South Carolina opens spring practice on Feb. 28. Between now and then, The State will take a position-by-position look at the Gamecocks roster. Today, we look at special teams.
Kickoff Returner Deebo Samuel, Senior, 6-0, 215 pounds – Samuel returned two kickoffs before his injury in 2017. He took both of them 97 yards for touchdowns. It’s a safe bet that he didn’t lose his starting job to the injury.
Kickoff Returner A.J. Turner, Junior, 5-10, 184 pounds – Turner returned 11 kicks for 188 yards in 2017.
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Kickoff Returner Rashad Fenton, Senior, 5-10, 184 pounds – Fenton returned 10 kicks of 209 yards in 2017, and it looks like he and Turner will compete to be Samuel’s sidekick.
Punter Joseph Charlton, Junior, 6-5, 190 pounds – The Columbia native averaged 44.3 yards per kick last season, which ranked sixth in the SEC.
Long Snapper Ben Asbury, Senior, 5-10, 210 pounds – Asbury will miss spring practice after having ACL surgery.
Place-kicker Parker White, Sophomore, 6-4, 195 pounds – White took 25 of the Gamecocks’ 28 field-goal attempts last year, but he was too shaky to be listed as a returning starter. White hit 14 of his 25 attempts and was 4-of-14 from beyond 40 yards.
Place-kicker Shane Hynes, Senior, 5-10, 166 pounds – A graduate transfer from Kent State, Hynes hasn’t officially been added to the roster yet and isn’t expected in spring practice, but he’ll have a shot at the job in the fall.
Place-kicker Alexander Woznick, sophomore, 5-11, 164 pounds – The former top high school kicking prospect entered last fall as the odds-on favorite to win the starting job but hit just 1-of-3 attempts and never got another chance despite White’s struggles.
Punt Returner – Chris Lammons returned every punt for the Gamecocks last season, and he’s gone now. That could open up the door for defensive back Jamyest Williams, who is dynamic with the ball in his hands. Williams will not participate in spring practice because of a shoulder injury, though, so look for Shi Smith, Randrecous Davis and others to get some chances.