If South Carolina's offense is going to take on more of an old-school Steve Spurrier feel in 2014, it's going to need plenty of wide receivers to do so.
There's a problem, though—some of those wide receivers are leaving.
Kwinton Smith left the program earlier in the offseason, and according to Josh Kendall of The State, the Gamecocks lost sophomore Jody Fuller to a transfer this week.
Fuller, who is seeking more playing time, according to Kendall, caught only one pass last year for five yards but was a hot prospect coming out of Monroe, North Carolina, earning four stars from 247Sports.com.
It's a problem from a quantity standpoint, but it could be good news from a quality standpoint for the Gamecocks. The pieces of the puzzle at wide receiver could be coming together with talented and versatile players, as David Cloninger of The State noted on Twitter.
Still, Gamecocks have Shaq Roland, Nick Jones, Damiere Byrd, K.J. Brent and Pharoh Cooper. Signed three this spring.— David Cloninger (@DCTheState) June 4, 2014
Shaq Roland and Damiere Byrd are known commodities.
Roland came on strong late last season, catching 13 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns over the last three games of the season and proving that he can live up to the 4-star hype that followed him to Columbia. The 6'1", 185-pounder has great hands, runs crisp routes and can get behind the defense in a hurry.
Alongside Roland will be Byrd, who caught 33 passes for 575 yards and four touchdowns a year ago. At 5'9", 166 pounds, he has the size of a prototypical slot receiver but will likely line up outside for the Head Ball Coach. The one-two punch of Roland and Byrd will be difficult for defensive coordinators to scheme against, particularly due to flexibility.
Pharoh Cooper, a 5'11", 200-pound sophomore who had three catches last season, will likely line up in that slot position for the Gamecocks. But it's his versatility that has the coaching staff excited.
"Pharoh Cooper is a really good football player that can play numerous spots and will continue to improve," said quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus.
South Carolina's receiving corps is, for the most part, undersized. The one exception is 6'4", 190-pound junior K.J. Brent. He only had two catches for 13 yards last year, but he has the size to present matchup problems for undersized defensive backs and has the speed and quickness to be a weapon underneath.
Nick Jones is interesting as well. At 5'7", 174 pounds, he's best suited to play the slot and can be a big-time factor on screens.
With Cooper starting in the slot and both Byrd and Jones able to slide in there, too, it will allow Spurrier to mix and match his wide receivers within formations, exploiting matchups and helping out first-year starting quarterback Dylan Thompson.
There isn't a ton of experience in the South Carolina wide receiving corps, but what it lacks in game snaps, it makes up for in versatility.
That versatility has created a logjam atop the depth chart, which makes a few transfers nothing to be concerned about.
* Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted, all stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.com.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!