Drew Owens sees a lot of similarities in himself and teammate and fellow tight end Rory Anderson.
Both are fast and physical, Owens said, and both can catch and block.
“He’s a great athlete,” Owens said of Anderson. “He’s a rare breed of a tight end, like we all are here.”
The roommates were part of the South Carolina's 2011 signing class. Rivals ranked Owens the No. 19 tight end; Anderson was No. 26.
Owens, a redshirt freshman, watched from the sidelines last year as Anderson joined veteran Justice Cunningham in the Gamecocks’ lineup. Owens found the silver lining in redshirting and hopes to make a good impression this spring.
“I didn’t want to believe at first. I was really down on it,” he said of redshirting. “Then I had to start thinking about the positives. I started thinking about how I get an extra year to get my schooling down and be able to get physically ready for next year.”
At 6-foot-6, Owens is the tallest of South Carolina’s deep group of tight ends. At 245 pounds, he’s about 25 pounds heavier than Anderson and 20 pounds lighter than senior Justice Cunningham.
They’re joined by sophomore Corey Simmons and true freshman Kelvin Rainey. Jerell Adams will join the fold in the summer.
“We’re all of the sudden loaded at tight end we think, with a lot of guys with the ability to play,” Steve Spurrier said.
New position coach Joe Robinson has been impressed with Owens and his tight end teammates.
“I think we’ve got as good of depth as we could hope for, and depth means competing hard and pushing each other,” Robinson said.
Owens said he gained about 10 pounds of muscle in the offseason. He focused on getting faster, bigger and stronger during winter workouts.
He’s happy with weighing 245 pounds.
“I feel like that’s a great weight for me to play at,” he said. “I feel like I can be physical. At the same time I still have my speed.”
Owens had 25 catches for 524 yards and five touchdowns as a senior at Ardrey Kell High in Charlotte. He picked USC over Michigan, North Carolina and N.C. State.
This spring, he wants to prove he can be a good teammate and be a complete tight end.
“I just want to show my talent, let the coaches see that I’m ready to play,” Owens said. “My mind is mentally ready to play. I’m physically ready to play. ... Hopefully the stars will align and I’ll be able to do what I have to do on Saturday afternoons.”