With the devastating injury news coming out of the Gamecock camp that Akeem Auguste will be sidelined again, South Carolina's secondary depth went from razor-thin to almost non-existent.
A starting tandem of the hard-hitting Auguste and great all-around Victor Hampton would have been capable of keeping the pass defense afloat without the great Stephon Gilmore and speedy C.C. Whitlock.
Now, I am not so sure. With Rico McWilliams (an impressive freshman) also out, the Gamecocks have a ton of questions, and not many bodies to answer.
Highly recruited and rated players like Chris Moody and Chaz Elder have to step in right away and produce at an SEC level. This won't be easy. Redshirt Freshman Ahmad Christian must also show why he was such a sought after commodity last year.
Jimmy Legree has had experience, and could be a good player. He will end up being the starter opposite of Victor Hampton. Jared Shaw, who is listed as a free safety, has impressed at times when lining up at corner.
The Gamecocks have great players line up everywhere on the field, and fantastic athletes at safety that will have to step up in order to play pass defense.
I believe that the Gamecocks will still be very good. The front four will be devastating of course, and the linebackers are experienced.
If one or two of these young players turn out to be the real deal or even play consistently, then the Gamecocks should be okay.
They may struggle against Georgia, Arkansas, and (gulp) Clemson's offenses if they don't.
An 8-4 season doesn't seem as unlikely as it did before all the injuries. As always, the Gamecocks have a coach that knows how to recruit and have players ready to play. Let's hope the head ball coach has some tricks up his magical sleeve.
Or this season could quickly become a disappointment.
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