the cornerback room, I am very confident South Carolina will have an above average secondary in 2022. The safety room is solid as well, adding Central Michigan transfer Devonni Reed, who has only allowed three career touchdowns across 1,300 coverage snaps and also returning RJ Roderick, a four year starter. While the front seven will struggle greatly, the Cocks secondary will make the defense serviceable.

The Cocks offense will be electric with all the transfers they brought in, however they are very weak in the trenches, which will give many opponents such as Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and Florida the edge, when South Carolina arguably has better skill position players.

Record Prediction: 7-5 (4-4)

V Georgia State: Win

AT Arkansas: Loss

V Georgia: Loss

V Charlotte: Win

V South Carolina State: Win​​

AT Kentucky: Loss

V Texas A&M: Win

V Missouri: Win

AT Vanderbilt: Win AT Florida: Loss

V Tennessee: Win

AT Clemson: Loss

0 views0 comments