Breaking down the depth chart: Offense

South Carolina released its 2012 preseason depth chart when it unveiled the 2012 Media Guide at SEC Media Days. Gamecock Anthem takes that depth chart one step further by giving you a detailed analysis of each position beginning with the offense.

Quarterback

14 Connor Shaw 6-1 207 JR-2L Flowery Branch, Ga.
17 Dylan Thompson 6-3 212 SO-1L Boiling Springs, S.C.
11 Seth Strickland 6-2 195 SR-2L Laurens, S.C.
19 Tanner McEvoy 6-6 209 FR-RS Hillsdale, N.J.

My Thoughts: There aren't really any surprises here as the only difference between this depth chart and the spring list is that Strickland has replaced Andrew Clifford as the third string quarterback. Obviously, Shaw is the team's unquestioned starter and that's not going to change as long as he's healthy. The biggest battle will be for the right to back him up. Thompson has improved ever semester he's been on campus, but McEvoy has a ton of untapped potential. McEvoy took a big step forward in the spring game, but can he carry that over to the fall? The answer to that question could determine who the backup is.

True freshmen in the mix? Brendan Nosovitch appears to have a bright future ahead of him, but unless he just comes in and tears up it up and gets in the mix for the backup job, it's very unlikely that he plays this season. Nosovitch, like most first-year Spurrier quarterbacks, will likely redshirt.

Running back

21 Marcus Lattimore 6-0 218 JR-2L Duncan, S.C.
31 Kenny Miles 5-9 193 SR-3L Lawrenceville, Ga.
22 Brandon Wilds 6-2 218 SO-1L Blythewood, S.C.
7 Shon Carson 5-8 192 FR-RS Scranton, S.C.

My Thoughts: No surprises here whatsoever. Lattimore is the team's unquestioned leader and Miles outperformed Wilds in the spring with both Lattimore and Carson still rehabbing. This list is the status quo going into fall camp, but don't think there won't be an epic, back-and-forth battle royale for right to share the backfield with Lattimore. Miles has the experience, Wilds stepped up when the team needed him most, and Carson was ahead of both of them before getting injured last season (Carson also has the advantage of being the quickest of the backs). Not to mention there's a freshman who could make a splash...

True freshmen in the mix? Absolutely. Mike Davis was one of the nation's best backs as a high school senior and you just get the feeling that he's going to get in this mix at some point. The competition to get playing time will be fierce. But the cream always rises to the top and Davis could just be that good. While he's very likely to redshirt this season, don't forget about Kendric Salley in the long run. There are some who believe he could be a steal.

Fullback

43 Qua Gilchrist 6-1 245 SR-SQ Abbeville, S.C.
26 Jacob Baker 5-9 188 SR-1L Ridgeland, S.C.

My Thoughts: It remains to be seen just how much the fullback will be used this year. It seems with the talent at tight end that two-tight end sets may be preferred over the I most of the time. But there's always going to be a place for a lead blocker in Spurrier's offense, especially for times when USC wants to run clock and doesn't want to get Shaw knocked around while running the zone-read. Gilchrist looked the part in the spring and will be the most athletic fullback USC has had in some time.

True freshmen in the mix? N/A

Tight end

Y - Primary TE
87 Justice Cunningham 6-4 264 SR-3L Pageland, S.C.
88 Drew Owens 6-6 236 FR-RS Charlotte, N.C.
A - TE in two-TE sets
81 Rory Anderson 6-5 218 SO-1L Powder Springs, Ga.
5 Kelvin Rainey 6-3 219 FR-HS Yulee, Fla.

My Thoughts: This is a good looking group. Cunningham has turned into a team leader, and the talent at tight end should take some pressure off the wide receivers as USC searches for a couple of standouts there. Look out for Rory Anderson who could be poised for a huge sophomore campaign.

True freshmen in the mix? Because he went through spring practice, Rainey is already listed on the depth chart. But Jerell Adams is the one to watch. The talent level of the position group would allow Adams to redshirt, but Adams may be just too good to keep on the sideline. The tight end position battle will be a fun one to watch.

Wide receiver

X Position
6 DeAngelo Smith 6-1 196 JR-1L Kingsland, Ga.
3 Damiere Byrd 5-9 168 SO-1L Sicklerville, N.J.
8 Shamier Jeffery 6-1 214 FR-RS St. Matthews, S.C.
Z Position
1 Ace Sanders 5-8 175 JR-2L Bradenton, Fla.
23 Bruce Ellington 5-9 197 SO-1L Moncks Corner, S.C.
B Position
82 D.L. Moore 6-5 198 SR-3L Bowling Green, Ky.
10 Nick Jones 5-7 184 SO-1L Moore, S.C.
OR 80 K.J. Brent 6-4 184 FR-RS Waxhaw, N.C.

My Thoughts: First thought: there's competition everywhere. Can Smith hold off Byrd? Can Moore hold off Jones and Brent (and maybe a freshman)? Sanders is the only for-sure starter and Ellington could be good enough that he moves to another position just to get him on the field. There are more questions than answers here at this point, but there's at least plenty of potential at the position. Smith has the ability just needs to prove he has it. Byrd could have a huge year with a little luck to kick the season off. Don't forget about little Jeffery -- big brother was pretty good. Jones doesn't always wow, but don't good things always seem to happen when he's on the field? And Spurrier seems to like what Brent brings to the field. Way too early to guess what will happen here, and this one probably won't be determined until well into the season.

True freshmen in the mix? They'll certainly get their chances. Shaq Roland was the team's highest rated recruit. And Kwinton Smith has been the talk of summer 7-on-7's so far. If history is an indication, neither will start from day one, but either (or dare I say both?) could make a big move by the midway point of the season. It seems likely that Jody Fuller would redshirt.

Offensive line

LT
71 Brandon Shell 6-6 331 FR-RS Goose Creek, S.C.
66 Corey Robinson 6-8 337 SO-SQ Havelock, N.C.
LG
50 A.J. Cann 6-4 309 SO-1L Bamberg, S.C.
75 Will Sport 6-5 291 FR-RS Milton, Fla.
C
55 T.J. Johnson 6-6 319 SR-3L Aynor, S.C.
70 Kyle Harris 6-3 268 FR-RS Silver Creek, Ga.
61 Travis Ford 6-3 278 JR-1L Fork, S.C.
RG
67 Ronald Patrick 6-2 305 JR-1L Cocoa, Fla.
74 Kaleb Broome 6-6 332 SR-SQ Aiken, S.C.
RT
76 Mike Matulis 6-5 274 SO-1L Boynton Beach, Fla.
78 Cody Gibson 6-7 278 SO-1L Tallahassee, Fla.

My Thoughts: The casual, outside observer isn't going to look at this list and automatically be impressed. But there's the potential for this group to grow into one of the best that Carolina has fielded under Spurrier. It all starts with Shell at left tackle. If he can already be, this early in his career, what he was recruited to be, then everything else could fall into place. Cann had a strong redshirt freshman season and looks to be in great shape. Johnson is seasoned and talented. Patrick stepped in last year when he was needed and played admirably. Matulis had a strong finish to his true freshman season and Gibson had a strong spring. The biggest change on the depth chart from the one in the spring is that Sport is now listed at guard. He wasn't talked about much in the spring but Elliott was happy with his progress. Harris is probably next in line at all three interior line positions but Sport could be a wild card to provide some much-needed depth. Whoever loses the battle for right tackle would likely be the backup at both tackle spots, but Robinson did show big improvement in the spring. He could take another step forward this fall.

True freshmen in the mix? Brock Stadnik would have been in the mix, but with the improvements of Gibson and Robinson, and the fact he missed the spring, it seems unlikely. Cody Waldrop is a big kid who was an advanced lineman in high school -- he could get in the mix on the interior, but it seems more likely that the entire o-line class will redshirt.


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