Athlon Sports doesn't expect South Carolina to repeat as SEC East champions.
In fact, one of the country’s largest preseason magazine publishers has picked the Gamecocks to finish third in their division this year. Athlon is releasing its preseason Top 25 team-by-team this offseason and announced Friday that it expects South Carolina to come in No. 21 nationally in 2011.
The magazine predicts sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore will be a first-team All-American at season’s end and predicts wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, defensive end Devin Taylor and cornerback Stephon Gilmore will be second-team All-Americans.
Interestingly, the magazine clearly expects big things from Jadeveon Clowney. The incoming freshman defensive end appears on its preseason All-SEC second team along with Rokevious Watkins. Defensive linemen Travian Robertson and Melvin Ingram are on the All-SEC third team. Lattimore, Jeffery, Taylor and Gilmore are first-team selections.
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“The Gamecocks return two of the best skill guys in the country and a solid defensive line from last year’s division winner,” says Athlon Sports managing editor Mitch Light.
Athlon rated South Carolina’s defensive line the third best in the country and its running back unit (which essentially means Lattimore) the fourth-best in the country.
Athlon’s magazine is expected to be on newsstands in South Carolina in the first week of June. The South Carolina regional cover will feature Lattimore and Jeffery.
Collegefootballnews.com was more kind to the Gamecocks in its recent predictions, putting South Carolina at No. 10 nationally in its post-spring practice rankings.