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McKnight back at DE among depth chart moves

Defensive end Byron McKnight works in drills during USC football practice Saturday, Aug. 2.
Defensive end Byron McKnight works in drills during USC football practice Saturday, Aug. 2.

South Carolina has updated its depth chart, which looks much like it did before spring practice.

A couple of notables: Byron McKnight has returned to defensive end after a spring cameo at tight end. I think that’s a good move. McKnight is an energetic pass rusher who can help the Gamecocks more on defense – even in a situational role – than offense.

The play of walk-on TE Andrew Power during the spring made it easy for coaches to send McKnight back to defense. Power, a redshirt freshman from Myrtle Beach, was not on the pre-spring depth chart. Now he’s listed as the backup to starter Weslye Saunders.

Still, I think Steve Spurrier will look for spots to get starting DE Cliff Matthews a few snaps at tight end this fall. Spurrier is committed to getting his best athletes more involved in every aspect of the game, which is why he has continued to talk about using starting CB Stephon Gilmore in spot duty at quarterback.

Gilmore and Akeem Auguste are the starting corners. Senior Darian Stewart is No. 1 at strong safety, but that situation remains fluid.

Ellis Johnson believes Stewart’s best position is ‘Spur,’ and will spend August evaluating whether the Gamecocks are best with Alonzo Winfield at Spur and Stewart at strong, or with Stewart at Spur and freshman DeVonte Holloman at strong.

Not surprisingly, the players who were suspended for spring practice dropped on the depth chart. But DT Ladi Ajiboye, listed on the second team behind Travian Robertson, figures to be in the starting lineup at N.C. State.

The status of CB C.C. Whitlock remains in limbo. But assuming Whitlock is reinstated and academically eligible, he likely will not be a third-teamer for long.