South Carolina has a Quarterback Dilemma with Conner Shaw, Dylan Thompson

Conner Shaw

Jeff Blake – USA TODAY Sports

All the talk surrounding South Carolina this offseason has centered around All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and whether he would sit out his junior season to preserve his NFL draft stock.

But while there was never any doubt he would play, the real question is who the the Gamecocks’ starting quarterback in 2013 would be.

Connor Shaw was the starter for all but two games last season when Dylan Thompson started in his absence, and excelled when he was given an opportunity. The last pass play of the season last year for Steve Spurrier’s team came when Thompson came on in relief of an injured Shaw and delivered the game-winning touchdown pass in the Outback Bowl.

The injury to Shaw in the bowl game has him out as spring practice got underway Tuesday, and it was Thompson running with the first-team offense. The experience gained in the spring may be the difference that vaults him past Shaw, and his leadership skills have been lauded by coaches and players.

Shaw is a tough and gritty player in his own right, and I think Spurrier has a soft spot in his heart for him. So, my gut tells me that when Shaw gets healthy, he will be the starting quarterback for the season opener. That said, Thompson won’t be holding a clipboard this season because I expect Spurrier to rotate both signal-callers into games as he sees fit.

I wouldn’t worry too much about that disrupting the offensive rhythm of the chemistry between receivers, because the team plays well with both of them in the game, and each brings a different skill-set to the field. If history has taught us anything, it’s that quarterbacks excel under Spurrier.

In this case, he has two excelling under his tutelage, and that’s not a bad thing at all for the Gamecocks.

Patrick is a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Sportstownchicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and add him to your network on Google.

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