The South Carolina Gamecocks will be opening with one of their biggest matchups of the season when they play UNC on Thursday night, and they’ll need several players to elevate their game if they want to make a big splash.
The following three players could have breakout games against the Tar Heels and burst onto the national scene.
Tight end might not be the most exciting position, but Adams could make a splash in the passing game for the Gamecocks.
He’s a physical freak at 6’6”, 237 pounds, and although he only caught four passes for 90 yards last year, he still earned SEC All-Freshman team honors.
He has been a consistent threat for quarterback Connor Shaw this spring, hauling in five passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns, and that should continue on Thursday.
Shaw has never had the biggest arm, and Adams could be the perfect safety blanket for him as he faces UNC’s aggressive defensive front.
Jones has stepped into Ace Sanders’ shoes to join standout wide receiver Damiere Byrd on offense and could have a breakout year.
Although he’s diminutive at just 5’7”, his production increased steadily as last year went on. He finished with 12 catches for 197 yards.
Now, he gets to face the Tar Heels’ porous pass defense, which ranked 83rd in the nation last year. He could have a big game against UNC.
Marcus Lattimore might have gotten all the publicity for the Gamecocks at running back last year, but Mike Davis quietly inserted himself into the mix at the position.
He finished fourth on the team in rushing behind Lattimore, Shaw and the graduated Kenny Miles, but he still totaled 275 yards and two scores.
Now he sits on top of the depth chart, and since North Carolina allowed nearly 143 rushing yards per game last year, he could have a big night.
Analysts are similarly excited about Davis’ potential.
In all likelihood, Adams and Jones will have noteworthy performances in the game and get on the national radar.
Mike Davis ready to put his stamp on USCs running game http://t.co/JRizC0ml4P— GoGamecocks.com (@gogamecocks) August 28, 2013
But Davis stands to gain the most, as he could use a big game to vault himself into a Heisman race that is currently lacking any clear favorites.