South Carolina's 5 most important newcomers on offense
South Carolina’s offense is all but set across the Top 11 but there’s some room for depth to emerge in 2017. Here are five players who could provide that depth, or perhaps even earn a starting job:
In five games as a reserve in 2015 at North Carolina, the 6-foot, 209-pound sophomore running back rushed for 57 yards. Afterward, the Sumter native transferred to South Carolina, where he sat out the 2016 season due to NCAA transfer rules. He impressed his teammates and coaches with an aggressive and slashing running style on the scout team last year. Now, he will push returning starter Rico Dowdle for carries.
The 6-foot-4, 229-pound freshman wide receiver graduated from Wando High School early and participated in spring practice, but a lingering ankle injury from high school limited him early on. By the time Smith got healthy later in the spring, he began to look like he could be another target right away from Jake Bentley. Smith was considered the No. 1 recruit in the state of South Carolina last year by 247Sports.com’s composite rankings.
The 5-foot-10, 181-pound freshman wide receiver is the complement to OrTre Smith in this signing class. Shi Smith, a Union native, is a shifty, slot receiver who could compete right away for a starting return job. Smith’s ceiling this year is probably as the top backup to Deebo Samuel, which would be a nice understudy role considering Samuel might be gone after this season.
The 6-foot-4, 196-pound freshman was the only quarterback South Carolina signed in 2017. Ranked the 15th-best dual threat quarterback in nation by the 247Sports.com composite ranking system, Urich will compete for the backup job with Michael Scarnecchia right away. Given that the Gamecocks season probably hangs on the health of starting quarterback Jake Bentley, not many fans want to think about the fallback position, but it will be on head coach Will Muschamp’s mind.
Yes, the crown jewel of South Carolina’s signing class is a defensive back, but that doesn’t mean he won’t make an impact on the offense. The 5-foot-9, 174-pound Georgia native will get a chance to return kicks right away, an area where he was “instant offense” in high school. The coaching staff also discussed during Williams’ recruiting process the possibility of taking a few snaps on offense.