South Carolina football: 4 key position battles in 2021 season

Cam Smith #9 of the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images)
Cam Smith #9 of the South Carolina Gamecocks. (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images) /
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COLUMBIA, MO – SEPTEMBER 9: Sherrod Greene #44 of the South Carolina Gamecocks warms up prior to a game against the Missouri Tigers at Memorial Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /


The linebacking corps lost its top tackler of the last two seasons in Ernest Jones, who’s now off to play in the NFL. Jones recorded totals of 97 and 86 tackles, respectively, over the last two years, and his production will be sorely missed.

Who is going to step into that leading role?

The Gamecocks to have options ranging from upperclassmen, to incoming recruits, to transfers. The most seasoned player on the roster, and a frontrunner to win the competition at one linebacker spot is Sherrod Greene. He’s played in 33 career games, tallying 130 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, and an interception. Unfortunately, an injury in the season opener ended his senior year, but the Gamecocks are hoping to get him back at full strength for one last go.

Lining up alongside Greene could be a number of players. Jahmar Brown returns after being used as the primary starter in the Gamecocks’ nickel packages. His athleticism gives him the ability to play in a variety of roles in that second level.

Also back are Mohamed Kaba, Rosendo Louis, Damani Staley, and Brad Johnson, as well as transfers Bam Scott and Debo Williams, and freshman Kolbe Fields. This group will play in a more traditional linebacking role, and all will have opportunities to make the rotation. Staley, Kaba, and Johnson all have starting experience in Columbia, while Louis has been slowed by injuries throughout his career.

Scott and Williams will have a chance to make immediate impacts in their first years with the program, while Fields could crack the two-deep in year one.