South Carolina has been phenomenal so far this season and is every bit deserving of its No. 3 ranking. But when the Gamecocks travel to Baton Rouge this weekend to take on LSU, they are going to have their hands full with a few of the Tigers' elite playmakers on both sides of the ball.
If Les Miles' ninth-ranked squad is going to upset South Carolina, it will need these standouts to play their best football of the season.
Eric Reid, S
Reid was a Rivals.com 2011 Second-Team All-American, and for good reason. The 6'2", 212 lbs. safety is one of the most talented defensive backs in the entire country and is a potential first-round draft pick next April.
He is extremely athletic and has great instincts. Reid really attacks the ball in the air and has great body control when going up for a pass against a receiver.
Reid is also known for being one of the hardest-hitting safeties in the country. He is aggressive, pursues the ball well and loves to put a big hit on the ball carrier. This has helped him amass 32 tackles over the first six games of this season.
There's no doubt that he is just itching for the chance to lay out Marcus Lattimore and Damiere Byrd.
Kenny Hilliard, RB
Hilliard is built more like a fullback than a running back, but he shows surprising quickness and speed out of the backfield.
Hilliard averages an impressive 6.6 yards per carry on the season, with 382 yards total. He also scored two touchdowns in each of the team's first three games.
In the past three games, however, Hilliard has been quiet, with just 79 yards total and no touchdowns. He should be looking to turn things back around, and there's no bigger stage to do that on than against South Carolina on Saturday night.
Sam Montgomery, DE
Another potential first-round draft pick, Montgomery is a big, physical defensive end who gets consistent pressure on the quarterback.
Although he is not as naturally quick and athletic as fellow lineman and future first-round pick Barkevious Mingo, Montgomery is stronger, more consistent, more durable and better against the run.
At 6'5", 260 lbs., Montgomery will give South Carolina's offensive line fits. He gets great leverage off the snap and keeps his legs churning as he forces his way into the backfield.
He only has two sacks this year, but will be looking to add to that total by getting to South Carolina's quarterback Connor Shaw all night.
Odell Beckham, WR
While he may be one of the smallest guys on the field, he's also one of the most dynamic. Beckham is Zach Mettenberger's favorite target, with double the amount of receptions as the team's second-highest pass-catcher.
Beckham has pulled in 20 catches for 364 yards this season, good for an 18.2 average. He had his biggest game of the year against Towson, where he caught five passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
While those are Beckham's only touchdown catches of the year, he has also added a score off a punt return. He has returned 18 punts for 168 yards and is a weapon any time he touches the ball.
Beckham's versatility and speed make him dangerous on offense and special teams. South Carolina will have to focus on shutting him down or risk being burned by this talented sophomore.