USC Gamecocks Football

Jake Bentley thinks freshman South Carolina receivers ‘can be really great one day’

Gamecocks happy with depth at wide receiver position

South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp discusses his group of 2019 wide receivers.
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South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp discusses his group of 2019 wide receivers.

South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley has a few new targets to work with this season.

USC returned most of its 2018 receiver group, minus top target Deebo Samuel, but it did add a pair of true freshman targets who have been on campus all summer in Keveon Mullins and Xavier Legette.

Being around means a chance to work with the veterans in unofficial drills, and the fourth-year starting signal caller left impressed.

“Two guys that came in and picked up the offense very well,” Bentley said. “Really showing flashes that they can be really great one day.”

Mullins was a four-star recruit out of the Memphis area and part of a state runner-up team. He had more than 500 yards as a senior and more than 1,000 as a sophomore.

Legette spent his last high school season as a quarterback, but he’d already shown the physical gifts (speed, leaping ability, etc.) to catch the eye of USC’s staff. Doing damage with the ball in his hands, he ran for more than 1,800 yards his final high school season and led Mullins High School to a banner season.

But for a guy who had not played receiver full-time in more than a year, he hasn’t shown much rust.

“He’s out there running crisp routes, has good hands and like I said, he’s real fast,” cornerback Jaycee Horn.

Bentley saw a player who could add some high upside to the Gamecocks passing game, describing him as “more of an explosive one, faster.”

The Gamecocks return two wide receiver starters from last year’s squad, plus a 2017 de facto starter in OrTre Smith, who missed 2018 with a knee condition. The set of options behind them includes the likes of Josh Vann, Chad Terrell, upperclassmen Chavis Dawkins and Randrecous Davis and a few others.

Bentley compared Mullins to Smith (6-foot-4, 220 pounds), despite a 3-inch high difference (they weigh the same), calling Mullins “a strong guy, big guy, attacks the ball well.”

On film, Mullins showed run-after-catch power, breaking tackles all over and running though players. Horn has gone against him in practice and has a good sense of what that well-built receiver can do.

“He’s a big body, real physical off the line of scrimmage,” Mullins said. “So you got to have your feet in the dirt when you’re going against Kevion.”

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