Josh Kendall

Gamecocks spring practice has secondary questions

South Carolina’s Shawn Elliott pulls South Carolina cornerback Chris Lammons (3) aside
South Carolina’s Shawn Elliott pulls South Carolina cornerback Chris Lammons (3) aside

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. 10

There are a lot of familiar names in South Carolina’s secondary. Chaz Elder is still around, as are Jasper Sasser and D.J. Smith and Rico McWilliams and Chris Lammons. The challenge for the Gamecocks this spring is to form a cohesive secondary out of a group that hasn’t produced a consistent effort.

Elder, a former four-star prospect still looking to make his mark as a senior, is back at safety after getting a shot at cornerback. Sasser, Smith, Darin Smalls and Toure Boyd also are in the mix at safety.

Cornerback is no more settled than safety. Lammons appears the most likely to hang onto a starting spot, but Rashad Fenton may be the most interesting name in the group. Fenton showed great promise last year (including with a kickoff return for a touchdown) but was suspended twice last season for what former head coach Steve Spurrier described as academic lapses.

South Carolina had hoped to get junior college transfer Jamarcus King, a four-star prospect, to campus in time to compete for a starting cornerback spot this spring, but King was unable to enroll early enough. Now players such as Fenton, newcomer Chris Smith and veteran Rico McWilliams have a chance to gain a foothold in the rotation before King arrives this summer.

134.76 The average passer rating South Carolina allowed last season, a figure that ranked 83rd nationally and 13th in the SEC