South Carolina Football: Gamecocks Search to Replace Alshon Jeffery

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterApril 3, 2012

South Carolina WR Ace Sanders
South Carolina WR Ace SandersStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

Alshon Jeffery didn't exactly have his best season in 2011.  As a junior, he hauled in 49 passes for 762 yards.  

Not bad, but it was roughly half the production that Jeffery enjoyed as a sophomore in 2010.

It was good enough for Jeffery, though.  He'll be playing on Sundays in 2012 while South Carolina is left looking for a replacement.

That search isn't exactly going well. Coach Steve Spurrier had some harsh words for his offense following Saturday's scrimmage:

"Connor (Shaw) must have had four sacks today in 10 passes.

"He's got to throw the ball somewhere and get it out of his hands a little quicker. The other quarterbacks were not real accurate at times, but we hit a few here and there.

"The receivers ran pretty good routes but had a couple drops. It was not all that encouraging as it could have been. The defense did some good things."

Ace Sanders caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Clifford for his only reception of the scrimmage.  Those 30 yards led all Gamecock receivers.

The emergence of Connor Shaw as a legitimate dual-threat quarterback has made the search for the next receiving stud in Columbia a little less important, but someone still has to step up.  There are certainly options.

South Carolina WR Bruce Ellington
South Carolina WR Bruce EllingtonStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

Sanders has the experience, but at 5'7", 175 lbs, he's better suited to playing a hybrid running back/wide receiver role.  

K.J. Brent, a 6'3", 185-pound redshirt freshman, shined in the first scrimmage of the spring with a 34-yard touchdown catch.  Bruce Ellington has returned to the program after quitting last month to focus on basketball.  

The 6-foot-5-inch D.L. Moore certainly has the stature to replace Jeffery; and he, Sanders, Shaq Roland and DeAngelo Smith will likely see playing time early in 2012.

Being one-dimensional in the SEC can get you beat in a hurry.  It's a work in progress, and there's no need to worry just yet.  

Someone has to step up to be the No. 1 target for quarterback Connor Shaw though, because South Carolina isn't going to be successful without a passing game to compliment Shaw and running back Marcus Lattimore.