The Gamecocks have finally built the depth necessary to compete with the top teams in the SEC. As the years have gone by, Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks have signed Top 25 classes in recent years and have been able to redshirt players to put them in the position they are now.
Last year's class for South Carolina had 25 recruits that signed National Letter's of Intent and 22 ended up enrolling in school. Out of those 22, a few have already begun to put themselves firmly in the mix on the two-deep for the Gamecocks. Others have seen their roles increased due to injuries and lack of depth at certain positions. A majority, though, will likely redshirt for South Carolina.
Here's a look at who will play and who will redshirt for the Gamecocks:
Will PlayTE Jerell Adams - If there has been one freshman that has been impressive for South Carolina this fall, it's been Adams. The freshman has come in and been exceptional for the Gamecocks. He's routinely made catch after catch and has everything you look for in an SEC tight end. He has star potential all over him and will be an immediate impact player for the Gamecocks.
WR Shaq Roland - Roland has been nearly as impressive as Adams as he started off slow in his first few practices but has really come on in recent weeks. South Carolina's Mr. Football for 2011 has made highlight-reel catches in practices and scrimmages and will be on the field soon for South Carolina. D.L. Moore's recent groin injury could give Roland an even better chance of playing in the season-opener against Vanderbilt. He could even start.
SPUR Jordan Diggs - Diggs has come in and done everything he can to get on the field and it's shown. He's already on the two-deep at the SPUR position and should see plenty of time on special teams as well.
Likely to PlayCB Chaz Elder - Elder is in the same position as Gurley. He's fighting for time right now on the two-deep and is another freshman who will likely play because of the lack of depth at his position.
CB T.J. Gurley - Gurley is a guy who will play out of necessity for the Gamecocks. He has come in and battled for time at the cornerback position due to the injuries to Akeem Auguste and Rico McWilliams and the transfer of Cadarious Sanders. He's currently competing for the number two position at cornerback and will likely play this upcoming season.
RB Mike Davis - Davis is a talented running back who has moved up the depth chart with solid play and some untimely injuries to a few veterans on the team. Shon Carson was lost to injury for at least half of the season and Brandon Wilds has suffered from an ankle injury in the last few weeks. Davis is one injury away from being a mainstay on the depth chart and he'll likely see time at some point this season.
On the FenceWR Kwinton Smith - The wide receiver rotation is still in process and Smith has a chance to work his way into the mix. He hasn't played to the level of Shaq Roland out of the freshman receivers but he's got great size that is lacking in the wide receiver group. He'll likely redshirt this season but he's a player to keep an eye on if a spark is needed later on this season.
DE Darius English - English is undersized defensive end with a ton of speed that has impressed the coaching staff. There is a possibility that English could be used this season in pass-rush situations, therefore he's someone who could make his way onto the field. A redshirt season would serve him well to add weight to his frame but he has shown enough to be utilized for the Gamecocks this season.
Likely RedshirtOL Brock Stadnik - Stadnik is behind other players right now after sitting out the spring with shoulder surgery. A redshirt year is likely.
WR Jody Fuller - Fuller has yet to make an impact at wide receiver and finds himself down on the depth chart. He'll redshirt this season.
LB Kaiwan Lewis - Lewis is behind several senior linebackers on the depth chart. He's shown his abilities in practice but will sit out this season and be ready for 2013.
TE Kelvin Rainey - Rainey has come in and down a good job for the Gamecocks but there is depth ahead of him right now. He'll sit out this season as redshirt.
OL Cody Waldrop - Waldrop will redshirt this season but should be a future player for the Gamecocks soon enough.
QB Brendan Nosovitch - The quarterback position has its pieces in place and Nosovitch will redshirt in 2012.
S Kyle Fleetwood - Fleetwood will redshirt this season with the safety rotation in place at this time.
LB T.J. Holloman - Holloman is an undersized linebacker that will redshirt this season due to the veteran depth at the linebacker positions for the Gamecocks.
CB Chris Moody - Moody played both ways in high school but will focus mainly on defense for the Gamecocks. The depth at cornerback has certainly diminished in recent weeks but Moody will need a redshirt to learn the position.
K Nick St. Germain - Germain has been unable to beat out Adam Yates and Landon Ard for a spot this fall with kicking duties and a redshirt season will create some separation for him and Ard.
OL Clayton Stadnik - Stadnik enrolled early with his brother but will use a redshirt season to add weight and help the depth for the Gamecocks down the road.
OL Mason Zandi - Zandi is a project at tackle that will use a redshirt season to continue to learn the position as he becomes more familiar with the offensive line. He's already added a bit of weight and looks like he could be a player down the road for South Carolina.
Definite RedshirtRB Kendric Salley - Salley has yet to practice this fall for the Gamecocks as he rehabs from a knee injury suffered in high school. He will sit out this season as he works to full health.
CB Rico McWilliams - McWilliams suffered a severe knee injury in the second practice this fall that requires surgery and will redshirt this season to recover from injury.