South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer and his Gamecock squad had a regression in record in 2023. After USC won 6 combined games from 2019-2020, Beamer raised expectations in Columbia by winning 15 games in 2021 and 2022, making back-to-back bowl games, beating two top-10 teams (including the rival Clemson Tigers), and improving recruiting. A victim of his own success, Beamer was the object of the fan base's ire after missing a bowl in 2023.
The South Carolina football coaching staff has gotten to work this offseason, though, relentlessly attacking the transfer portal to help fill the holes on the roster and continuing the strong recruiting efforts that have been a staple of the Beamer era in Columbia.
However, for the Gamecocks to take a step back up on the field, they will need some returning players to take steps in their development. In fact, without a few players having "breakout" seasons in garnet and black, improvement seems like it will be a near-impossibility.
This article won't focus on the most obvious breakout candidates, however. Expected starting quarterback LaNorris Sellers and former 5-star Nyck Harbor are obvious choices as potential players to burst onto the scene in 2024. This article also won't be about players who are in their first year with the Gamecocks (either from the 2024 recruiting class or the transfer portal) or ones who have been long-entrenched starters.
Instead, this article will focus on players who are not as known across the SEC who have a great chance to step up in next season. Three players stand out above the rest as players who can help take the Gamecocks to the next level with strong seasons this fall.