The 2023 version of the South Carolina football team was near the national lead in true freshman playing time. In fact, only the rival Clemson Tigers played true freshmen for more snaps than the Gamecocks did, and football fans in the Palmetto State are hopeful that means that 2024 will be brighter than 2023 was.
The freshmen who played the most were offensive linemen Tree Babalade and Trovon Baugh, defensive back Jalon Kilgore, and wide receiver Nyck Harbor. Players like Djay Braswell, Pup Howard, Judge Collier, Tyshawn Russell, Desmond Umeozulu, and LaNorris Sellers all had roles, as well.
Last week, safety/nickel Jalon Kilgore was named to two different Freshman All-American squads, and another Gamecock received a similar honor this week.
Pro Football Focus' college division named its Freshman All-American team on Monday, and Gamecock right guard Trovon Baugh made the list.
Baugh took over the starting job at right guard just before the season's halfway point. Between injuries and poor play from the players on the field, Baugh and left tackle Tree Babalade began getting a lot of snaps as early as Week 2 of the season.
With several players returning from injuries and multiple high-upside freshman coming into the program in 2024, it is unclear what role Baugh and the other young linemen might play next season. However, his experience as a starter against SEC competition will give him a leg up on some of the other competition.
Baugh was also named to the Freshman All-SEC team by the Southeastern Conference's head coaches (along with Kilgore), and the honors are even more impressive when one considers that he, reportedly, played the back half of the season banged up with various injuries.
The Gamecocks could be in the market to add a veteran starter on the offensive line through the transfer portal, as well. Texas Tech transfer Monroe Mills was on campus last week and had a good visit, but he is being pursued heavily by other programs, as well.