Alshon Jeffery and Stephon Gilmore to Forgo Senior Seasons: So, What Now for SC?

Alex Roberts@@alexCoAbassCorrespondent IJanuary 5, 2012

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 12:  Alshon Jeffery #1 of the South Carolina Gamecocks smiles as he lines up for a play against the Florida Gators during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

ESPN is reporting that Alshon Jeffery and Stephon Gilmore will go pro. 

Alshon Jeffery's parting words fit with his attitude for so many years: "I would like to thank the fans, my teammates , coach spurrier and everyone involved for all the opportunities south Carolina has provided me, I am proud to say I will always be a gamecock."

He truly will always be a Gamecock—and a well-loved one at that. 

No one is surprised he is leaving.  He has always wanted to take care of his family, and he has given all he can to the university.  He is projected as a first- or second-round pick, and will make great money. 

He has the work ethic and skills to be a great wide receiver. 

Stephon Gilmore's decision is questionable. 

A super talented player with a high ceiling, Gilmore has suffered from bouts of chronic underachievement in certain games.  He will be no higher than a low second-round pick in my opinion.  Someone could take him higher if he shows out at the combine, but he could have been a slam dunk top-10 pick in 2013.

So, now that two of the most dynamic players on the team are gone, what is next?

At wide receiver, Alshon will be next to impossible to replace.  However, they won't have to replace him.  They have a stable of great wide receivers ready to play. 

K.J. Brent, a redshirt freshman, has been amazing at practice.  Ace Sanders is a bona fide gamer, as noted during the Nebraska game. 

Damiere Byrd, the freshman speedster, will likely get more looks.  They also have Shaq Roland coming in, who could make an impact similar to Clemson's Sammy Watkins. 

Buster Anderson will also get a look.  The 6'6", 207-pound freshman tight end could be the next great wide receiver for the team. 

Connor Shaw will distribute the ball evenly among these guys.  The team will be fine. 

Now, Stephon Gilmore's loss may be a bit more difficult to overcome. 

Vic Hampton looked good this year.  If he can stay out of trouble, he will be a great starter.  The Gamecocks also have a stable of very young and talented players in the fold, but they are all unproven.  Akeem Aguste will be back from injury, and that should help. 

Either way, Gamecock nation and myself wish both Gilmore and Jeffery great success in the NFL. 

You will always be Gamecocks!