Josh Kendall

Perimeter playmakers in short supply for Gamecocks

Sophomore Deebo Samuel, who caught 12 passes last season, counts as a veteran in this group of pass catchers.
Sophomore Deebo Samuel, who caught 12 passes last season, counts as a veteran in this group of pass catchers. mbergen@thestate.com

South Carolina starts its first practice under Will Muschamp on March 15. The State will take the 15 days of the month leading up to that to look at 15 “keys” for the Gamecocks as they prepare for Muschamp’s first season. This is No. 9.

None of South Carolina’s new assistant coaches will hit the ground with a bigger challenge than wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon.

McClendon, a former wide receiver and assistant coach at Georgia, made his name in the business as one of college football’s top recruiters. He’ll have to back that up with some serious on-field coaching this year.

The group of wideouts he inherits struggled last year and must replace its best player – Pharoh Cooper – from that unit. Sophomore Deebo Samuel, who caught 12 passes last season, counts as a veteran in this group of pass catchers. The promising D.J. Neal and Shaq Davidson are gone after offseason transfers.

So McClendon has to coax something this spring out of guys who so far have been bit players like Terry Googer and Matrick Belton. If freshman early enrollee Bryan Edwards is healthy enough after sustaining a high school knee injury to get some serious work this spring, look for his name to pop up a lot.

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