South Carolina football: EJ Jenkins named SEC breakout player

South Carolina Football helmet. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina Football helmet. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /
south carolina football
South Carolina Gamecocks black helmet. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

The South Carolina football team will have a lot of newcomers this Fall as head coach Shane Beamer hit the transfer portal hard to rebuild a depleted roster. Many of those new faces are relatively unknown, even to Gamecock fans, as they come from smaller schools at the FBS, FCS, Division II, and JUCO levels.

Though these potential contributors aren’t top of mind at the moment, most have had very productive careers at their previous stops. Jordan Strachan led all of college football with 10.5 sacks last year at Georgia State. Jason Brown set school records for passing at St. Francis University his last time out on the field. Carlins Platel had seven interceptions for the Assupmtion Greyhounds over his three-year stint in Massachusetts, earning all-conference honors in both 2017 and 2019.

Earlier this week, ESPN analyst Cole Cubelic named another one of South Carolina’s incoming transfers as being one of the SEC’s top breakout candidates in the upcoming season.

Pass catcher EJ Jenkins has been named as one of the conference’s top five breakout players on the offensive side of the ball.

Jenkins played at St. Francis University alongside fellow Gamecock transfer Jason Brown. In his most recent season with the Red Flash, he set a single-season school record by hauling in 13 touchdown receptions. He ended the year with 39 catches for 779 yards, good for an average of 20 yards a pop.

Now, he joins an unproven receiving rotation that’s still looking for a No. 1 option. The Gamecocks had just one wideout tally more than 115 yards through the air last year in Shi Smith, and he’s now off to the NFL. Jenkins will certainly have his chance to make a mark on the passing game in Columbia in 2021.

What could get the 6-foot-7-inch receiver on the field even more quickly is his versatility. Jenkins is a candidate to play in more of a WR/TE hybrid role, which could allow the pass catcher to see some major action in the upcoming season. Jenkins is tall enough to tower over opposing defensive backs, and at 250 pounds, he should be able to fend off linebackers.

South Carolina needs someone to step up in the passing game as the team finished the year ranked 104th in the NCAA in 2020. Will Jenkins be that guy? The Gamecocks are sure hoping so.

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