But will Thompson be the starter throughout the entire season? Does he have what it takes to be successful?
Normally, even for a player who has yet to be a consistent starter, these questions wouldn't exist for a returning quarterback entering his redshirt senior year. However, Thompson is about to replace the most successful quarterback in school history in Connor Shaw.
Shaw's 27-5 record as a starter, inspiring leadership skills and presence on the field to make big plays make Thompson's task a whole lot tougher.
Also, Shaw didn't lose a single home game in his career. Winning at Williams-Brice Stadium will be a big metric in measuring Thompson's success this season.
Thompson has an undeniable advantage in arm strength over Shaw. Nevertheless, Shaw was an extremely accurate and underappreciated passer who rarely made a bad read, as he limited interceptions.
The real edge that Shaw provided for the Gamecocks was the ability to stretch plays and bail out the South Carolina offense on 3rd-and-long.
Spurrier could count on Shaw to make a play happen when the original call on 3rd-and-long didn't pan out. Shaw could tuck the ball and scramble for a first down to keep the offense going.
Shaw was a workhorse and his will could not be stopped as he tried to move the chains.
Thompson isn't a slouch when it comes to mobility, but he isn't Shaw. In Thompson's case, he will need to make those tough plays with his arm. Is that something South Carolina can rely on when the time comes?
Sometimes, Thompson may not make the right read, but that ability to make decisions in crunch time should come given Thompson's experience and leadership. He is hungry to win and doesn't want to fall into the shadow of Shaw during his lone season as the starter.
Connor Mitch isn't ready to take over the offense yet, but Thompson should use that as motivation because Mitch will be hot on his tail throughout the season.
One slip-up could mean that Mitch gets his chance to lead the Gamecocks offense.
From a prospect standpoint, Thompson has all of the intangibles to be successful and lead the South Carolina offense. His physical abilities are not in question. It's whether he has the competitive edge, decision-making, rhythm and flow to power the Gamecocks' scoring attack.
Consistency, consistency, consistency. That is what will determine Thompson's success in 2014. He cannot be up and down like he was while filling in for Shaw in 2013.
Thompson can be successful, and I think that he will be. However, we cannot compare his season to Shaw's career.
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