University of South Carolina Football
Friday, February 10, 2012
South Carolina Gamecocks Head into 2012 with One of the Deepest Backfields
As if having Marcus Lattimore wasn't enough, the South Carolina Gamecocks will go into this season with what could be the deepest backfield not only in the SEC, but in the country.
Kenny Miles has decided to return for his senior year, and the Gamecocks also managed to recruit the sixth-best running back in this year's class in Mike Davis.
Not only are the Gamecocks getting new legs, but they will be getting healthier legs from Shon Carson, who was regarded as the second-best running back on the team going into the season.
Brandon Wilds also proved that he could be a force for the Gamecocks and carry the load when Lattimore needs a breather.
Oh, and then they have Connor Shaw. Yes, he's a quarterback, but if teams give him a lane, he can easily take it the distance. He's one of the fastest quarterbacks in the country and is a great complement to South Carolina's offense.
With Alshon Jeffery leaving for the NFL and no other receiver that has shined, the Gamecocks will have to rely more heavily on the running game. They have some quality recruits coming in at receiver including the fifth-best receiver in the class in Shaq Roland, but neither of them are proven and will need time to adjust to the speed of the game and the physicality of SEC defense's.
The Gamecock's running back depth chart could as follows when the season begins on August 30th:
1.) Marcus Lattimore: Junior
There's nothing to really discuss here. Lattimore is the best running back in the country when healthy and will have a lot to do with the season the Gamecock's have this year. Last year, he was leading the SEC in rushing before going down with a knee injury against Mississippi State that kept him out the whole year.
Lattimore has said that he will be stronger and faster next season and his knee won't be a problem. A stronger and faster Marcus Lattimore? I wouldn't want to be playing linebacker for any team facing South Carolina.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
2.) Shon Carson: Sophomore
Carson was a key recruit for the Gamecocks and was supposed to back up Lattimore all of last season. However, his season was also cut short due to a knee injury but is expected to return at full strength next year.
His running style compares to that of Marcus Lattimore's and is great at catching the ball out of the backfield. Expect him to be the main guy when Lattimore is taking a breather.
3.) Kenny Miles: Senior
Miles filled in admirably for Marcus Lattimore and was an integral part to the Gamecock's strong finish. He had a great game against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl which might have convinced him to come back for his last season as it had been speculated that he wouldn't come back after this year. Miles is a smaller back compared to Lattimore and Carson and is also very good at catching the ball out of the backfield. He will be a nice change of pace back to complement Lattimore and Carson.
4.) Brandon Wilds: Sophomore
Wilds basically came out of nowhere last season to help fill the void left by Marcus Lattimore. He wasn't highly recruited out of high school and nearly redshirted before the season began. He was able to move his way up the depth chart and a couple of injuries helped him get on the field to prove what he can do. He is also a big back that has the ability to break tackles and has deceptive speed. He will compete with Miles for the third spot on the depth chart and might give Carson a run for his money.
5.) Mike Davis: Freshman
One of the Gamecock's prized recruits this year, Mike Davis has the ability to be a top running back in the SEC. He fits the mold of the other running backs in the roster as he is also a bruising back that has the ability to break tackles and has one of the best spin moves I have ever seen. He will have a lot of work to do to beat the running backs ahead of him for playing time and might redshirt this season.