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Gamecocks Spring Game: One Player to Watch at Every Position 

Gamecocks position Spring

The value of the Spring Game is a casualty of the changing landscape of college football. The pressure to increase player safety and the need for entertainment from a fundraising standpoint has created a Spring Game environment across the country that offers little in terms of true evaluation of team progress. Individual players will flash and showcase their ability on Saturday night in Williams-Brice Stadium. Some familiar faces will reprise roles as key contributors in 2024. However, many newcomers will get their first shot at playing in front of the Gamecock crowd. Here are the players to watch for the Gamecocks this Spring at each position.


An argument can be made that Robby Ashford deserves a look due to his athletic ability and experience. But LaNorris Sellers is the guy at the quarterback position for the Gamecocks this Spring and moving forward. His upside is too high to list another player here. Sellers has the physical tools at 6-3 and 240 pounds with a strong arm to be a high-caliber SEC player. He showcased his ability to throw the deep ball and back shoulder throws, work through his progression, and run for big yards in 2023. The sample size was small, but by all accounts, he is the face of the South Carolina Football program. There won’t be much to see in a Spring Game environment, but all eyes will still be on Sellers.

Running Back

Both Gamecock players with SEC experience at the running back position are injured this Spring. So, other players will get a shot to prove themselves. We are watching sophomore Jawarn Howell, who just transferred from South Carolina State. Howell is built like an every-down back in the SEC and averaged over nine yards per carry in his freshman season. The Gamecocks could easily showcase four backs in 2024, but beyond this season, Howell could be the featured back with All-SEC ability in 2025.

Wide Receiver

The Gamecocks took three quality transfers at the receiver position and are in the market for more in the current portal window. However, freshman Mazeo “MJ” Bennett is the player to watch at this position. Bennett is the highest-rated receiver recruit of the Shane Beamer era. He needs a year to develop into the size needed to compete at the highest level in the SEC. However, his natural ability to catch the football, no matter where it is, and make plays after the catch put him at the top of the list of receivers to watch.

Tight End

At 6-6 and 250 pounds, Ball State transfer Brady Hunt stands to make a major impact at tight end. His frame makes him a big target in the passing game but allows him to hold his ground well from a blocking standpoint. Most would look at his measurables and assume he primarily plays a traditional blocking tight-end role. In 2022, Nate Adkins played a similar role for much of the season before former OC Marcus Satterfield discovered Adkins’s ability to impact the passing game. It will not take this staff three-quarters of the season to make that discovery with Hunt. His pass-catching ability is well-documented. Hunt is a versatile threat who will create a routine mismatch against defenders. 

Offensive Line

Torricelli Simpkins was an All-American and conference offensive lineman of the year for North Carolina Central in 2023. His former position coach at NCCU, Cedric Williams, who also played for the Gamecocks, is on record stating the potential impact that Simpkins can have for Carolina. Simpkins has been primarily taking second-team center reps during Spring practice. However, we look for him to be a starter by the season opener against Old Dominion on August 31. 

Defensive Tackle

Thanks to retention and addition, the Carolina defensive line is much deeper in 2024. A transfer from Pitt, DeAndre Jules is the player to watch at this position for the Gamecocks this Spring. He brings size and athleticism along with experience. Jules has shown plenty of ability and growth throughout Spring practice. While it’s difficult for defensive linemen to make flashy plays during a Spring Game (since the quarterbacks cannot be hit), keep an eye on how frequently Jules sheds his blocker and fills the gaps in the run game.


A few key transfers will bolster the edges for the Gamecocks in 2024, but Dylan Stewart is too much of a freak athlete not to be at the top of the list of players to watch at this position in the Spring. The incoming freshman has a lot of hype to live up to. No player should ever be compared to Jadeveon Clowney, who was in another stratosphere from a raw ability standpoint, but even Clowney didn’t start during his freshman season. Stewart could start in the fall and will almost certainly be in the two-deep. Look out for number six to see the quickness of his first step when the ball is snapped.


The Gamecocks return one of the SEC’s leading tacklers in Debo Williams, and his running mate Bam Martin-Scott has gotten a lot of spring attention. Two fast transfers will also contribute at linebacker. But don’t forget about the freshmen. JayR Johnson is the young linebacker we will be watching closely on Saturday. Beamer mentioned Johnson by name at one of his first press conferences of the spring. Clearly, the young player made enough plays to get the attention of his head coach quickly. Johnson and fellow freshman Wendell Gregory will likely get many reps on Saturday night. Their size is a great asset, but great linebacker play is instinctual. Look for false steps and see how the freshmen are coming along mentally during Spring practice.


The second starting corner spot battle is a hot topic during Gamecocks Spring practice. Emory Floyd is right in the thick of that battle. Floyd was recruited for his track speed, and in 2024, he is leaving the track behind to focus solely on football. This allows the redshirt sophomore to increase his ceiling. Splitting time between sports is difficult, especially when football is involved. Floyd has good size and length at 6’1. The battle at the corner position will not be settled in the Gamecocks’ Garnet and Black Spring Game, but the speedy Floyd can make great strides before fall camp. 


Safety is the deepest position on the roster for the Gamecocks, even with the recent loss of Zahbari Sandy to an ACL tear. Because the starters are firmly in place for 2024, we are looking further down the depth chart in this position. Freshman Kelvin Hunter is a key part of the future at safety in Columbia. At 6’ and 190 pounds, Hunter is a bit smaller than what the Gamecocks currently have at the position, but he can be described as a heat-seeking missile when coming downhill to make a play on the ball. His development in coverage is key to his future contributions. 

The Gamecocks will play the annual Garnet and Black Spring Game on Saturday, April 20th, under the lights at Williams-Brice Stadium. The game will begin at 7:00 PM and can be streamed on ESPN+. 

Gamecocks position Spring
Photo courtesy: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports


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