South Carolina’s football team opens spring practice Feb. 28. There are plenty of players who have something to prove. Here are five worth keeping an eye on:
K.C. Crosby – The 6-foot-1, 242-pound senior looked to be making some progress when he suffered a broken leg midway through the season. He finished the year with two catches for 11 yards, down from 23 catches for 217 yards as a sophomore. The one-time, four-star prospect has one more chance for a breakout season, and it will be interesting to see how new offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon tries to take advantage of Crosby’s athleticism.
Randrecous Davis – The 5-foot-10, 186-pound sophomore has been limited by injuries in each of his first two seasons. He played in two games as a true freshman before a hamstring injury ended his year and resulted in a medical redshirt season. Another soft tissue injury limited him to three catches for 32 yards last year, and the South Carolina coaches are very eager to get him on the field to take advantage of his speed. A big spring could set him up to be a regular contributor in the wide receiver rotation this fall.
Kobe Smith – The 6-foot-2, 286-pound junior could end up being a starter alongside Javon Kinlaw in the middle of the defensive line. He played in all 13 games last year and finished with 13 tackles and 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Kinlaw has taken the role of space-eater in the middle, and Smith can play off of that well with his athleticism. He needs to take a step forward this spring.
Keir Thomas – The 6-foot-2, 262-pound junior could be the second pass rusher that South Carolina desperately needs on the end. Junior D.J. Wonnum is the Gamecocks top pass rusher and is expected to get even better, but Wonnum needs a running mate and Thomas could be that guy. He had 38 tackles, 4.5 tackles-for-loss and two sacks last year while starting 11 games last year.
Ty’Son Williams – The 6-foot, 215-pound junior looked like South Carolina’s best back for a brief moment early last season. Against Missouri, Louisiana Tech and Texas A&M, he averaged 82 yards per game. In the other 10 games, he averaged 24.2 yards. Starting running back A.J. Turner and Rico Dowdle are also back for their junior years and somebody needs to emerge from this pack to give the Gamecocks more consistency in the run game.