Gamecocks OL Sadarius Hutcherson battling for starting job
South Carolina's football team doesn't offer a ton of options for a traditional breakout player.
All four returning receivers have been starters, and the top four runners are back, as is the quarterback. No one has separated himself at tight end, and there isn't much clarity as to which new faces will be stepping in for the five defensive starters departing.
So when ESPN picked a breakout player for USC from the spring, it came from a non-traditional spot: offensive guard.
In a list picking a player from each team in the Way-Too-Early Top 25, the Gamecocks' was Sadarius Hutcherson, a 6-foot-4, 316-pound projected starter up front.
"With Jake Bentley at quarterback and Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards at receiver, the Gamecocks' passing game has a chance to be special," Alex Scarborough wrote. "But it needs protection, and it might have found a key in that respect in former defensive line recruit and current offensive (line) standout Hutcherson, who was one of two offensive players of the spring."
Hutcherson started four games as a redshirt freshman, getting thrown into the fire when Cory Helms and Donell Stanley were hurt at different points. He struggled with pass protection early on, but flashed the potential of his athletic ceiling, which teammates have talked about at several points.
He was listed as a defensive recruit and played in an extremely run-heavy offense in high school. After his redshrit year, at least one Gamecocks guessed he could be a starter. He move from tackle to guard and looks to be the odd-on favorite to replace Helms in the lineup (former guard Donell Stanley is moving to center, and Zack Bailey is moving back to guard from tackle).