Among the most pressing questions about South Carolina’s preseason depth chart was whether or not the Gamecocks would actually release one. There is a growing trend in college football that coaches either don’t release a depth chart or sprinkle in so many “ORs” – as in this guy will start OR that guy will start – the paper provides no useful information.
South Carolina participated in the no-information campaign last year by keeping its preseason depth chart in its media notes throughout the season, leading some folks to wonder each week if Deebo Samuel really had made a miraculous recovery from a broken leg and would start that week.
On Tuesday, Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp did in fact release a depth chart. There weren’t a lot of questions to be answered for his third team at South Carolina. Essentially every top spot on the offense and most on the defense was a known commodity last week. The one exception to this was in the secondary, and there was in fact some news there Tuesday.
The biggest surprise was to see Rice graduate transfer J.T. Ibe in the starting lineup at safety. Ibe missed the first two weeks of fall practice after hip surgery, and Texas A&M graduate transfer Nick Harvey was talked about by the coaching staff much more in fall camp. Harvey, though, is listed as a backup headed into the Coastal Carolina game.
“J.T. after being cleared I think did a fantastic job of grasping our defense and what we do,” said Muschamp, who mentioned being impressed with Ibe’s “physicality.”
Another player listed as a backup is Jamyest Williams. This would not be a surprise for most true sophomores, but Williams is not most true sophomores. Last year, he was the jewel of South Carolina’s signing class and he started six games at nickel back last year. This year, heralded freshman Jaycee Horn has taken over the starting nickel back position, according to the depth chart. (Williams will play some nickel this year, Muschamp said.)
“It’s all about getting your best four and five out there. We recognized very early in camp that Jaycee was going to be one of those guys,” Muschamp said.
Williams missed spring practice after having shoulder surgery and his spot with the second team is not necessarily a bad sign for his future. It is interesting, though.
Horn is the only true freshman listed as a starter, but he’s not the only true freshman on the two-deep. Wide receiver Josh Vann, offensive linemen Jovaughn Gwynn and Dylan Wonnum, defensive lineman Kingsley (J.J.) Enagbare, cornerback Israel Mukuamu and linebacker Rosendo Louis also found their names there.
Defensive lineman Rick Sandidge almost found his name there, Muschamp said.
“I see J.J. and Ricky playing about the same snaps on Saturday, I don’t see any difference there,” Muschamp said.
The only remaining question mark about the offense is at running back where Rico Dowdle, Ty’Son Williams, A.J. Turner and Mon Denson all are listed as “OR” starters.
“I would envision all four playing. All four deserve it,” Muschamp said. “We need to get competition at every position like that. They have made our football team better because of that competition.”
USC Depth Chart
OR Ty’Son Williams
OR A.J. Turner
OR Mon Denson
OR Brad Johnson