South Carolina Football: WR Play Will Greatly Impact Gamecocks' SEC Chances
When you glance at South Carolina's roster, you see a team that is as good on paper as it has ever been.
There are questions in only two areas.
One being the defensive backs, where there is talent, but razor-thin depth.
The other is the wide receivers. They are going to go a long way in determining how far this Gamecock team goes. The team has a great quarterback, a good offensive line and an amazing backfield.
The question is, how much can the wide receivers contribute?
Most of these players are not household names. There is talent here. Players like Ace Sanders (who is the most recognizable due to his starting experience), Damiere Byrd and DeAngelo Smith all have ability, but aren't known.
That's about to change.
There are two freshman that I will be interested to watch develop.
K.J. Brent, a redshirt, and Shaq Roland have the ability to be superstars. They have size, speed and strength. Without a doubt, they could have a huge impact on the Gamecocks' season.
Big-Play Receiver Needed
South Carolina hasn't been without a big-play guy in years. It's been a train of stars, starting with Troy Williamson (drafted in the first round), Sidney Rice (second round), Kenny McKinley (fifth round) and Alshon Jeffery (second round).
These guys were some of the best in the business during their collegiate time. While no one on the team needs to be the "end-all-be-all" receiver, someone must step up as the man who consistently makes quality plays.
The reason that the team doesn't need one superstar receiver is that the receiving group is truly deep. There are at least eight players who can contribute. Ace Sanders, Damiere Byrd, Shaq Roland, K.J. Brent, DeAngelo Smith, Bruce Ellington, D.L. Moore, and Shamier Jeffery could all be very good receivers, with Sanders the most likely to have a breakout year in 2012.
South Carolina also has incredible pass-catching tight ends like Jerrel Adams, Rory "Buster" Anderson, and, to some extent, Justice Cunningham.
This could be a very productive group.
Can These Guys Help the Team Win?
In fact, these guys could be a strength of the team by the end of the year. They are intelligent and hard-working players who have learned to run good routes. By all accounts, they are catching everything thrown their way in practice.
There is a great deal of speed on this squad. Ace Sanders and Damiere Byrd may be two of the fastest players in the country.
They will be used creatively in order to create mismatches that Connor Shaw will be able to exploit. It is going to be a fun year watching this crew develop.