Another big hit to the South Carolina Gamecocks defense after the 2013 season was the secondary. Losing the two starting corner backs in Jimmy Legree to graduation, Victor Hampton to the NFL, and Ahmad Christian to a transfer, the Gamecocks have their work cut out for them to replace the fastest part of the defense. With the safeties showing experience and the young linebacking corps showing great potential, it opens the doors for newcomers that want to shine on the outside of the defense.
Here is a look at the 2013 depth chart, and who will need to be replaced.
At strong safety, Brison Williams was ahead of Chaz Elder, before both seeing the playing field late in the season. Kadetrix Marcus was ahead of T.J. Gurley at free safety, but as the season progressed, both saw themselves behind Williams and Elder on the depth chart. The biggest hit was obviously at corner with Vic Hampton on one side, and Jimmy Legree on the other, with Ahmad Christian backing up Hampton and Rico Williams backing up Legree.
This year’s depth chart fills the holes with both youth and experience, also with a little bit of the unknown but with plenty of hype.
At free safety will be sophomore Chaz Elder (6-2, 195), with experience of junior T.J. Gurley (5-10, 194) behind him.
According to the preseason depth chart, the 2 starting corners will be senior Sidney Rhodes (5-10, 182) and sophomore Rico McWilliams (5-11, 184), but with newcomers Chris Lammons and Wesley Green making it to camp, it will make for an intense battle to see who remains at the top of that depth chart. Adding Lammons and Green to the chart not only strengthened the depth, but also allowed Brison Williams to stay back at safety after rumors spread he may see time at corner if their eligibility was in question.
With the linebackers growing and building the necessary chemistry, the secondary as a whole may just have enough experience and speed to not miss much of a beat. We will find out quickly with Texas A&M coming to town, and although “Johnny Football” is no longer taking the snaps, their strength on offense has been recruiting lightning fast receivers. I’m confident this unit will hold their ground and catch on quick.