South Carolina Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

College Football Features

South Carolina Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

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South Carolina Gamecocks Preview 2022: Offense

The offense is about to make a jump up. The ground game should’ve been a whole lot stronger, and the chains didn’t move easily enough, and there were WAY too many turnovers.

However, even thought the O was 111th in the nation and only scored 23 points per game, it all looked great in the bowl win over North Carolina, ten starters are back – depending on the alignment – and there’s been a talent upgrade at some of the skill spots.

Think of it this way. The Gamecocks won seven games with a rough offense, and now … look out. And why?

The Gamecocks have a star at quarterback. Spencer Rattler might not have been perfect at Oklahoma, but he’s a real, live, NFL prospect with a brilliant deep arm and the attitude to show the world that he’s ready to be everything he was supposed to be last year.

South Carolina has a 70% passer who threw 40 touchdown passes and 12 picks at a high level – the quarterback game just got upped. 2021 top quarterback Luke Doty is a capable No. 2.

The receiving corps is going to be fantastic. Josh Vann led the team with 43 catches, Dakereon Joyner and TE Jaheim Bell – along with Oklahoma transfer TE Austin Stogner – are solid, and coming in is Antwane Wells, a 116-catch, 1,853-yard, 21 touchdown receiver from James Madison who’ll be a factor right away.

The offensive line is loaded with veterans, but now it has to be better. There’s size, depth, and talent, but it has to bring a push for a running game that averaged just 136 yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry. The Gamecocks ran for just nine touchdowns with six coming in three separate games.

MarShawn Lloyd is a good back who should shine with room to move, and Juju McDowell is a speedster who needs the ball in space. Helping the cause is Wake Forest transfer Christian Beal-Smith, a four-year veteran who averaged 4.8 yards per carry with 1,871 yards and 14 touchdowns at his old gig.

South Carolina Gamecocks Preview 2022: Defense

The defense might not have been Georgia’s, but it was good enough to pick up the slack for an offense that wasn’t always cranking up the production. There’s more than enough experience back to expect at least as much success as it enjoyed last year.

It was sixth in the SEC allowing 356 yards and 24 points per game, and while it wasn’t great against the run or getting into the backfield, the pass defense led the SEC and was seventh in the nation giving up 181 yards per game.

The pass rush died over the second half of last year – but picked back up in a big way in the bowl win – and the top sacker of the last few years is gone.

Kinglsey Enagbare might be done, but Zacch Pickens is a great interior pass rusher who can get behind the line, and former Georgia State Panther Jordan Stachan is good enough on the edge to do more. There’s the depth to come up with a good rotation inside and out.

The linebacking corps gets back Brad Johnson on the outside and Sherrod Greene in the middle. Johnson was second on the team with 74 tackles, and Greene was second in 2018 with 73 tackles, but hasn’t had a lick of luck with injuries over the last few seasons.

The No. 1 pass defense in the SEC will be good again. Granted, the stats are a tad skewed because everyone was busy running the ball, but this group was good, starting with CB/Nickel Cam Smith – he came up with three picks and broken up 11 passes.

Leading playmaker Jaylan Foster is gone at safety, but in comes Devonni Reed from Central Michigan, a two-time All-MAC performer who’ll be a statistical star along with 65-tackle strong safety RJ Roderick.

South Carolina 2022 Preview
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