South Carolina Football’s GOAT Series: Top-10 Greatest Offensive Linemen of All-Time

South Carolina football's Dennis Daley blocks against Florida. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football's Dennis Daley blocks against Florida. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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South Carolina football has had its fair share of great offensive linemen that have played under the lights at Williams-Brice Stadium. In fact, some of Carolina’s greatest-ever skill position players would not have been as successful if it were not for the efforts of the “big uglies” clearing the way. With three elite OL prospects expected to be coming on campus in 2024, Gamecock fans naturally have been thinking of how they compare to the great road graders of the past.

Honorable Mentions

Ronald Patrick: Ronald Patrick (2010-2013) played guard for the Gamecocks and was a dynamic run blocker for standout backs Marcus Lattimore and Mike Davis during the height of the Steve Spurrier-era in Columbia. After graduating, he had a five-year NFL career in which he spent time at both center and guard.

Mike McCabe: Mike McCabe (1971-1975) was a center for the Gamecocks as Paul Dietzel’s team left the ACC and became Independent. He played sparingly until Coach Jim Carlen replaced Dietzel in 1975. McCabe’s senior year saw him shine in the middle for the garnet and black, as he won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, voted as the best blocker among Independent programs that season. He had a brief NFL career that never saw him get on the field during a game.

Lemuel Jeanpierre: Lemuel Jeanpierre (2006-2009) began his career as a defensive lineman before transitioning to guard. He had a seven-year NFL career as a center, including one season as the primary starter for the Seahawks. LJP also became one of the youngest offensive line coaches in NFL history after his playing career.

Sadarius Hutcherson: An all-SEC guard and four-year starter at South Carolina, Sadarius Hutcherson (2016-2020) played three years at guard and one at tackle, including an All-SEC selection as a guard. He spent a year in the NFL after graduation playing with former Gamecock teammate Zack Bailey.

Darrell Austin: A versatile lineman for the Gamecocks, Darrell Austin (1969-1973) was a captain during his final year in Columbia. He was a good player in college but blossomed after being given a chance in the NFL. After an injury ended his time with the Denver Broncos, he spent several years starting at guard for the New York Jets, including one playing for future South Carolina Head Coach Lou Holtz.

Jamon Meredith: Jamon Meredith (2004-2008) started games at both tackle positions and left guard for the South Carolina football program. An excellent athlete for an offensive lineman, Meredith missed significant time with the Gamecocks due to injury and eligibility issues but still managed to accumulate over 30 starts. He was drafted in the 2009 NFL Draft and spent several years as a starting guard with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Rusty Russell: A big tackle who started at tackle in front of the Gamecock faithful in Williams-Brice Stadium, William “Rusty” Russell (1980-1983) had a solid career wearing garnet and black. He was drafted in the third round of the 1984 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles because of his enormous potential. Things didn’t pan out for Russell in the NFL, but he did go on to be one of the best offensive linemen in the Arena League.

Rokevious Watkins: Rokevious Watkins (2009-2011) spent three years in Columbia after beginning his career in junior college. He eventually developed into one of the best run blockers in school history, spending time at guard and tackle. An All-SEC selection at guard, Watkins was drafted by the Rams and had a two-year NFL career that included a brief stint as a starter.

Chuck Slaughter: Arguably the best run blocker on the line who led the way for George Rogers, Chuck Slaughter (1978-1981) was an undersized tackle who was one of the toughest players to ever wear garnet and black. He had a very brief NFL stint with the New Orleans Saints that saw him play in one game in his career.

Ike Harris: Ike Harris (1986-1990) was a three-year starter at left tackle for Head Coaches Joe Morrison and Sparky Woods. He was a steadying presence on a line that went through some struggles after a steroid scandal rocked the program. Harris was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, where he played briefly.

Cedric Williams: A defensive line recruit signed by Brad Scott, Cedric Williams (1998-2002) was moved to tackle under Lou Holtz and became an All-SEC performer at guard after another position shift. He started most of his four-year career after redshirting under Scott. Since graduating, Williams has been a long-time college offensive line coach all over the south.

Corey Robinson: Corey Robinson (2011-2015) was not brought to South Carolina to be the team’s left tackle but was too good to keep off the field. A massive man at 6’8″ and 340 pounds, Robinson started for three years and was immovable by opposing pass rushers. He helped anchor an offensive line that is probably the best in school history alongside AJ Cann, TJ Johnson, Ronald Patrick, and Brandon Shell.

Leonard Burton: A rotational lineman for Joe Morrison’s best team in 1984, Leonard Burton (1984-1985) was a backup on a very good offensive line unit during the “Black Magic” season. He got much better as a senior and had an outstanding year. In this final season, Burton was awarded the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the top blocker from Independent teams that year. He had a nine-year NFL career, primarily as the backup center for the Buffalo Bills.

Na’Shan Goddard: Na’Shan Goddard (2001-2005) was a versatile lineman who was a freshman All-American in 2002. He played center, guard, and tackle for the Gamecocks and had a five-year NFL career in which he won two Super Bowls, one with the Giants, and one alongside fellow Gamecock lineman Jamar Nesbit.