The South Carolina Gamecocks boasted a top-15 defense last season for the second straight year. With star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney returning, they’ll make a strong push for a third-consecutive top-tier defense. Their success, however, may be in finding a new spur for their defense with the departure of senior DeVonte Holloman.
Spur is a unique position to the South Carolina defense that acts as a safety/linebacker hybrid. They get lined up all over the field to bring pressure or disrupt offenses from every angle, acting as a defensive jack-of-all-trades. Holloman held down the position very well in 2012, recording 55 tackles with two sacks and three interceptions.
This spring, the two leading candidates to start at spur next season are junior Sharrod Golightly and redshirt freshman Jordan Diggs. They will battle it out during spring practices to show they have the versatility to line up all over the field and be a disruptive force on the Gamecocks’ defense.
They will have a little extra competition this fall as well as incoming freshman Mohamed Camara is also projected as a spur for South Carolina. Whichever comes out on top will have to prove they have the strength, speed and burst to go anywhere and everywhere they are asked to line up at, taking on offensive linemen in pass rush or run support or dropping in coverage to cover tight ends and slot receivers.
The Gamecocks’ success in the SEC next season is heavily invested in how well their defense reloads. They will break in six new defensive starters in 2013, but have the foundation in place to put out a top defensive unit once again. The key may be who steps up to play the spur and addes that dynamic element that makes the Gamecocks so tough on opposing offenses.