South Carolina Football Offseason Autopsy, Part 3: Offensive Superlatives

South Carolina football quarterback Spencer Rattler played about as well as he could considering the weather on Saturday. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina football quarterback Spencer Rattler played about as well as he could considering the weather on Saturday. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports /
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South Carolina football offensive linemen Tro Baugh (58) and Tree Babalade were among the team’s most impactful freshmen. Mandatory Credit: Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports /

South Carolina Football Offseason Autopsy, Offensive Superlatives:
Offensive Top Freshman Contributor(s)

Prior to the season, the Gamecocks were expected to have multiple true freshmen contribute to the offense. However, the ones who did were different than the ones with the highest expectations.

5-star athlete-turned-receiver Nyck Harbor, 4-star lineman Markee Anderson, and 4-star running back Djay Braswell were all expected to play a lot this season. Preseason injuries took Andeson out for the whole season and put Harbor behind where he needed to be, especially since he was learning a new position. Braswell wasn’t quite ready for the SEC, either.

In the end, Trovon Baugh and Tree Babalade were the true freshmen who saw the field the most.

Babalade and Baugh started playing a lot of snaps as early as week 2. Babalade started at left tackle in week 3 against Georgia, and Baugh became the starter at right guard two weeks later against for Tennessee game.

Both players had some really good moments (Babalade was 247Sports’ National Freshman of the Week and the SEC Freshman of the Week for his game against Georgia, and Baugh showed enough to be named to the Coaches’ All-SEC Freshman team.

Baugh and Babalade will factor into the offensive line picture next season, even with players returning from injury and big-time freshmen coming into the program. Baugh likely will stay on the interior, while Babalade could end up as a tackle or as a guard.

Tro Baugh and Tree Babalade were the 2023 Top Freshmen Contributors.