Six who could surprise

In the days of non-stop media coverage of college football, it's hard for any player to truly surprise. But look inside as Gamecock Anthem projects six players who could contribute greatly this season but aren't really being talked about much.

Six who could surprise
WR DeAngelo Smith – 6-0, 191 - SO-SQ - Kingsland, Ga.
Quick Hitter: Smith is no secret to South Carolina fans who paid attention this spring but is still a general unknown to the rest of the conference. After being slowed by injuries for much of his first two seasons in Columbia, Smith was healthy this spring and proved to be a big-play threat on offense. Smith played in a run-based offense in high school but is one of the more athletic overall players on the team. He's currently listed as the back-up to Alshon Jeffery and D.L. Moore but could be a big factor this year and could even supplant Moore as a starter if he can continue his play from the spring.
DE Chaz Sutton - 6-4, 245 - SO-1L - Savannah, Ga.
Quick Hitter: With all the talent South Carolina has at the defensive end position now, Sutton is rarely mentioned when fans talk about the upcoming season. Like Smith, Sutton has had his share of injuries in his career but showed signs of breaking out last season and in the spring. Sutton was highly regarded by the staff coming in and as d-line coach Brad Lawing says the light comes on for players at different times. There's always room for another pass-rusher and Sutton could provide valuable depth in that role while setting himself up for a starting spot next season.
QB Connor Shaw - 6-1, 202 - SO-1L - Flowery Branch, Ga.
Quick Hitter: All signs point to Stephen Garcia being the Gamecocks' offensive leader and quarterback this season. But it's his final year of eligibility and Shaw needs to get as much experience as possible heading into next season. After a slow start to the spring, Shaw had a strong finish in the final week of practice. Quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus has said that Shaw has all the tools just needs to go play. Shaw should be a valuable back-up in pushing Garcia to perform and be ready to step in if needed due to an injury. Ideally he'll get plenty of snaps in a reserve role too.
DT Aldrick Fordham - 6-4, 273 - JR-2L - Jamestown, S.C.
Quick Hitter: Fordham is listed as the starter alongside Travian Robertson at defensive tackle in the post-spring depth chart but rarely is mentioned as an integral part of this season. Fordham will battle former JUCO tranfer Byron Jerideau, who has had a great summer, and freshman Kelcy Quarles, possibly the Gamecocks most talented defensive tackle to keep that spot. Whether or not he remains the starter, Fordham is a technically sound defensive lineman who should play major minutes both as a defensive tackle and a defensive end. Fordham may actually be better at end according to Ellis Johnson.
Shamier Jeffery - 6-1, 208 - FR-HS - St. Matthews, S.C.
Quick Hitter: There's not much room for a freshman receiver to come in and make an impact but this list is supposed to be about surprises. Alshon Jeffery's younger brother is extremely talented and has drawn positive reviews from the 7-on-7 summer workouts the players put themselves through. Shamier is as competitive as they come especially when battling with Alshon, and Shamier will no doubt be pushed by his older brother showing him what it takes to be a star receiver. Shamier is a candidate to redshirt but the cream rises to the top and if he's just too good to keep off the field could take playing time from a veteran ahead of him.
Cedrick Cooper - 6-2, 207 - FR-HS - Lithonia, Ga.
Quick Hitter: South Carolina has solid depth at linebacker. And if Reggie Bowens can remain healthy, the Gamecocks have really good depth at the position. A month ago Cooper never would have made this list but Ellis Johnson just doesn't talk overly positive about a freshman for no reason. Johnson is anxious to see Cooper on the practice field this season after hearing rave reviews all summer. While it's not likely for Cooper to beat out the more experienced players in front of him, the Gamecocks' linebackers have been injury prone, and he could be the one to step in and help. If Cooper avoids a redshirt, he also could be a terror on special teams.

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