Best South Carolina Offensive Player
WR Deebo Samuel, Sr.
If the Heisman was handed out after Week 3 of the 2017 season, Samuel would’ve at least been worthy of several votes in an MVP sort of way. The 6-0 210-pounder made five catches in each of the first three games for 250 yards and three scores, caught two touchdown passes against NC State, hit Missouri for a rushing touchdown, and returned two kickoffs for scores … and then was lost for the year with a broken leg against Kentucky.
He was close to coming back, but wasn’t quite right. On the plus side, one of the SEC’s most explosive players didn’t turn pro early,
2. QB Jake Bentley, Jr.
3. WR Bryan Edwards, Jr.
4. WR Shi Smith, Soph.
5. OT Dennis Daley, Sr.
Best South Carolina Defensive Player
DE D.J. Wonnum, Jr.
There’s no argument if you want to put LB T.J. Brunson here, and a slew of other possibilities are about to rise up. The 6-5, 258-pound Wonnum is back after leading the team with six sacks and 13 tackles for loss, and was fourth on the team with 57 stops. A very smart, very dangerous all-around lineman, he’s always active, and he’s a consistent factor on a line that needs to secure the other parts.
2. LB T.J. Brunson, Jr.
3. CB Rashad Fenton, Sr.
4. LB Bryson Allen-Williams, Sr.
5. DT Keir Thomas, Jr.
Key Player To A Successful Season
OT Dennis Daley, Sr.
The offensive line wasn’t a massive problem, but it also wasn’t enough of a plus throughout last season. Just enough veterans are back to build around, and the production should be fine as long as the left side is locked down.
It starts with the 6-6, 312-pound Daley, a former JUCO transfer who took over the left tackle job early on and did a nice job for a line that was okay in pass protection. If he’s getting the job done and the position is settled again, the other puzzle parts should fit just fine after fall camp.
Key Game To The South Carolina Season
Georgia, Sept. 8
The Gamecocks have lost three straight in the series against Georgia and four of the last five, including last year’s 24-10 loss in Athens. This time around, it’s the SEC opener, USC will have had a warm-up against Coastal Carolina to get ready, and there’s a chance to take over the East right away with Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Missouri to follow.
There’s no Alabama or LSU on the slate, and Texas A&M and Tennessee are home games. If the Gamecocks are good enough to beat the Dawgs, they’re good enough to win every game on the slate up until the regular season finale against Clemson.
2017 South Carolina Fun Stats
– Fumbles: Opponents 22 (lost 14) – South Carolina 10 (lost 5)
– Field Goals: Opponents 21-of-24 – South Carolina 15-of-28
– USC 1st Quarter Scoring: 51 – USC 2nd Quarter Scoring: 89