USC Gamecocks Football

Daniel Fennell rises to Gamecocks’ top Buck through work ethic

dmclemore@thestate.com

One of the most surprising sights on South Carolina’s post-spring depth chart was Daniel Fennell making an appearance at the No. 1 Buck spot.

The redshirt freshman was and still is listed as a linebacker on the depth chart. He wasn’t a particularly highly rated recruit and wasn’t on the receiving end of much hype through last season.

Yet the 6-foot-2, 235-pounder did some things to catch coach Will Muschamp’s eye.

“Work ethic was something I was really pleased with,” Muschamp said. “Consistency in his performance. Came out and worked every day.”

That’s how Fennell found himself listed ahead of Darius English, a fifth-year senior who led the team in sacks last season, and Boosie Whitlow, a true sophomore who showed flashed in limited time with five tackles for loss and three starts.

The Buck position was a nebulous spot throughout the spring. The staff said it wants to put its best and most versatile pass rusher there, but at least four or five players worked in the spot, and the listed starter out of spring has never taken a college snap.

Fennell was a three-star prospect out of Georgia powerhouse Grayson, alma mater of Ole Miss star Robert Nkemdiche. Fennell chose the Gamecocks over a slew of Power Five offers, including Michigan State, Miami and Texas A&M.

He was a late addition to the 2015 class, joining up in December of his senior year, and has added 20 pounds to his frame since arriving on campus.

Although a depth chart this early is completely fluid, it does say something about what the staff sees in a young player.

“A guy that’s got a lot of character and a guy that’s got some toughness to him,” Muschamp said. “A lot of the intangible things we want in our program are things that he possesses.”

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