Muschamp on scheduling
South Carolina has one of the toughest football schedules in the nation this fall because it faces some of the most assemblages of talent in the country next season.
We’ve put together a scary summer reading list — the nine most explosive offensive players the Gamecocks will see in 2019. This list is based on order of appearance on USC’s schedule and not their relative worth.
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa
The 6-foot-1 Hawaiian, whose full first name is Tuanigamanuolepola, led Alabama to a comeback win in the 2017 national title game and then to the 2018 national title game. In his only full season as a starter, he had 3,966 passing yards, 43 touchdowns and three interceptions. He completed 69 percent of his passes and rushed for another five touchdowns.
Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy
The 2018 Biletnikoff Award winner averaged 19.3 yards per catch last year on the way to 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns. The 6-foot-1 junior can fly and his matchup against Jaycee Horn will be one of the best head-to-head battles of South Carolina’s upcoming season.
Missouri tailback Larry Rountree III
The 5-foot-10 junior had one of the best second halves in the country last year. He finished the season with three straight 100-yard games, including 204 on the ground in a bowl game loss to Oklahoma State. He had 1,216 yards on the season. Rountree could have the biggest rushing day of any individual USC opponent this year.
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm
The junior quarterback has thrown for 54 touchdowns and 13 interceptions since taking over the starting job early in his true freshman season. He has led the Bulldogs to two SEC championship games (and one conference title) and the CFP national title game. In two career games against South Carolina, he is 31-of-40 for 390 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The good news is, this might be the last time the Gamecocks have to face him.
Georgia running back D’Andre Swift
The former five-star recruit finally gets a chance to take the starring role in the Bulldogs backfield. The 215-pound Philadelphia native rushed for 1,049 yards last year despite being slowed through the middle part of the season due to injury. When he was healthy, he had 186 rushing yards against Auburn, one of the nation’s best defenses.
Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks
Don’t laugh. The much-maligned junior, who had to shush his own fans during last year’s South Carolina game, became the latest player to benefit from Dan Mullen’s quarterback coaching. Franks threw for 2,457 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions in Mullen’s first season as head coach. He also was the first Florida quarterback to start every game of a season since 2010.
Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond
Like Franks, Mond has benefited from a new head coach with a reputation for making quarterbacks better. (Jimbo Fisher in Mond’s case.) Unlike Franks, Mond gave South Carolina fits even before the change. He threw for 159 yards and rushed for another 95 as a true freshman against the Gamecocks in 2017. Last year, he threw for 353 yards against USC, and he figures to be better this year.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence
Either the first- or second-best player on this list, Lawrence threw for 3,280 yards, 30 touchdowns and four interceptions as a true freshman last year. The owner of likely the most talented arm in college football, he will be a problem for South Carolina, and everyone else, for two more seasons. Remember the chorus of folks suggesting Jadeveon Clowney should sit out his junior season? South Carolina fans should start a #SitTrevorSit2020 campaign now.
Clemson running back Travis Etienne
There’s a reason such a highly touted recruit as Tavien Feaster is transferring from Clemson (and might very well end up at South Carolina). Etienne is the real deal. The 5-foot-10 junior rushed for 1,658 yards last season, averaging 8.1 yards every time he carried the ball. He totaled 15 touchdowns.