South Carolina Football Offseason Autopsy:
Grading the Tight Ends
The South Carolina tight ends were the best offensive unit after Spencer Rattler at the quarterback spot. Fans thought that the two main transfer additions Trey Knox and Josh Simon would come in and play hybrid tight end/wide receiver roles, and that is not exactly what happened. However, the two tight ends were important players in 2023.
Knox was a step slower than advertised after dealing with some injuries at Arkansas, but he was a very smart route runner who had a knack for finding soft spots in the defense. He was second on the team in receiving yards with 312 yards.
Josh Simon was the better blocker this season of the two primary tight ends, and he was also the more dynamic athlete. Simon was a ferocious runner after the catch, and with the ability to return for another season in Columbia, he could be in for a big year next year.
The rest of the tight end room didn’t play much. Nick Elksnis and Connor Cox played very sparingly, and players like DK Joyner (running back), JonDarius Morgan (offensive line), Boogie Huntley (defensive line), TJ Sanders (defensive line), and Tonka Hemingway (defensive line) all filled in at tight end and h-back in certain sets this season.
With the struggles at wide receiver, the Gamecocks ran a fair amount of 12-personnel (1 running back, 2 tight ends) this season, but they could have utilized it even more often. Simon, especially, deserved additional playing time. Knox and Simon both could get an NFL look this offseason, but as of now, there has been no indication that Simon plans to leave the program. Knox is out of eligibility.