Mon Denson committed to the Gamecocks thinking a redshirt season was a virtual guarantee.
Now on campus and a freshman at South Carolina, that is no longer his thinking.
“I see playing time. If I come in with the mindset of wanting to play, it can happen,” Denson said. “They rotate three backs, and that’s why I liked it. That sort of made up my mind to commit to South Carolina.”
Denson, from LaGrange, Ga., will be joined on campus next month by fellow freshman tailback A.J. Turner of Clifton, Va. Running backs coach Everette Sands this spring opened the door to the possibility that one of them could play in 2015.
It all depends on what role the team decides for senior Shon Carson, who is third on the running back depth chart but cross-trained in the spring at wide receiver. The Gamecocks are looking for ways to get Carson out in space, Sands said.
Senior Brandon Wilds and redshirt sophomore David Williams are expected to be the first and second backs, in an order to be determined.
Denson is built similar to the 5-foot-9, 223-pound Mike Davis, who led USC in rushing the past two seasons but is now with the San Francisco 49ers.
“I am a power back with speed,” he said. “The hits that you can take, the amount that you can carry the ball, it depends on how you are built as a running back. I am working on getting bigger and faster.”
His goals for June and July are to “work hard in silence and let success make the noise.”
BY THE NUMBERS
Height/weight: 5-foot-10, 225 pounds
Stats: As a senior, 1,300 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.
Rating: Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite rating.
1. Represented his state in Florida vs. Georgia High School All-Star Game
2. Played at the same high school that produced former USC quarterback Blake Mitchell
3. Full name is Daquarious Demond Denson
1. “My ninth through 11th grade year I was at 185 to 195. I could do a lot of shaking then. Now it’s just straight forward. I just like to run people over. I can make them miss if I have to.”
2. “I just get it and go. Make one move and I’m gone.”
3. “I compare myself to Bo Jackson, to Marcus Dupree and to Herschel Walker.”
Running backs coach Everette Sands: “He is very explosive. He has really good speed, and I expect him to come in and work to be in the mix of things.”
Rivals analyst Woody Wommack: “Big body back. He’s not the fastest guy in the world but runs really well for a guy his size. He’s kind of a bowling-ball type, not afraid to run people over.”