Spring Preview: Running backs

Believe it or not, spring football practice is right on the horizon again. Gamecock Anthem begins its previews of practice with this look at the running backs. Look inside for your look at the running backs returning and storylines to watch. South Carolina's spring practice beings March 13 at 4:15.

Returning Starters

6-foot, 232 pound JR Marcus Lattimore (Duncan, S.C.) - *Will not participate in spring practice. Started 7 games before season-ending knee injury at Mississippi State. Rushed for 818 yards and 10 TDs on 163 carries. Added another 19 receptions for 182 yards and a touchdown.

Recruiting rewind - No. 1 RB. Offers - Auburn, Florida State, Clemson, Georgia, North Carolina, and Oregon among around 30 total offers.

6-foot-1, 223 pound SO Brandon Wilds (Blythewood, S.C.) - Played in 12 games and started 5 after Lattimore went down. Rushed for 486 yards and three TDs on 107 carries. Added another 15 receptions for 136 yards.

Recruiting rewind - No. 115 RB. Offers - East Carolina, Arkansas, Illinois and Maryland.

5-foot-10, 193 pound RS SR Kenny Miles (Lawrenceville, Ga.) - Played in 9 games and started the Capital One Bowl. Rushed for 204 yards and a touchdown on 54 carries. Added 8 receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown.

Recruiting rewind - RB. Offers - UCF

Others Returning

5-foot-8, 190 pound RS FR Shon Carson (Scranton, S.C.) - * Will not participate in spring practice. Played in 2 games before missing rest of season with knee injury. Should receive medical hardship and compete as redshirt freshman. Rushed for nine yards on three carries. Added another 23 yards on a kickoff return.

Recruiting rewind - No. 24 RB. Offers - Auburn, Clemson, Duke, East Carolina, Florida State, North Carolina, Tennessee and UCLA.

Objectives and Storylines

Will Kenny stay?
Then-redshirt junior Kenny Miles appeared to be in his final couple of games as a Gamecock when he chose to participate in the Gamecocks' senior day festivities prior to the Clemson game this past season.

But that was before he proved to be the Gamecocks leading rusher in that game and in the Capital One Bowl. Now, he's got a decision to make.

Miles was the team's leading rusher for the 2009 when he was a redshirt freshman, but he's struggled to get opportunities in a crowded backfield ever since.

Even when Lattimore went down for the season this year, Miles was dealing with an injury of his own and that opportunity went to Wilds, who took it and ran with it, no pun intended.

Miles will no doubt be a part of an equally crowded backfield this season but as last year showed, you can never have too much depth.

How Miles feels about the way the spring goes could determine whether he's back for his senior season.

Who gains momentum into the fall?
A storm is coming. A deep, talented storm. South Carolina may only have two scholarship ball carriers on the roster for the spring, but Lattimore and Carson will return to the mix in the fall and freshmen Mike Davis and Kendric Salley will also enter the fold.

That's a lot of talent fighting for a few carries.

Still, Miles and Wilds will have every opportunity to show the staff what they can do and that they're continuing to improve.

Wilds was excellent in the place of Lattimore as a freshman but tailed off towards the end of the season when he had some nagging injuries and Miles took many of his carries.

Whichever one has the best spring could have the best chance at holding off that impending storm in the fall.

Looking Ahead

5-foot-9, 216-pound FR Mike Davis (Stone Mountain, Ga.) - Rated as a four-star prospect and the No. 10 running back in the country, Davis may even be underrated with that high ranking. Despite lots of returning talent, Davis should have every opportunity to play as a freshman and could help take the burden off Lattimore, who will be returning from the injury. Davis rushed for 1,923 yards and 21 touchdowns on 213 carries as a senior at Stephenson High.

5-foot-9, 205-pound FR Kendric Salley (Williston, S.C.) - Salley rushed for over 5,000 yards and 90 touchdowns during his career at Williston-Elko High School. Though he suffered a partially torn ACL during his senior season, he gutted it out and still rushed for 1,198 yards and 21 touchdowns on 139 carries. Salley, rated a three-star prospect by Scout and the No. 88 RB in the country, is likely a redshirt, but has an excellent attitude and has been overlooked due to an early commitment. He's got a chance to be a good one.

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