But when it comes to pure blinding speed and raw strength, South Carolina football players mostly had other names in mind.
At USC’s media day on Aug. 2, The State polled nine Gamecocks on who USC’s strongest and fastest players are. Here are their responses.
“The strongest guy on the defense? I’m gonna have to go with (junior defensive lineman) Javon Kinlaw,” Wonnum said. “The fastest? (Senior cornerback) Rashad Fenton.”
“I’m not gonna lie, what’s that freshman offensive guard? Jovaughn Gwyn? He’s one of the strongest,” senior linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams said. “(Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman) Sadarius Hutcherson is one of the strongest. (Redshirt senior tight end) K.C. Crosby. We got a lot of guys who put up a lot of weight. (Junior linebacker) TJ Brunson too. (Sophomore wide receiver) Shi Smith is definitely up there as one of the fastest on the team.”
Smith had confidence in himself too: “Me or (redshirt junior running back) A.J. Turner.”
As for the strongest? “Sadarius Hutcherson.”
“Yeah, I am,” Hutcherson said. As for the fastest: “I’m not really looking, but I’d probably have to go with Shi or (senior cornerback Keisean) Nixon.
Hutcherson’s fellow offensive lineman, senior Blake Camper, had a similar answer for the question about speed.
“Either Keisean Nixon or Shi Smith or Deebo. We haven’t seen them just full out race each other,” he said.
Camper split his vote for strongest between Hutcherson and redshirt junior offensive lineman Donell Stanley, who also was mentioned by fellow lineman Zack Bailey, a senior.
“Donell is obviously a big guy, and he can squat 500, 600 (pounds), with ease, like it’s chump change to him,” Bailey said.
Proportionally, though, Bailey said senior tight end K.C. Crosby, who weighs 86 pounds fewer than Stanely, might be the strongest.
“Pound for pound, I’d probably put K.C. Crosby over him. He squats like 500 something, 600 pounds,” Bailey said.
Crosby’s fellow tight end, redshirt senior Jacob August, agreed.
“K.C. is one of the strongest. Pound for pound, for sure,” he said.
August’s pick for fastest was on the opposite side of the ball — Nixon. That’s an answer junior wide receiver Bryan Edwards disagreed with, listing four different offensive players, including himself, first.
“Summer workouts, I was winning a lot of races, but Shi’s a very fast guy, Deebo’s a very fast guy,” Edwards said. “We never really lined up and just raced to see who the fastest was. ... A.J. would check in there.”
Sophomore defensive lineman Aaron Sterling was the most diplomatic in his response.
“I don’t know how to answer that question. We got some speedy guys. We got some fast guys,” Sterling said. “When we’re working out, it’s neck and neck.”
Fastest player by number of mentions
Shi Smith (5)
Keisean Nixon (3)
Deebo Samuel (2)
A.J. Turner (2)
Bryan Edwards (1)
Rashad Fenton (1)
Strongest player by number of mentions
Sadarius Hutcherson (4)
K.C. Crosby (3)
Donell Stanley (2)
Javon Kinlaw (1)
T.J. Brunson (1)
Jovaughn Gwyn (1)