Countdown note: GoGamecocks’ Josh Kendall, David Cloninger and Dwayne McLemore each ranked the 10 players most important to South Carolina’s offense in 2014. We took their predictions, compiled a composite list and are revealing it one player a day through July 14. (This is not a ranking of the team’s best players -- it’s our rank of the players who are most vital to the team’s success.)
Mike Davis is magnificent, but he did get banged-up at times last year. Brandon Wilds is most likely to be the next guy up at tailback for the Gamecocks. And USC will give him some reps whether or not Davis is running wild.
Wilds came on strong as a freshman when Marcus Lattimore went down with a season-ending injury. He had three 100-yard games in his five starts. Wilds had to redshirt in 2012 with an ankle injury but came back last season to play in seven games. He missed six games after suffering a dislocated elbow against Central Florida.
He had 43 carries for 221 yards and three scores in 2013. He showed that he didn’t mind the wait of a year off by continuing to flash all-star form at times.
Now a redshirt junior, he is healthy and has proven to be a capable back on the SEC level. Shon Carson and David Williams will also battle Wilds for touches.
“Mike’s ready to have a big year. Brandon Wilds is ready. Shon should be back and David Williams had some nice runs,” Spurrier said after the spring game. “We should be OK at running back.”
Best-case scenario: Davis stays healthy, and Wilds holds on to the No. 2 role and contributes six to 10 touches each game. A half-dozen scores and 600 or so total yards is possible if Wilds himself can stay on the field.
Stats: Started five games as a true freshman. ... Has played in 21 games; 150 carries for 707 yards (4.7 yards per attempt) and six touchdowns. ... Also has 24 receptions for 255 yards and two scores.