South Carolina Football: Phil Steele places six Gamecocks on All-SEC teams

College football writer Phil Steele put six South Carolina football stars on his All-SEC preseason teams.
South Carolina football defensive back Nick Emmanwori
South Carolina football defensive back Nick Emmanwori / Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports

College football writer Phil Steele is one of the most well-respected names in the sport. Each and every year, the veteran analyst releases a summer list of his preseason All-SEC teams. On Tuesday, Steele released his 2024 version of the preseason All-SEC squads, and six Gamecocks made the cut.

Longsnapper Hunter Rogers was the only Carolina player to be included on the 1st team. Four players (linebacker Debo Williams, safety Nick Emmanwori, running back Rocket Sanders, and punter Kai Kroeger) made the 2nd team. Defensive tackle Tonka Hemingway was placed onto the 4th team.

Rogers has been an All-SEC selection the last two seasons, so it comes as no surprise that he was picked for Steele's preseason All-SEC squad. Rogers is a good long snapper and has been used on gadget plays in the past, once catching a touchdown against Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl following the 2022 season.

Williams was 3rd last year in tackles in the Southeastern Conference. With one last year of eligibility remaining, the All-SEC and All-American performer is looking for another big season to propel himself into good position for the 2025 NFL Draft.

As a junior, Nick Emmanwori likely is in his final year as a Gamecock. The NFL will come calling for the uber-athletic safety with a good season, and Steele is among the many names high on the chances of that happening.

The top-rated transfer this offseason for the Gamecocks was running back Rocket Sanders, and Steele's inclusion of him on the 2nd team indicates that the long-time college football writer believes Sanders will be healthy in 2024. He was one of the top backs in the country in 2022 but was slowed by injuries throughout 2023. A bounceback would mean good things for the Gamecocks.

Kroeger was an All-American in 2022 and an All-SEC performer in 2022 and 2023. As a fifth-year senior, he is expected to be one of the top specialists in the nation this fall and likely will have an NFL future in front of him, especially if he returns to his 2022 form.

Versatile defensive lineman Tonka Hemingway made the team as a defensive tackle and should be a major piece for the 2024 version of the South Carolina football team. As the type of player who can play inside or could slide outside when USC utilizes the 3-3-5 defensive look, Hemingway will put the final touches on a nice NFL Draft resume with a solid season this fall.

Other Gamecocks like defensive tackle TJ Sanders, safety Jalon Kilgore, tight end Josh Simon, and offensive lineman Vershon Lee all will have some preseason All-SEC buzz, as well, but none of them were included on Steele's All-SEC team.

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