There are a handful of South Carolina football quarterbacks who are legends despite playing very little during their careers.
Erik Kimrey had one career start, but he will be a hero in Columbia forever for throwing "The Fade" off the bench after starter Phil Petty was injured against Mississippi State.
Mike Hold was only the primary starter for one season, but his efforts off the bench in comeback situations in 1984 made him an all-time fan favorite in Columbia. He started the next year in '85, but it was the Black Magic teamwork with starter Allen Mitchell that made Mike Hold the man.
Dylan Thompson was Connor Shaw's backup for most of his career until starting the 2014 season, a year in which he set the South Carolina football record for most passing yards in a single season and led one of the best offenses in school history.
Another one of these beloved quarterbacks almost didn't play at all in garnet and black. Zeb Noland was hired as an off-field graduate assistant coach after deciding to give up football after graduating from North Dakota State and playing at Iowa State before that.
However, heading into the 2021 season, presumed starting quarterback Luke Doty hurt his foot, and the Gamecocks found themselves in a situation in which they were not comfortable with the quarterback room. After a few conversations with head coach Shane Beamer and then-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Marcus Satterfield, Noland elected to utilize his final year of collegiate eligibility and stepped back onto the gridiron.
Things weren't always great for Zeb Noland, but he was serviceable, and that is much more than anyone should have expected from someone who had already put his playing days behind him.
Noland moved from a good story to a legendary one after being replaced by Doty. Against Vanderbilt in 2021, Doty re-injured his foot and was not effective. With the Gamecocks trailing 21-14 with just 1:36 remaining in the game, Beamer inserted Noland into the game, and the graduate senior led the Gamecocks down the field for a 75-yard touchdown drive to win the game. Noland threw for every yard on the drive, including the 9-yard game-winner to Xavier Legette in the back of the end zone.
You can watch the entire drive below.
Now, the legend of Zeb Noland has a chance to continue growing in the world of coaching.
After returning to the Gamecocks' coaching staff for a year in 2022 and coaching with his father at the high school ranks in 2023, Noland is getting his first on-field college opportunity.
Noland joins Wright and Murray State special teams coordinator Tyler Zielenske as former South Carolina football coaches who will be on staff with the Racers in 2024.