By Walter Bergeson on April 21, 2014
The South Carolina football program has experienced unprecedented success over the last few years. The program won 11 games each of the past three seasons after never winning more than 10 in a season before 2011. However, the Gamecocks are still looking for their first SEC title. If this is the year they finally break through, they will need new stars to emerge.
Here are the Gamecocks' 5 most intriguing players heading into the 2014 season.
The Gamecocks' secondary has been pumping out NFL talent for years, and Williams is the next in line. He started 24 games over the past two seasons and will be one of the leaders on the 2014 defensive unit. Williams is a proven big-game player, picking off a pass in the last two meetings with in-state rival Clemson.
Roland was named "Mr. Football" in South Carolina as a high school senior in 2011, and he showed some of his big play ability last season for the Gamecocks He averaged over 18 yards per catch in 2013, including three touchdowns of 35 yards or more. With Bruce Ellington headed to the NFL Draft, Roland will be one of the top targets in the passing attack.
Jadeveon Clowney, Kelcy Quarles, Chaz Sutton and Surratt highlighted the Gamecocks' formidable defensive front last season, but only Surratt will be back in 2014. The redshirt senior started all 13 games for South Carolina last season, and he will be called upon to be a leader on defense during the upcoming season.
After splitting snaps with Connor Shaw the last two seasons, Thompson will now be at the top of the quarterback depth chart. The redshirt senior is 3-0 in his career as a starter and has thrown 14 touchdowns against only five interceptions in his career. Thompson is a traditional pocket quarterback who will allow head coach Steve Spurrier to fully open up his playbook.
Davis is a bruising back who will be the focal point of the Gamecocks' offense in 2014. He was named second-team All-SEC in 2013, rushing for 1,183 yards and 11 touchdowns. The only knock on Davis is that his hard-nosed running style frequently gets him hurt. If he can stay healthy, he could be a dark horse Heisman candidate in 2014.
Walter Bergeson is a writer for Rantsports.com. Follow him on twitter @WalterBSports or add him to your network on Google.
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