South Carolina football heads into the Appalachian State game this weekend with question marks around top rusher Tavien Feaster and his injured groin. But the Gamecocks are getting six players back after they missed the Vanderbilt game or more.
For the second consecutive season, it has been that kind of year on the injury front.
Nine games in, USC has lost multiple starters on offense for longer stretches, and several notable defensive players. Based on rough calculations, cross checking injury lists and participation charts, the Gamecocks’ total games missed has piled up in a big way.
Tally it together, it’s conservatively 71 games.
That only counts players who either are proven rotation players or likely would be because of need.
That doesn’t even count the group of:
▪ Defensive lineman Devontae Davis, whose role in the rotation was unclear and was lost for all nine games thus far.
▪ Offensive lineman Hank Manos, who lost a starting spot and has been sidelined by an ankle for the past seven games.
The team is set to add 12 more missed games with Jake Bentley, Jaylin Dickerson done for the year, Nick Muse’s torn ACL against Vanderbilt and Josh Vann’s broken hand against Vanderbilt.
The spree of injuries has claimed a starting quarterback for eight games, a starting running back for two. It has forced the team to play a third string right tackle or go into games with only five defensive backs it trusts.
And that’s in a year when new quarterback Ryan Hilinski dealt with knee and elbow issues for much of his starting time.
A season ago, USC lost at least 116 games to injuries, not counting players who might not have made the rotation such as Tyreek Johnson or Chad Terrell. That’s about 8.9 per game as compared to 7.8 per game this season.
Below is a mostly full listing of Gamecocks, how many games they have missed and various injuries:
▪ Safety Jaylin Dickerson 9 games (hip)
▪ Keir Thomas 9 (ankle)
▪ Randrecous Davis 9 (ankle)
▪ Jake Bentley 8 (foot)
▪ Brad Johnson 7 (groin)
▪ Kevin Harris 5 (ligament surgery)
▪ Dylan Wonnum 5 (ankle)
▪ Dakereon Joyner 3 (hamstring) spent four weeks as emergency QB, being forced to play one game
▪ Damani Staley 3 (toe)
▪ AJ Turner 3 (hamstring, shoulder)
▪ Rico Dowdle 2 (knee)
▪ Shi Smith 1 (hamstring)
▪ Fenwick 1 (shoulder) as an edge of the rotation player, only counting the game Will Muschamp said he missed
▪ OrTre Smith 1 (knee)
▪ J.T. Ibe 1 (pec strain)
▪ Jahmar Brown 1 (shoulder)
▪ Jaylen Nichols 1 (ankle)
▪ Eric Douglas 1 (leg)
▪ Chavis Dawkins 1 (hamstring)