After taking a month off for vacation and playing with my band (Cover of Afternoon, if you were wondering), I am back to writing about the South Carolina Gamecocks!
Just in time to work on my fourth annual full-team evaluations and team guide.
I know, hold your applause, please.
We begin with the quarterbacks. We all know Connor Shaw has the potential to be an All-SEC player and Steve Spurrier loves him. What about the rest of them? Are they in better position than last year? Let's find out.
Weight: 210 lbs.
Pros: Speed, agility, work ethic, accuracy, decision making
Cons: Happy feet, injury concerns
Connor Shaw blossomed before our very eyes in 2011. He is now widely considered a legitimate dual-threat quarterback. He's an excellent passer and makes great choices with the ball.
His only real drawback is his tendency to run early. He takes a lot of big hits, and if he goes down, the teams chances go down with him.
He's a great quarterback and will set the SEC on fire this year, as long as he stays on the field.
Weight: 212 lbs.
Year: Redshirt Sophomore
Pros: Intelligence, arm strength
Cons: Experience, reading defenses, ability to run the option offense
Dylan Thompson is slated to back up Connor Shaw. He had some minor experience in 2011. He completed both of his passes for 17 yards and rushed one time for 8. However, he is still an unknown quantity.
He was an academic honor roll player, and has shown a knack for the game. He doesn't have the running ability of Connor Shaw, and wouldn't be efficient running the same style of game.
He's not slow by any means, but he just isn't the quarterback Shaw is. He could be a good one. He's young and showed a lot of promise during the spring. It's just not his time. He could compete if called upon though.
Weight: 195 lbs.
Pros: Intelligence, accuracy
Cons: Arm strength, athleticism
Strickland impressed coaches as a walk-on in 2009 with an excellent display of accuracy. While not nearly as mobile as the other quarterbacks on the roster, Strickland makes due with his arm.
He won't see much time this year, as I believe one of the following freshman will snatch up the third quarterback spot.
Weight: 200 lbs.
Year: Redshirt Freshman
Pros: Speed, size, strength, intelligence
Cons: Experience at QB, accuracy
I still have very high hopes for Tanner McEvoy. He's an elite athlete playing the quarterback position. He isn't quite up to being a quarterback who is also an elite athlete (if that makes sense).
He did good work during the spring and showed some flashes of brilliance. He is currently fourth on the depth chart, but with hard work and an improvement in technique, he could still be the number three (and possibly future) quarterback.
Weight: 200 lbs.
Year: Incoming Freshman
Pros: Speed, accuracy size, intelligence
Cons: Experience, ability to learn SEC offense
Brendan Nosovitch has amazing upside. He was an amazing runner in high school, and an equally dangerous passer. He's got an excellent delivery to along with his fantastic athleticism.
He could be the future of the position. I would expect him to redshirt this year, but when he is ready, he may give everyone a run for their money, including the star recruit for 2013, Connor Mitch.
Three-Year Stock Pattern: Rising
The Gamecocks are in fantastic hands with Connor Shaw. He's an A+ in my book.
Dylan Thompson is good enough to lead the team, and can compete at an SEC level. Seth Strickland is a bit out of place with these athletic quarterbacks, while McEvoy and Nosovitch represent the potential future.
Having a great quarterback entrenched as a starter and no off-field distractions make this unit much better than in previous years.