South Carolina Gamecocks News: Football season ends, basketball remains undefeated, and more

South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports /

The latest South Carolina Gamecocks News from the last week, starting with the rivalry week loss to the Clemson Tigers that ended the football season.

In an ugly offensive performance, the Gamecocks lost to the Tigers 16-7. Neither team could get anything going on offense, but two key drops (a dropped backward pass that Clemson returned for a score and a dropped Carolina interception that led to a Tiger field goal on the next play) were the difference.

The Gamecock defense played very well, but the offense was horrible. Playcaller Dowell Loggains had his worst game at USC, and the offense line was woefully outmatched against the Clemson defensive front.

The loss moved Carolina to 5-7 on the season, and the Gamecocks will miss a bowl game for the first time during the Shane Beamer era of South Carolina football.

Gamecock wide receiver Xavier Legette was named a semifinalist for a major award.

The Biletnikoff Award is given every season to the top pass-catcher in college football. Legette was named one of ten semifinalists for the award. He also won the “fan vote” among all semifinalists, a testament to South Carolina football fans’ online presence.

The three finalists for the Biletnikoff will be announced this week.

Xavier Legette and Spencer Rattler finished the season with high spots on the all-time Gamecock leaderboards.

Legette finished the 2023 season with the 2nd-most receiving yards in a single season in program history. His 1255 yards trails only Alshon Jeffery’s 2010 total of 1517 yards. Jeffery had 14 games to reach his mark, while Legette accomplished those numbers in just 12 games.

Legette also became the first Gamecock ever to post three 175-yard receiving games in his career. He did it just this season.

Rattler had the 3rd-most passing yards in a season in South Carolina football history, only trailing Todd Ellis’ 1987 season and Dylan Thompson’s 2014 campaign.

#7 also moved into the top-5 in USC history in career passing yards, despite playing just two seasons in Columbia. He passed Carolina legends like Connor Shaw, Jeff Grantz, Phil Petty, Tommy Suggs, and Anthony Wright in recent weeks.

Prior to the Clemson game, Juice Wells made an announcement.

The Gamecocks’ top receiver in 2022, Wells did not play much in 2023 thanks to a foot injury. He announced last week that he would not play in the Clemson game but that he planned to return in 2024 instead of moving on to the NFL Draft.

For his efforts in the Gamecocks’ win over Kentucky, a Carolina defender earned SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week.

7th-year defensive end Jordan Strachan, whose career is now over after the Gamecocks’ loss to Clemson, was the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week. He had two sacks, including a crucial, late-game strip sack that ended up in the hands of fellow defensive lineman Tonka Hemingway.

Before the Clemson game, news came out that Spencer Rattler had accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl.

Rattler acknowledged the Senior Bowl invitation but did not 100% rule out a return to Columbia for next season. However, it seems incredibly unlikely that he would pass up a likely top-half selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. His media availability after the final loss also seemed to indicate that his time in garnet and black is complete.

Dawn Staley’s South Carolina basketball squad picked up two more wins to get to 5-0.

The first win came over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Playing without both Tessa Johnson and Te-Hina Paopao, the Gamecocks came out disjointed on offense. Even with the slow start, USC won big 78-38.

Against Mississippi Valley State, Paopao was back, and with her return, the Carolina offense returned. In the most lopsided game in the history of South Carolina basketball, the Gamecocks won 101-19.

A major 2025 recruit provided USC with some early good news in her recruitment.

5-star Darianna Alexander put the Gamecocks on her top-15 schools list.

A Gamecock guard was named SEC Player of the Week for the week before Thanksgiving.

Last week, for the second week in a row, the SEC announced that a South Carolina basketball player was the conference’s player of the week. Kamilla Cardoso won the award in week 1, and Raven Johnson picked up the honor in week 2. Johnson had a 17-assist game against Clemson (2nd best in program history), played incredible defense, and set a career-high in scoring with 18 against South Dakota State.

A former South Carolina baseball star is hanging up his cleats.

Jackie Bradley, Jr., after 11 seasons in Major League Baseball that included an All-Star selection, an ALCS MVP, two World Series championships, and a Gold Glove, is expected to retire.

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