3 Underrated South Carolina football players poised for breakouts this fall

South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer and his staff will need some unexpected players to step up in big ways in 2024 for the Gamecocks to get back to a bowl game.

South Carolina football tight end Josh Simon
South Carolina football tight end Josh Simon / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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3 Breakout Candidates for South Carolina Football:
Tight End Josh Simon

South Carolina football fans watched a pretty good season from starting tight end Trey Knox last season. Knox was a solid contributor most of the season and even made the All-SEC team. Yet, fans were clamoring to see Knox's backup get some more playing time.

Why? Because Josh Simon is a really good football player.

The South Carolina native started his college career at Western Kentucky before transferring back home prior to last year. He got a fair amount of snaps as the Gamecocks played a lot of 12-personnel (1 running back, 2 tight ends), but Simon was not utilized as often as most fans would have liked.

In his limited usage, Simon managed 28 catches for 256 yards, and 2 touchdowns. He was also the Gamecocks' best blocker from the tight end position. He showed some really nice after-the-catch ability in 2023 and multiple highlights circulated from USC practices in which Simon went up and won a 50-50 ball in the air.

He really is a "do-it-all" type of tight end.

His best play as a receiver last year came against the Florida Gators when he caught a short pass and ran over safety Jordan Castell before scampering the rest of the way to the end zone for the 33-yard score.

And here he is in the same game executing a combo block well as he gives a quick hit to the defensive lineman before bouncing up to the second level so that running back Juju McDowell could score from 17 yards out.

Simon will partner with incoming transfer Brady Hunt, 4-star freshman Michael Smith, and intriguing redshirt freshmen Connor Cox and Reid Mikeska in the tight end room this season. With the Gamecocks' lack of experienced receivers, two tight ends will be on the field a lot, and Josh Simon will be tasked with doing a lot to help the Carolina offense as both a receiver and as a blocker.