With the departure of talented tailback Marcus Lattimore, the South Carolina Gamecocks have some big shoes to fill. Though it will be no easy task, the Gamecocks have some young studs who can do some serious damage in the running game.
Junior Marcus Lattimore and senior Kenny Miles will no longer be in the backfield for South Carolina next season, as Miles has graduated and Lattimore heads to the NFL. Instead, a group of young running backs will lead the charge for SC.
Mike Davis, a true sophomore from Georgia, will likely receive the majority of carries at running back next season. Davis came into Columbia as the No. 6 running back in the 2012 recruiting class by ESPN.
In his senior year at Stephenson High School (Stone Mountain, GA), Davis rushed for 1,923 yards and 21 touchdowns. After his senior season, he was selected to the U.S. Army All-American Game.
Last season with the Gamecocks, Davis was limited, as he was playing behind both Lattimore and Miles. Once Lattimore went down with a nasty knee injury, Davis was able to split carries with Miles.
He was able to net 275 yards on just 52 carries, an average of 5.3 yards, and found the end zone twice. He also caught four passes for 35 yards in his freshman season, playing in 12 of the Gamecocks' 13 games.
One young South Carolina back was given an opportunity as a true freshman back in 2011 but unfortunately suffered a devastating injury early in the season. Shon Carson only had three carries before tearing his ACL in the second game of that season against Georgia.
The good news for Gamecock fans is that Carson was able to play against Michigan in the Outback Bowl, where he caught two passes.
Another weapon that could bolster the South Carolina backfield is newly-signed David Williams. A 4-star recruit in the 2013 class, Williams ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash and is the No. 23 running back in the nation according to Scout.com.
As a senior at Imhotep Institute Charter High School in Philadelphia, Williams rushed for 1,904 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Also, Brandon Wilds could get a ton of carries in 2013. The tailback missed the 2012 season due to injury, but had topped 100 yards rushing three times in 2011.
Losing a star player like Lattimore to the draft after a shortened career is difficult to swallow. However, these young backs for the Gamecocks will be exciting to watch in 2013.
Expect Mike Davis to break out with a big sophomore campaign. Also do not be surprised if the versatile Carson comes back more determined than ever after injuries kept him off the field.
South Carolina's rushing attack will be strong again in 2013.