South Carolina Football: Predictions for the two-deep on the Gamecock offense

South Carolina football is replacing a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball this year, so what might that look like when the season starts?
South Carolina football quarterback LaNorris Sellers
South Carolina football quarterback LaNorris Sellers / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina Football Two-Deep Predictions on Offense:
Offensive Line

There is no way to sugarcoat it: the Gamecock offensive line was the team's biggest and most consistent issue during the 2023 season. Injuries were part of the equation, but poor play was a common theme, as well, as there was rarely more than two big uglies playing at a high level at the same time last fall.

Carolina lost one starter to the NFL Draft as Nick Gargiulo was taken by the Denver Broncos, and several players who likely would have been in the two-deep this year left as Jaylen Nichols (transfer portal), Sidney Fugar (transfer portal), Trai Jones (retirement), and Tyshawn Wannamaker (retirement) are all no longer on the team. Depth pieces Grayson Mains, Jaxon Hughes, and JonDarius Morgan transferred, too.

Offensive line coach Lonnie Teasley helped replenish the talent pool, though, with three highly regarded high school offensive linemen (5-star Josiah Thompson, 4-star Kam Pringle, and 4-star Blake Franks) and three intriguing transfer portal linemen (Torricelli Simpkins, Kamaar Bell, and Aaryn Parks).

If the unit has a better year from a health standpoint, it is hard to believe they won't be improved. The mobility of new quarterback LaNorris Sellers also could help cover up any warts the Gamecocks have up front.


It seemed like the Gamecocks were in the market this offseason for a starting-caliber tackle to compete with projected starters Tree Babalade and Cason Henry. They didn't get it, so the two sophomores must step up this fall and play well.

Babalade showed some tremendous flashes last season, including an excellent performance against the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens. With 5-star true freshman Josiah Thompson nipping at his heels, Babalade will have to have more moments like that than like his struggles against Tennessee and Clemson if he is to hold onto the job and be a positive for the offense.

There is a chance Babalade could be shifted inside to guard in the future, but for now, he's a tackle, and he probably will start. His strong hands and sturdy lower half can hold up in the SEC, and if his feet are a little quicker than they were in 2023, he could be a solid starter as a true sophomore.


The most talented offensive lineman on the team, Josiah Thompson deserved every bit of his 5-star rating in the class of 2024. Thompson is a freak of an athlete, and he carries his weight extremely well, looking like a 250-pound man as he pushes past 280.

Thompson could use a year of physical development to get his weight up around 300, so it would be better for the Gamecocks if Tree Babalade (or someone else) can start and play well.

Still, if pressed into action, Thompson will be far from a disaster in the starting lineup. He showcased very well at the All-American Bowl this winter and was routinely called the best lineman competing. South Carolina football fans should not be surprised to see #74 hit the field some this season, hopefuly, though, without burning his redshirt.

STARTER LEFT GUARD, Torricelli Simpkins

Coming south from North Carolina Central, Torricelli Simpkins is a good football player. The interior lineman was an FCS All-American in 2023 and has impressed enough to be a real candidate to start on the Gamecock front.

Simpkins is strong and smart, two traits that are important for offensive linemen. He has been vouched for by former Gamecock offensive lineman Cedric Williams who coached him at NCCU. If Simpkins can provide similar production to his coach (who made the 2000 All-SEC team), he will make the South Carolina football team better this fall.


Jakai Moore feels as if he should be almost 30 years old as he enters his 6th season with the Gamecocks. He has had some good moments and some less-than-good moments, but he is a smart player with size and plenty of experience.

Moore has played every position on the line but center, so his role will be important even if he doesn't start. The big man is light enough on his feet to pass block well on the outside and have success as a pull player on the interior. He will play this season in some capacity.


Overall, Vershon Lee was USC's best offensive lineman in 2023. Beginning the year as the team's starting center and finishing it at right tackle, Lee is a good player who could play any position offensive line coach Lonnie Teasley asks him to play.

During the Garnet and Black Spring Game, Lee started at center despite sharing a line with other players who could play the position. The same was true last year as he was the man in the middle instead of Nick Gargiulo until his team needed him at tackle. This indicates that, for now, he is the the most likely candidate to be snapping the ball to LaNorris Sellers this fall.

Lee is not a road-grading run blocker (most centers aren't), but he does his job well, and he is a solid pass protector. Gamecock fans can look for Lee to be a big help for the young Sellers with pre-snap protection calls and other mental aspects of the game.

BACKUP CENTER, Torricelli Simpkins

Torricelli Simpkins seems like a real candidate to start on the interior of the offensive line. During the Garnet and Black Spring Game, he played guard at the same time that Vershon Lee (a near guarantee to start somewhere up front) played center, so Carolina likely favors Lee at the position to Simpkins.

That means Simpkins likely is a starter at one of the guard spots. However, he is also the most likely candidate to be the backup center behind Lee. USC had a similar configuration last year when a transfer center (Nick Gargiulo) started at guard but slid over to center when Lee was needed at tackle or injured.


Tro Baugh was a Freshman All-SEC guard last year after taking over at right guard just before the midway point of last year. The Georgia native was solid, but the Gamecocks will need him to be better this year if they hope to show improvement up front from last year.

The interior of the Gamecocks' offensive line is loaded with intriguing players who could be good in the right situation. If Baugh struggles, there will be others who get opportunities to play.


Florida Atlantic transfer offensive lineman Kamaar Bell is definitely involved in the position battles on the interior of the Gamecock line of scrimmage. There is a chance he starts, but beating out incumbents like Vershon Lee and Tro Baugh will be difficult, and Torricelli Simpkins has made a strong impression, as well.

Bell has plenty of experience, having been a multi-year starter at Florida Atlantic after transferring there from Auburn. He will push for a starting job somewhere on the interior and should be expected to play


Unfortunately with Henry, any inclusion of him in the starting lineup has to come with an asterisk. The big fella from Georgia has battled injuries every step of his college career so far, so there is a very real possibility that he wins the job at right tackle but suffers an injury again.

However, if he's healthy, Henry could be a really good player for the Gamecocks. As a true freshman in 2022, he was a player who drew attention at practice before he got hurt, and he was the starter at right tackle to begin the 2023 campaign before going down on the first drive of the season.

Henry likely will have the first chance to start at right tackle (pending health), and fans should be excited to see what he can do.


Another former Oklahoma Sooner who found his way to Columbia to reunite with Shane Beamer, Aaryn Parks was a top-100 national prospect out of high school but did not see much game action with the Sooners as he sat behind multiple NFL Draft picks.

Parks is an athletic pass protector despite being nearly 320 pounds, and if he can have his play on the field match his baseline of talent, he will be a factor in the position battles at tackle.


Markee Anderson was believed to be the best of the three 4-star offensive linemen the Gamecocks signed in the 2023 recruiting class, but a knee injury ended his first year before it really got started. He has battled some other ailments in 2024, as well. He is good enough that if he is healthy, he can push for playing time.

Ryan Brubaker has been injured a lot since arriving on campus, but when he's healthy, he is often mentioned in two-deep discussions. Kam Pringle and Blake Franlks are 4-star players from the '24 cycle who should redshirt, but they both are talented enough that if things go off the rails like last year, they could be called upon to play.

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