USC Gamecocks Football

Rosendo Louis’ promise didn’t yield production last year. Can he help USC in 2019?

Rosendo Louis’ first season as a Gamecock started with promise. Looking forward to his second, a larger question looms.

The Gamecocks staff spoke highly of what he’d be able to contribute as a true freshman through last offseason. He played the first two games, then didn’t get off the bench in four of the next five contests.

Then he missed the entirety of spring with an injury. Now, the coaching staff and Will Muschamp have a decision to make when he next takes the field.

“We think he can do some different things for us as far as playing outside and playing inside,” Muschamp said. “So I think we really need to drill down on a spot for him as we get into fall camp.”

The 6-foot-2 South Florida product played last season at 242 pounds and is now listed at 247. He was listed as the No. 2 middle linebacker at the end of August.

Louis was a four-star inside linebacker recruit who flipped from Florida State on the early signing day in 2017. Gamecocks linebackers coach Coleman Hutzler called him a tackling machine in high school and when he got on campus.

He was eventually forced into action, moved to strongside linebacker as injuries knocked out Bryson Allen-Williams and Daniel Fennell (Allen-Williams was also playing a lot of end).

He made 12 total tackles, five in a blowout win against FCS Chattanooga. He missed the bowl game with a lingering shoulder injury, which meant walk-on Spencer Eason Riddle ended up playing 32 snaps in his place.

The Gamecocks linebacker corps has continuity this offseason, returning nearly everyone, but is looking for more play-making. They’re led by starters T.J. Brunson and Sherrod Greene and adding freshmen Derek Boykins and Jahmar Brown.

But no one has stood out enough to be secure in their position, and if Louis can get right in terms of his health, he might be able to deliver on the promise coaches saw from him before last season.

“He had shoulder surgery, so he didn’t go through spring,” Muschamp said. “So he’s got to really make up some time as far as summer is concerned. We need to make sure he’s in physical condition, and then obviously get his shoulder right. We think he’s on track as far as those things are concerned.”