3 Breakout Candidates for South Carolina Football:
Linebacker Bam Martin-Scott
In the beginning of the 2023 season, the linebacker position was one of inconsistency and, frankly, a lack of speed.
As the season progressed, Debo Williams got better and better, and reserve linebacker Bam Martin-Scott started getting more snaps, especially when the Gamecocks would utilize a 3-3-5 defensive base formation more often. By the end of the year, the 3-3-5 became the primary set utilized by defensive coordinator Clayton White, and Martin-Scott became a full-time starter.
The senior took advantage of his extra playing time in a big-way, logging 28 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass defended, and multiple quarterback hurries over the final three weeks of the season.
Cashing in on his "Covid redshirt," Martin-Scott will be back in garnet and black for the 2024 season, and he will be an integral part of a defense that looks to be better than its poor showing last fall. He will play with Debo Williams, Jaron Willis, transfers Bangally Kamara and Demetrius Knight, and freshmen Wendell Gregory and Fred "JayR" Johnson.
With Williams also returning, most fans expect Martin-Scott to start alongside the All-SEC 'backer in 2024, whether the Gamecocks continue using the 3-3-5 or return to a 4-2-5 look. BMS brings speed and downhill aggression to the position, something he showed on a big tackle for loss against the rival Clemson Tigers.
Martin-Scott has shown the ability to play in a traditional linebacker spot or to line up at EDGE, and that versatility will help the Gamecocks, especially with his ability to get into the backfield as a blitzer and as an EDGE player.
Here he is blitzing:
And here he is picking up a nice tackle for loss from a wide-9:
Bam Martin-Scott should have his first-ever chance to start at linebacker for an extended period of time, and there is plenty of reason to believe he will make the most of his opportunity. Fans should look for him to get a lot of snaps at linebacker and some at EDGE with the team's lack of proven pass rushers at defensive end.