South Carolina Football: 5 Gamecocks to Watch Explode in 2013
It's time to watch some new players explode.
Not physically, mind you.
No, dear readers. These players will explode in the statistical sense, in the way that makes one forget the big names of the past and start thinking about how bright the future is. The Gamecocks coaching staff has done an immaculate job researching players and finding guys that fit the Gamecock mold.
While the recruiting classes have been in the top 10-20 consistently over the past 10 years, it's never been about the stars. It's about the young men they bring aboard. Player development is something this staff excels at, and it goes much farther than any star-rating system.
Next year, there will be a new batch of stars just waiting to spring forward.
Here are five players that could end up as household names by the end of next season.
Bruce Ellington, Junior, Receiver
People already know who Bruce Ellington is. However, with Ace Sanders gone, he's going to step into a much larger role as the most experienced and dynamic receiver on the team.
Ellington's 600 yards receiving led the team in 2012, and his 40 catches and seven touchdowns were second to Mr. Sanders. He could be poised to double these numbers with a more competent and confident passing offense led by a strong Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson.
This offense could look much different in 2013, and Ellington could be a huge benefactor.
Chaz Sutton, Senior, Defensive End
Chaz Sutton has been around the team for a while. He's made some solid plays and had five sacks last year. However, this will be the year he absolutely explodes.
He's going to start opposite of Jadeveon Clowney, and with all that attention focusing on No. 7, Sutton has the chance to utilize his brute strength and deceptive speed for a big year.
He had five sacks as a backup in 2012, and Gamecocks fans are very excited to see what a Clowney/Sutton combo can do to quarterbacks.
Mike Davis, Sophomore, Running Back
The probable starter at running back had a good freshman year. Most fans would have loved to have seen him receive more carries, as he was the most exciting of the backups.
He only carried the ball 52 times, but he had a team-leading 5.3 yards per carry average and ran in two touchdowns.
At that pace, if he carries the ball 200 times over the course of a season, you're looking at 1,060 yards and eight or more touchdowns.
He could easily get these numbers. With four out of five offensive line starters coming back and a passing offense that started to look dangerous at the end of the year, the running game should be much improved. Davis will lead the way.
Shaq Roland, Sophomore, Wide Receiver
"Mr. Disappointment" wasn't all bad his freshman year.
Roland showed he could get behind coverage and has solid jumping ability. However, his concentration lacked. He dropped passes he should have caught, and he didn't find himself in the lineup often.
With another year of practice and route training, he still has the potential to be a breakout star. Again, with his God-given leaping and speed, he should turn the corner this year. The mental part of the game will come to him.
He's a smart kid. It will come.
Look for Mr. Roland to be a go-to guy towards the end of the year.
Rory Anderson, Junior, Tight End
I predict the biggest breakout star of 2013 to be none other than Rory Anderson.
This blazing-fast tight end with the wide receiver skills will be the next big-time NFL pass-catching tight end. I believe this.
He's a great route runner and has excellent hands. He finds ways to get open and makes plays. I've said this a million times...
Linebackers can't catch him. Corners can't cover him. He's a nightmare for defenses. Remember the name. This 6'5" tight end/wide receiver has All-American written all over him.