South Carolina football: Best QBs of All Time

Quarterback Conner Shaw #14 of the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Quarterback Conner Shaw #14 of the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) /

Ranking South Carolina football’s top quarterbacks of all time.

The South Carolina football program has had a number of quarterbacks come through Columbia over its 112-year existence. But who are the three best?

First, we’ll start with some signal callers that just missed the cut. Here are the honorable mentions.

  • Dylan Thompson – His 3,564 yard season in 2014 is the best ever for a Gamecock quarterback
  • Stephen Garcia – Only Gamecock QB to take his team to the SEC championship
  • Todd Ellis – Most passing yards in school history
  • Syvelle Newton – Threw for nearly 2,500 yards and ran for almost 800 over his Gamecock career. Also played receiver, running back, and safety.
  • Jeff Grantz – Threw 16 TDs and ran for another 12 scores in ’75 season.
  • Phil Petty – Led Gamecocks to back-to-back Outback Bowl wins over Ohio State, following a winless ’99 campaign.
  • Anthony Wright – Fantastic ’97 season, throwing for 18 TDs to 5 INTs before season-ending injury.
  • Blake Mitchell – Threw for nearly 6,000 yards, and ranks No. 6 on all-time passing list.

Now, let’s get to the Top Three.


Suggs played for the Gamecocks from ’68-’70, while the Gamecocks were still a member of the ACC. He’s the only quarterback to ever lead South Carolina to a conference championship, as his ’69 team finished 6-0 against ACC foes and atop the final standings.

Suggs ended his Gamecock career with 4,916 passing yards and 34 touchdowns. He finished among the league’s top three in passing in each of his three seasons as a starter, leading the ACC in touchdowns thrown in ’70.

Suggs also beat in-state rival Clemson in each of his seasons under center.


Taneyhill is the Gamecocks’ second leading passer in program history. He ended his career in the garnet and black with 8,555 yards and a school-leading 61 touchdowns.

Taneyhill took over as South Carolina joined the SEC. His senior season in ’95 was one of the best in Carolina history, as he tossed 29 touchdowns and threw for over 3,000 yards. He led the Gamecocks to their first ever bowl win a year earlier.

Taneyhill is best remembered by fans for signing the Tiger Paw in Clemson during a 24-13 win over the Tigers in ’92 as a freshman. The long-haired gunslinger never lost in Death Valley.


Shaw is the clear choice as the program’s top quarterback. He finished his career with a school-best 27-5 record as a starter, including going 18-0 in Williams-Brice Stadium. He led the Gamecocks to three 11-win seasons, and never lost to in-state rival Clemson.

For his career, Shaw finished with over 6,000 passing yards. He tossed 56 touchdowns (2nd all-time) to just 16 interceptions, and added another 17 touchdowns on the ground. His career culminated with his best season in Columbia.

As a senior, Shaw had an incredible 24:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He threw for 2,447 yards, ran for anther 558, and even caught a touchdown in his final game. Shaw is now on staff as South Carolina’s director of student-athlete development.

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