Nov 5, 2011; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Cocky, the South Carolina Gamecocks mascot, performs during the first half in the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina Gamecocks Team Awards


It’s award season in college football, and while the University of South Carolina Gamecocks football team might not give out trophies to the best players on the team, Garnet and Cocky sure as hell can give out imaginary ones.

First up is offensive player of the year.

The list of nominees is full of players who had solid years:
Bruce Ellington: 38 catches, 564 yards receiving, six touchdowns.
Connor Shaw: 136/202 passing, 1732 yards passing, 15 TDs 7 INTs, 339 yards rushing and three TDs.
Ace Sanders: 36 catches, 439 yards receiving, seven touchdowns, 1/2 passing, 16 yards, one TD.
Marcus Lattimore: (Despite Injury) 143 carries, 662 yards rushing, 11 touchdowns, 26 catches, 173 yards receiving.

Garnet and Cocky’s Offensive Player of the Year:
Despite the fact that he did not play in the final game of the year,Connor Shaw put up solid numbers all year long without a consistent down-field receiving threat. He was deadly accurate in the early part of the year, and despite chucking a few INTs at the end of the season, Shaw completed 67 percent of his passes and finished up the year with a 156.9 passer rating.

Next we have defensive player of the year.

This list of nominees is full of future NFL players:
Devin Taylor: 40 tackles, three sacks, eight tackles for loss
Jadeveon Clowney 50 tackles, 13 sacks, 21 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles
Shaq Wilson 77 tackles, two sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two interceptions
D.J. Swearinger 70 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, two interceptions, two touchdowns

The choice here is obvious. I think it’s a sham that Jadeveon Clowney not only isn’t a Heisman trophy candidate, but didn’t win the AP’s SEC Defensive Player of the Year Award. Jarvis Jones is great, and all, but head to head, Clowney proved who the better player was. Next year all that will change, though.

Jadeveon Clowney also wins our overall player of the year award, and that is so obvious I didn’t feel like wasting your time with nominations.

The freshman of the year, for us, came down to Mike Davis and Jerell Adams. Both had solid rookie years, but thanks to the larger workload Mike Davis was forced to assume after Lattimore’s injury, his body of work is just to large in comparison to overlook.

Finally, our coach of the year: Steve Spurrier Jr. Nine players had more than 100 yards receiving for South Carolina, and five of them were wide receivers. Bruce Ellington has developed into a possible NFL prospect in this offense, and Ace Sanders has continued to blossom into an incredible talent. The job that Spurrier Jr. has done with this group, especially with Alshon Jeffery’s departure, has been nothing short of incredible.

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