South Carolina football: Week one depth chart released

Jabari Ellis #99 of the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Jabari Ellis #99 of the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The South Carolina football staff has released its week one depth chart.

South Carolina’s first game is just around the corner, with only a handful of days remaining before the season opening kickoff. Today, the team released its depth chart for that opening matchup.


The Gamecocks had already figured out the most important position on the field, as the team announced earlier this week that graduate transfer quarterback Collin Hill would be the week one starter under center.

Not much was known after that, though. Looking at this lineup, the defense certainly appears to be the strength of the team, while the offense remains relatively unproven.

The Gamecocks return five players along the offensive line with starting experience, but of the skill players, only Shi Smith has made a significant impact. Nick Muse returns to the starting lineup following a season-ending knee injury. Kevin Harris and Deshaun Fenwick are listed as co-starters in the backfield.

The defense is experienced, having ten upperclassmen listed as starters in its “base” lineup, with All-SEC performer Jammie Robinson being the lone sophomore. Aaron Sterling is back after leading the team in sacks. Ernest Jones returns following a 97-tackle season. Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu will, once again, man the Carolina secondary.


The biggest surprises came at the wide receiver position. Seeing Shi Smith and Xavier Legette in the starting lineup isn’t a shock. Both were productive last season. But Dakereon Joyner getting the nod in the slot is a bit surprising. He’s just getting back into the wideout room after having to play quarterback most of last season.

Behind the starters are three freshmen reserves in Luke Doty (another quarterback prospect), Rico Powers, and Ger-Cari Caldwell. They’ll look to make an early impact on the Carolina offense. Powers and Doty, in particular, have been too good to keep off the field throughout the offseason.

Missing at wideout is transfer Jalen Brooks, who’s had a nice camp, but he’s yet to be cleared for action by the NCAA.

The defensive chart is about what we expected, though many were waiting to see where Israel Mukuamu would end up. He’s listed at cornerback right now, which is where he spent most of last season, but should John Dixon or Cam Smith step up, it could allow the versatile Mukuamu to make an impact at safety, too.

Freshman impact

There are a number of freshmen listed in the two-deep. We mentioned the three reserve receivers Doty, Powers, and Caldwell. Redshirt freshman Keveon Mullins is listed as a starter at one of the tight end spots alongside Nick Muse. Also listed on offense are a few freshman offensive linemen in Vincent Murphy, Vershon Lee, and Jakai Moore.

On defense, there are two true freshmen listed in reserve roles along the defensive line. Highly touted prospect Jordan Burch is the second-string BUCK, while Tonka Hemingway is a backup at defensive end. In the secondary, redshirt freshmen Cam Smith and Shilo Sanders are listed among the two-deep.

On special teams, true freshman Kai Kroeger will be the starting punter, beating out transfer senior Christian Kinsley.

It will be interesting to see how the lineup changes following the season opener as the staff continues to tinker with the depth chart in order to get the best players on the field. One thing to certainly keep an eye on is the use of trick plays. South Carolina could have three quarterbacks on the field at the same time in Hill, Joyner, and Doty. Also worth watching are Hill’s chemistry with his new pass catchers, Nick Muse’s return from injury, and the impact of the young running backs.

The Gamecocks kick off the season this Saturday in primetime when they take on the Tennessee Volunteers in Williams-Brice Stadium. South Carolina has opened as three-point underdogs.

Next. Realistic expectations for Gamecock football. dark