With the conclusion of the 2012 season, the South Carolina Gamecocks will say goodbye to one of its most reliable go-to players in Kenny Miles, creating quite the roster spot to fill at running back for 2013, since Marcus Lattimore will also not be available due to the knee injury he suffered this season against Tennessee.
But its not as if Steve Spurrier is in dire straits despite the fact that both Miles and Lattimore have been key ingredients to establishing a successful South Carolina running attack over the last four years.
For one, on the active roster right now heading into the Outback Bowl against Michigan, he has freshman Mike Davis, who has been able to see more action and gain more seasoning since Lattimore’s injury on October 27th.
Davis came in with a tremendous amount of upside out of Stone Mountain, Georgia, and was considered to be one of the top running backs out of the state as well as a potential “successor” to Lattimore.
Splitting time with Miles over the last four games, Davis has averaged 34.5 yards per game with a touchdown coming against Arkansas. Modest numbers for sure, but good experience heading into a 2013 season when the rising sophomore will be called upon to be a bigger part of the Gamecocks offense.
But certainly not to be forgotten as another weapon for Spurrier in the backfield next season is Brandon Wilds, who has not played in 2012 due to injury.
Wilds’ 2011 freshman season saw limited action until Lattimore went down to injury against Mississippi State, after which Wilds rolled off three 100-yard games, including 137 against Tennessee on 28 carries.
He followed up that performance two weeks later with another 29 carries for 120 yards against Florida.
Without a doubt, he will be a welcome addition to the South Carolina running game to help fill the gaps of Miles' graduation and Lattimore's injury. And there is little doubt he will come into 2013 with something to prove and echo the success he had in 2011.
With Wilds not seeing any action in 2012, Davis will most likely be the starter heading into the 2013 season, but even if it becomes a situation of splitting time with Wilds, as Davis has done with Miles this year, the Gamecocks will be young and fresh at running back, which will only help open things up for Connor Shaw in the passing game.