New look Gamecocks adjusting during spring practice period

Posted 4/10/24

The University of South Carolina’s Spring football game is less than two weeks away, and incoming players have spent the last few weeks getting adjusted to their new environment. 

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New look Gamecocks adjusting during spring practice period


The University of South Carolina’s Spring football game is less than two weeks away, and incoming players have spent the last few weeks getting adjusted to their new environment. 

The Gamecocks had a lot of reconstruction to do after losing 22 players to the transfer portal, including big names like starting receiver Antwane “Juice” Wells, starting linebacker Stone Blanton and starting running back Mario Anderson. 

The team also lost much leadership due to the NFL draft with starting quarterback Spencer Rattler and leading receiver Xavier Legette. 

Head coach Shane Beamer turned to both the transfer portal and high schools to fill these gaps and more ahead of the spring workout season. South Carolina earned commits from 16 high schoolers and will bring on 20 transfers. 

“There’s a lot of energy and a lot of excitement out there,” Beamer said. “A lot of new faces, whether it be transfers or freshmen. So, a lot of newness, but really really excited about those new guys.”

Incoming freshmen and five-star recruit Dylan Stewart will have the opportunity to be a key contributor at the edge position. Stewart is the 19th-ranked recruit in the country by 247 Sports and second at his position. 

Stewart joins an experienced defensive line group that includes Bryan Thomas Jr., Desmond Umeozulu, Elijah Davis, Jatius Geer, Kyle Kennard and Gilber Edmond. Thomas, Umeizulu and Davis played in all 12 games for the Gamecocks last season. 

Kennard is an incoming transfer from Georgia Tech, where he played in all 12 games during 2023. And Edmond returned to the South Carolina football program after spending 2023 at Florida State, where he played in 11 games. 

The edge position isn’t the only one on the defensive side that will see exciting new talent emerge. Sitting behind the defensive line, the linebackers have added fresh faces to replace the old ones. 

With Blanton and Grayson “Pup” Howard’s decision to hit the portal, the Gamecocks added replacements from Pittsburg, Bangally Kamara, and Charlotte, Demetrius Knight.

The team also added a pair of four-star freshmen. Fred Johnson and Wendell Gregory will hope to contribute in meaningful ways in year one. 

“Them boys are looking good,” returning linebacker Debo Williams said. “Everybody is fast man. Fast, shifty, everything. They are processing and learning the plays very fast as well too. I’ve been impressed the first couple of days.”

The entire offense is getting a revamp with the team having to replace many skill-position players and offensive linemen. 

The team will have to find a new player to fulfill the most demanding position on the field. The quarterback room features returner LaNorris Sellers, three incoming transfers and a freshman. Former starter Luke Doty is still on the team, but his role has evolved into a multi-positional threat. 

Sellers is the presumed starter but will compete against Auburn transfer Robby Ashford, Oklahoma transfer Davis Beville and freshman Dante Reno. Beamer and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains have not announced a starter. 

“We’re going to rotate,” Loggains said. “Every day is an interview, but it’s the accumulation of these practices, and then when we start to scrimmage, those things matter as well.”

The team brought in new talent at the wide receiver and running back spots to replace its outgoing transfers and NFL draft prospects. The team lost both of its top receivers from the past two seasons and its top running back last season. 

Incoming guys include running backs Oscar Adaway III and Jawarn Howell, and receivers Gage Larvadain, Ahmari Huggins-Brice, Jared Brown, Mazeo Bennett and Debron Gatling.

South Carolina, which finished last in rushing in the SEC last season, is hoping the new additions in the backfield will strengthen a costly weakness. 

“So many new guys and new faces,” Loggains said. “I don’t want to make many evaluations until those guys know what to do. The reason why is once they know what to do, the skillset looks different.”

The team is also trying to replace seven offensive linemen who left the program. Like the running group, the blocking group struggled last season, so the team is hoping these changes have a positive impact. 

Vershon Lee, Tree Babalade, Tro Baugh, Markee Anderson, Josiah Thompson, Kamaar Bell, Jakai Moore, Torricelli Simpkins, Aaryn Parks, Cason Henry, Sidney Fugar and Ryan Brubaker are some of the guys who will rotate in and out of the first group in the spring. 

“I feel real confident. I like how we look right now,” Lee said. 

The new-look Gamecocks will play in front of a live audience for the first time on April 20 at 7 p.m. for their annual spring game scrimmage. Until then, Beamer wants to see everyone come out and compete hard at practices.

“I don’t care what you did last year if it was your senior year in high school or you were at a different school,” Beamer said. “We’re all starting fresh today, and we all have something to prove.”

South Carolina football, Gamecocks, Shane Beamer, LaNorris Sellers, NFL Draft


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