Nov 2, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier looks on during the fourth quarter against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks defeated the Bulldogs 34-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

2014 SEC Football Preview: South Carolina Gamecocks

Ole Hotty Toddy is going to prepare you for the upcoming 2014 season with all the information we can provide you. We are even going to give you an in depth look at each SEC team.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the South Carolina Gamecocks and what to expect from them in the upcoming 2014 season. We will go over which impact players are returning in 2014, who left, a look at there schedule, and then our staff will predict how the Tide will do in the 2014 season.

Introduction

There is no question, the overall era of Steve Spurrier at South Carolina has been a success. Yet, such success has come without winning a national championship title, or even a SEC championship title for that matter. It seems every year Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks are consistently contending in SEC Eastern Division. But, for some reason they came up just short. Last season is a prime example. The Gamecocks finished 10-2 in the regular season, coming up just one game short of the Missouri Tigers (2013 SEC East Divisional Champions), who they had beaten in the regular season, from making it to the SEC Championship.

The Old Ball Coach is starting to live up to his nickname. He is…getting old. But, you can not deny the fact that Spurrier still continues to bring in some of the nation’s top talent to play for the Gamecocks. Just last season, South Carolina Gamecock’s star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney went in the first round of 2014 NFL Draft and was the overall number one pick in the draft, going to the Houston Texans. In 2014, Spurrier went out and recruited one of nation’s top recruiting classes in 2014. The bad news is that sources are starting to develop that nearly one third of that class is struggling to qualify for enrollment at the university.

2014 South Carolina Gamecocks Football Schedule

Date
Opponent
Site
08/28/14Texas A&AMColumbia, S.C.
09/06/14East CarolinaColumbia, S.C.
09/13/14GeorgiaColumbia, S.C.
09/20/14at VanderbiltNashville, Tenn.
09/27/14MissouriColumbia, S.C.
10/04/14at KentuckyLexington, Ky.
10/18/14FurmanColumbia, S.C.
10/25/14at AuburnAuburn, Ala.
11/01/14TennesseeColumbia, S.C.
11/15/14at FloridaGainesville, Fla.
11/22/14South AlabamaColumbia, S.C.
11/29/14at ClemsonClemson, S.C.

Who Has Left?

Connor Shaw (QB) - Connor Shaw has to be the number one player the South Carolina Gamecocks will be looking to replace in the 2014 season. In 2013, Shaw threw for a total of 2,447 passing yards (ranked 6th in the SEC), and threw 24 touchdown passes (ranked 4th in the SEC). He also rushed for 558 yards (nearly topping Ole Miss’ leading rusher I’Tavius Mathers) and picked up 6 rushing touchdowns. He was the South Carolina Gamecocks biggest weapon in 2013 and it will take a lot to fill his shoes.

Aug 30, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Conner Shaw (14) scrambles in the backfield against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Vanderbilt Stadium. The Gamecocks beat the Commodores 17-13. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Jadeveon Clowney (DE) - You thought I was going to say Jadeveon Clowney is the number one player the South Carolina Gamecocks will be trying to replace in 2014. It would seem that he would be the obvious choice, but he is not. If remember, Clowney spent most of the 2013 faking injuries to secure his place in the NFL. Last season, Clowney accumulated only three sacks compared to 13 in 2012. He did pick up 40 total tackles compared to his career-high 54 in the 2012 season. Let’s note the fact that Clowney bought his ticket into the NFL off of one tackle, in one play, of one game.

Bruce Ellington (WR) - Bruce Ellington was one South Carolina’s top receivers in 2013. Ellington finished last season with a total of 775 receiving yards (ranked 11th in the SEC), and picked up 8 touchdowns on the season (ranked tied for 6th in the SEC). Ellington went to the San Francisco 49ers in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft. His talent will be something Spurrier will look to repeat in the 2014 season.

Kelcy Quarles (DT) - Unlike Clowney, a guy who played a major impact to the South Carolina defense in 2013 was Kelcy Quarles. Quarles led the team and was ranked 3rd in the SEC with 9.5 sacks on the season. Quarles would also pick up 39 total tackles on the year and an impressive 13.5 tackles for a loss. His skills at breaking through the offensive line will be a talent the Gamecocks will miss and look to repeat.

Other Notable Players: Chaz Sutton (DE), Ronald Patrick (OG), Jimmy Legree (CB), Vic Hampton (CB)

Who Is Coming?

Abu Lamin (DT) - One of the guy’s who could replace Clowney down the road is Abu Lamin. Lamin is 4-star JUCO prospect, defensive tackle, who comes into the 2014 recruiting class of South Carolina rated 3rd in the nation at his position. Lamin has amazing strength and size. His explosiveness off the line is something that will be invaluable for the Gamecocks defense.

Bryson Allen-Williams (OLB) - Bryson Allen-Williams is one of the nation’s top outside linebackers coming in with the 2014 recruiting class. He was rated a 4-star prospect and his ability to get tackles is one of the best ratings in the nation. His pursuit and instincts at his position will be valuable to Spurrier and the South Caroline Gamecocks defense.

Other Notable Players: Doneli Stanley (OG), Shaq Davidson (WR), D.J. Smith (CB), Kevin Crosby (TE)

Who’s Returning?

Dylan Thompson (QB) - The battle for the starting job to replace Shaw at quarterback was in full force for South Carolina during spring practices. It is not an area of the game that Spurrier is lacking at new coming talent. It looks as though Spurrier will go with veteran senior quarterback Dylan Thompson for the starting role. You can’t really blame him for that decision. Thompson stepped in last season when Shaw battle injuries and filled in the role quite well as a leader of the team. Thompson saw exceptional playing time in 2012, playing in 11 games and throwing over 1,000 passing yards and completed 10 touchdown passes. Thompson played in eight games last season, completing 783 total passing yards and 4 touchdown passes.

Sep 28, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Dylan Thompson (17) looks to pass during the second half of the game against the UCF Knights at Bright House Networks Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Davis (RB) - Mike Davis is one of most key returning players of the South Carolina Gamecocks offense. Davis finished 4th most total rushing yards in the SEC last season. Davis finished 2013 with 1,183 total rushing yards, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. His longest run was for 75-yards and he also picked up 11 rushing touchdowns on the season. Expect Davis to continue to be an impactful player in the 2014 season.

Skai Moore (LB)- With a lot great talent not returning for the Gamecocks in 2014, Spurrier will be looking for a lot sophomore and freshmen players to meet big expectations in the upcoming season. One of those players is sophomore Skai Moore. Moore had an impressive freshman year in 2013, picking up 56 total tackles, 0.5 sack, and four interceptions. There will be important roles to fill in the Gamecock defense, and you can expect a lot more playing time for Moore.

Other Notable Players: Kaiwan Lewis (LB), Pharoh Cooper (WR), Sharrod Golightly (SPR), Marcquis Roberts (LB)

Ole Hotty Toddy’s Thoughts On South Carolina

Acey Roberts - South Carolina, we don’t play them. But, they lose Conner shaw but have a solid backup in Dylan Thompson. He has played quite a bit over the last couple of years due to shakes, injuries, and he performed well. Thompson has some good young talent at wide receiver, returns running back Mike Davis, and almost the entire offensive line from last year. Losing Jadeveon Clowney could be a bigger problem as well as being short at cornerback with only two on scholarship. The defense could cost South Carolina a couple of wins, but I still see a nine win season for the Gamecocks.

Dave Bevan - You just can’t ever rule out Steve Spurrier from contending in the east of the SEC. It seems like every year, they are knocking on that door for first place. I don’t see Conner Shaw not being there an issue. You have a returning veteran quarterback in Dylan Thompson, and he has proven that he can compete in tough situations. He will have Mike Davis behind him at running back, who was one of the elite backs in the SEC last season. I don’t see the loss Clowney being a major issue for the defense, since he was relatively ineffective last season. However, they did lose a lot of talent on defense this year, so most starters will be new and inexperienced. If anything favors South Carolina the most, it is their schedule. If they can pull off big wins over Georgia, Tennessee, and Missouri this year, I could definitely see them as a favorite to be in the SEC Championship game. At best, I see 10 wins for the Gamecocks this year.

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Tags: South Carolina Football

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