South Carolina’s backup wide receiver had to wait for opportunities in 2017.
When a team has Bryan Edwards, Shi Smith and OrTre Smith, there aren’t that many extra snaps to go around. And that’s not likely to change next season with Deebo Samuel expected to be back in the fold.
But USC’s top pass catcher still thinks those behind him can surprise.
“I feel like all our receivers can really make plays,” USC’s Bryan Edwards said. “We just haven’t had all the opportunities for them. But definitely I think we’ll see more of them soon. The guys like Chavis Dawkins, Chad Terrell, all those guys are really talented, can really make plays.”
Dawkins and Terrell are both bigger bodied underclassmen who saw time here and there last season. Dawkins, at 6-foot-2, 212 pounds, was a last commit in Will Muschamp’s first class, and Terrell, 6-foot-3, was in the staff’s second class, and got praise for his ability to go up and get jump balls.
But they didn’t see a ton of playing time, 84 snaps for Dawkins, 56 for Terrell, and combined for 11 targets.
That’s to say nothing of the team’s No. 4 receiver most of the season, Randrecous Davis, who worked in several spots and caught seven balls on 17 targets.
“Any time you get those new guys in, they definitely push you a little bit more,” Edwards said. “They’re working hard, trying to get ready for that moment. You see them working hard, you’ve got to work even harder because you’re trying to set the standard for those guys.”
Edwards posted 793 yards and 64 catches as a sophomore last year.
The group will also get three new pieces in four-star recruit Josh Vann and three stars Darius Rush and Tyquan Johnson. The latter two will likely have to add some weight to be factors early, but Vann is dynamic and could have a quick impact.
So the competition for receiver snaps grows ever tighter. One thing that could help is a potential higher-tempo promised by new offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon. USC was relatively pass-heavy and still ranked 80th nationally in attempts because of a slower pace.
Although Terrell didn’t play often, he did get into 10 games. Edwards said he saw progress from all the players behind him, but something stood out with Terrell.
“Chad’s a real strong dude,” Edwards said. “He doesn’t know how strong he is, but the guy’s lower body is so explosive and he can go up and get the ball. He’s going to be a great player here.”