South Carolina Football: Gamecock named "transfer with something to prove" by national writer

South Carolina football running back Raheim "Rocket" Sanders was named by 247Sports' Brad Crawford as a transfer with "something to prove" next season.

New South Carolina football running back Rocket Sanders
New South Carolina football running back Rocket Sanders / Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina football put up its worst-ever rushing performance in 2023, picking up just 85 yards on the ground per game.

Since the end of the season, things have changed drastically for the Gamecocks. Running backs coach Montario Hardesty was relieved of his duties, Marquel Blackwell was hired from Texas A&M to replace him, Shawn Elliott was brought in to coach tight ends and serve as run game coordinator, and the team brought in three transfer running backs to give the position group a needed shot in the arm.

One of those transfers is former Arkansas Razorback standout Raheim "Rocket" Sanders, the SEC's leading rusher from 2022. Sanders, though, missed part of last season and played the rest of the year hurt, causing many to question if he can be the same type of player he was pre-injury.

Because of that, 247Sports' Brad Crawford included Sanders on his list of transfer portal players who "have something to prove."

Sanders has something to prove, according to Crawford, as he is the clear starter in Columbia if healthy. After piling up over 1700 total yards of offense in his All-American 2022 season, he had under 300 yards from scrimmage in 2023. Will the former Arkansas Razorback be more like the 2022 Rocket Sanders or more like the 2023 version of himself?

It seems unlikely that Sanders will put up close to 1700 yards in the Gamecocks' crowded backfield in 2023. With fellow transfers Oscar Adaway and Jawarn Howell, 2023 4-star Djay Braswell, 2024 4-star Matthew Fuller, and scatback Juju McDowell also in the picture, his workload won't be heavy enough to reach those numbers.

However, if he averaged near his 6.5 yards per carry number from 2022, South Carolina football fans would be very pleased. His status as a "home run threat" from that season would be nice, as well, as he had both a rush and a reception that went for over 70 yards.

In other words, if Rocket can take off once again in 2024, the Gamecocks have a good chance of being significantly better in the run game than they were during their disastrous 2023.

Former South Carolina football wide receiver Juice Wells (transferred to Ole Miss) and defensive tackle Xzavier McLeod (dismissed from team, then transferred to Georgia) also made Crawford's list.

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