South Carolina football fans witnessed the Gamecocks' worst-ever rushing attack in 2023. The Gamecocks averaged under 90 yards per game on the ground for just the second time in the history of the program, and that was with two separate 70-yard runs on the season helping out the cause.
Fans were nervous that things could be even worse in 2024 as the two leading rushers from last year's team were gone (Mario Anderson to the transfer portal and DK Joyner to graduation). However, Gamecock head coach Shane Beamer had a plan to fix things.
In what 247Sports national writer Brad Crawford called one of his biggest "wins" of the transfer portal recruiting cycle, South Carolina football has completely flipped its running back room from having virtually no returning production to an extremely deep room.
Coming in at #3 in Crawford's rankings (behind only Colorado's offensive line overhaul and Ole Miss' efforts on defense), USC added former Arkansas running back Rocket Sanders, former North Texas back Oscar Adaway, and South Carolina State freshman defection Jawarn Howell.
Sanders led the SEC in rushing in 2022 with over 1400 yards (over 1700 total offensive yards), Adaway has over 2000 yards and 15 touchdowns in his career, and Howell was the top running back in FCS as a freshman this past year.
The Gamecocks will have a good problem on their hands next fall when trying to figure out how to distribute carries. Sanders is the presumed starter if fully healthy, but Adaway will play. Though he is a younger player, Howell might be too good to keep off the field, as well.
4-star class of 2023 back Djay Braswell, 4-star class of 2024 ball-carrier Matthew Fuller, and experienced scatback Juju McDowell are also in the running back room, and the Gamecocks are a finalist for 2024 4-star Daniel Hill who is announcing his decision at the Under Armour All-American Game in January.
What was the team's biggest weakness just three weeks ago might be the team's biggest strength heading into the 2024 spring. If the offensive line gets healthy and can get some push, the rushing attack led by the transfers and likely starting quarterback LaNorris Sellers could be among the SEC's most dangerous.