Freshman wide receiver Shi Smith will be a starter for South Carolina in Game 1 if the Gamecocks open in their base three-wide receiver set, head coach Will Muschamp said Thursday.
Smith, who has impressed throughout preseason camp, is a 5-foot-10, 179-pound Union native who was considered the best high school prospect in the state last year by ESPN.com. He would start in the slot with junior Deebo Samuel and sophomore Bryan Edwards on the outside, Muschamp told the Columbia Touchdown Club during a lunch meeting.
“He’s an electric guy who can make some plays with the ball in his hand,” Muschamp said earlier this preseason. “Shi’s development puts more speed on the field and anytime you do that you put stress on the defense.”
Quarterback Jake Bentley also has been impressed by Smith’s speed.
“He’s still getting everything down to play as fast as he can but you can definitely see the speed he has,” Bentley said.
Smith caught 47 passes for 609 yards and 10 touchdowns last year at Union County High School. The Gamecocks open the season Sept. 2 against N.C. State in Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.