South Carolina’s Bryan Edwards spent this spring in a rare spot.
It’s not often a player enrolls early and finds himself working with the first team from the start, especially at an SEC school. But that’s been the Conway wide receiver’s experience in his first on-field time as a Gamecock.
And he’s made an impression on wide receivers coach/co-offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon.
“I think Bryan is a very, very intelligent,” McClendon said. “And he’s very coachable. That’s something that he kind of came up here with. He allows you to coach him and coach him hard and understand that everything is for his benefit a little bit.”
South Carolina came into the spring with no established targets. Only three of the receivers on the roster have seen time in a game, and while Matrick Belton and Deebo Samuel have a few starts under their belt, neither has much of a role to fall back on. While that could help a new regime, McClendon said there wasn’t too much benefit, since only three players know what it takes to get on the field.
Along with Edwards, the Gamecocks are in line to bring in four more freshman wide receivers this summer. With plenty of competition and jobs still open, Edwards has the ability to emerge.
“Obviously he has the natural ball skills, very good size, can bend very well, transition his weight and drop his weight, all that other stuff,” McClendon said. “He has the tools to be a good player. Just got to make sure the production meets the talent.”
The Gamecocks have come through the spring without linebacker Skai Moore, the man who led them in tackles three seasons in a row and interceptions two of the past three years, because of a neck strain.
That’s opened up some opportunities for other players, which ideally leads to more depth once the season gets under way. Still, Gamecocks co-defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson is looking forward to when his anchor in the middle returns.
“I like good players,” Robinson said. “Obviously Skai is a really good player, he’s a talented young man. So when he heals up and is ready to roll, it’ll be a great addition to the deal. But our guys are doing a great job of playing around him. He’s not out there right now, so those guys are doing a great job of playing and adjusting.
“We kind of go by the motto, man down, man up. And now we’ve got to man up.”
Missing in action
Backup quarterback Lorenzo Nunez (hyperextended knee) was still out of pads and in a yellow no-contact jersey. Muschamp had hoped to have him available this week and said he would know more about the situation Tuesday.
It’s a common sight to see clusters of high school recruits, along with coaches, friends and family, on the sidelines of South Carolina’s practice, but Tuesday, the Gamecocks got a little more in the way of visitors. The entire Indian Land Football teams was present, coming off a 7-5 season last year.
Also in attendance was York coach Bobby Carroll, who coached Gamecock stars Jadeveon Clowney and Stephon Gilmore at South Pointe.