The South Carolina football team faces a tough slate in 2020, and looks to match up against some of the nation’s top running backs. The group ranges from sophomores to seniors, from Group of Five schools to SEC powerhouses.
As the South Carolina football season draws closer, we’re breaking down some of the best players by position on the Gamecocks’ upcoming season schedule. Today, we focus on running backs, and there’s certainly no shortage of talent in opponents’ backfields.
The Gamecocks took on the likes of D’Andre Swift, Najee Harris, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, and Travis Etienne last year, and it doesn’t appear to get any easier as the upcoming season approaches. It’s almost too difficult to keep the list at five, so we’ll first run through a couple of honorable mentions that just missed the cut.
The SEC’s leading rusher from a year ago was actually not a running back at all. Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden, who began the year at wide receiver, ran for over 1,400 yards after taking over as the Wildcats’ quarterback half way through the year. He will be gone in ‘20, but the Cats do return two formidable tailback options in senior Asim Rose and sophomore Kavosiey Smoke. Both ran for over 600 yards a piece and six touchdowns last season.
These two just missed the cut, as they’ll be splitting time in the same backfield, and the Wildcats’ offense is expected to be a little bit less run-heavy with a true quarterback returning to the field next year.
Another to just miss the list is Tennessee’s Eric Gray, who’s coming off a spectacular freshman season. The sophomore-to-be ran for over 500 yards, including a 246-yard performance in the regular season finale. He’ll be used more heavily in ‘20, but the sample size was a little too small to add him to the list just yet.
Now, let’s dig into the top five running backs on the Gamecock’s schedule.