Post-spring depth chart: Backs and Receivers

With spring practice in the books and the 2012 season rapidly approaching, GamecockAnthem takes a look at the 2012 post-spring depth chart and which incoming player is most likely to make an impact this fall. In part one of the five-part series, we take a look at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver.

Quarterback

1. Connor Shaw – Unlike the past two years, there is no doubt who the starting quarterback will be on August 30th. Shaw took over the quarterback position following a 16-13 loss to Auburn and immediately won over the fan support. Shaw threw for 311 yards and four touchdown passes against Kentucky and led the Gamecocks to their 11-2 finish, the best in school history.

Still, there are things Shaw needed to improve on during the spring. Head coach Steve Spurrier has stated several times that Shaw needed to get the ball out of his hands quicker and stick in the pocket later. Shaw studied NFL quarterback Drew Brees and his pocket presence following last season. With only nine starts under his belt Shaw has not reached his full potential, but if he builds on his spring performance he is plenty capable of leading South Carolina to a successful season.

2. Dylan Thompson – The battle in the spring was the battle for the back-up position. Thompson and McEvoy went back and forth all spring and the battle went right into the spring game. Both had a good performance in the spring game, but Spurrier decided after the game that Thompson would "probably" be the back-up.

Freshman most likely to make an impact:

Brendan Nosovitch –
Nosovitch is a highly-regarded three-star quarterback from Central Catholic High School in Pennsylvania that played quarterback and safety. The dual-threat quarterback needs improvement in arm strength, but will push Thompson and McEvoy for their spots on the depth chart.

Running back

1. Marcus Lattimore –
Next Wednesday, May 2nd, is a big day in the rehabilitation of Lattimore's injured knee. He will begin cutting for the first time since injuring the knee against Mississippi State last season. There's no reason to believe that Lattimore won't be on the field in Nashville when the season begins and will get the carries he got before his injury.

2. Kenny Miles – Entering the spring there was questions that Miles may not even be on the team when summer camp opens. Miles was impressive to say the least throughout the spring and will be the back-up to open the season. Brandon Wilds and Shon Carson will also make a push for carries.

Freshman most likely to make an impact:

Mike Davis –
Davis, the brother of former Clemson running back James Davis, was a big pick-up for Carolina. The four-star back from Stephenson High School in Georgia chose Carolina over his brother's Alma Mater and Georgia among others. While he's not quite on Lattimore's level, Davis displays the same patience and vision that Lattimore has.

Wide Receiver

1. Ace Sanders, Damiere Byrd, D.L. Moore –
Sanders will be a favorite target for Shaw all season as the top returning player. Sanders will play in the slot and has the speed to pull away from defenders. Byrd has speed, speed, and more speed as evidenced by his 70-yard touchdown reception on the first play of the spring game. Byrd did the same all last spring, but only caught one pass last season. Moore is the most experienced receiver and has the potential to be a top target, but he has to get separation from the defenders and be able to go up and get the ball.

2. Bruce Ellington, DeAngelo Smith, KJ Brent – Ellington will get plenty of opportunities and could push for one of the starting positions after a solid first year in the program that included his only touchdown reception against Clemson. Smith had a great spring last season and a solid spring this year, but that has to translate to the fall. Last year Smith caught just three passes. Brent was a player that impressed everyone throughout the summer and fall practices last year, but the coaching staff decided to redshirt him. This season Brent should get some opportunities to make a name for himself.

Freshman most likely to make an impact:

Shaq Roland –
There is a reason why Roland is the number four receiver in the nation and the only five-star Carolina signed. The kid can play. He has great speed and if he gets his hands on the ball he will catch it. At 180 pounds, Roland needs to get a little stronger to get off the line of scrimmage and combat the physical defensive backs in the SEC. Roland will play and he has shown that he will make some plays.


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