South Carolina Football players who might not return in 2024:
Running Back Mario Anderson
One of the best stories in the SEC this season is that two former walk-on Division-II running backs are among the conference’s best performers. Missouri’s Cody Schrader and South Carolina’s Mario Anderson will get pro opportunities, and Schrader is out of eligibility, so his chance will come in 2024.
Anderson, however, has a decision to make.
The former Newberry ‘back could return to the Gamecocks in 2024, and with another year of experience and a (hopefully) better showing from his offensive line, it seems likely that the hard-nosed runner would increase his NFL Draft status.
Even without starting at the beginning of the season and with poor offensive line play, Anderson has put up almost 800 yards of offense this season. That productivity has made NFL organizations take notice.
However, outside of rare exceptions, running backs have a short shelf life in professional football. This means that players who have an opportunity to play the position at the next level often make the pro leap at the first opportunity so they have as many years as possible at the professional level.
After the 2021 season, Gamecock running backs Kevin Harris and Zy’Quandre White declared for the draft a year early for this reason. Harris was drafted late, and White had a short NFL stint after being picked up as an undrafted free agent.
Anderson likely would be a late pick or an UDFA like Harris and White, so his decision is a difficult one. If he were projected to be an early pick, he’d be NFL-bound, for sure. As it stands, Anderson might not be back for his 6th-year senior campaign, but he does have the option to return to Columbia.