South Carolina Football Offseason Autopsy: Part 1, Grading the offense

South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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South Carolina Football
South Carolina football didn’t get much production from its wide receiver room other than from new star Xavier Legette. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

South Carolina Football Offseason Autopsy:
Grading the Wide Receivers

The USC wide receivers are difficult to grade. Xavier Legette had the second-best wide receiver season in South Carolina football history and was a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist. The rest of the receiver room didn’t have a very good season, even though opposing defenses were focused on trying to stop #17. Drops were a problem across the unit, and no one other than Legette could consistently get separation.. Offense. South Carolina Gamecocks. WIDE RECEIVERS. C

Grading the wide receivers on this year’s South Carolina football squad is not easy. On one hand, Xavier Legette turned in one of the best years of any Gamecock ever. On the other hand, the rest of his teammates at the position did not do their part to help the offense succeed.

Legette added his name to the pantheon of all-time great Carolina receivers (of which there have been plenty). He became the first Gamecock ever to log three 175-yard receiving performances in his career, and his 1255 yards trail only Alshon Jeffery’s 1517 yards from the 2010 season, something he did in two fewer games than Jeffery. However, other than Legette, the receivers struggled, accounting for just over 1000 yards total despite defenses being keyed on #17

Like Anderson did with running backs, Legette accounted for nearly 2/3 of the total yardage production within his position group. That’s a bad distribution of production for running backs in modern college football, but it is a terrible distribution of production for a modern wide receiver room considering there are usually 3 or 4 of them on the field at a time.

Much of the lack of production from the rest of the receivers can be attributed to the injury absence of Juice Wells. Wells missed basically the entire season with a foot injury, and fans can’t help but wonder how much the offense would have been different had he been able to line up across from Xavier Legette this year.

Ahmarean Brown had some nice moments but drops and a hamstring issue kept him from having the type of season he hoped to have, and 5-star freshman Nyck Harbor needs more time to adapt to his new position. Converted quarterback Luke Doty had some moments, and Tyshawn Russell flashed some ability when he was able to hold onto the football. Senior transfer Eddie Lewis had talent but fell out of favor with the staff, barely playing the 2nd half of the season.

All in all, it was a weird season for the team’s primary pass catchers, and next year could be a tough one if Wells isn’t the same player coming back from injury and if the Gamecocks don’t have some other players step up.