University of South Carolina 2016 Football Highlights
Jan. 10, 2017
– The Gamecocks finished the season with a 6-7 record, including a 3-5 mark in the SEC. The six wins doubled the win total from 2015 and the three SEC wins was a two-game improvement over 2015.
– The Gamecocks played in the Birmingham Bowl. It marked the 12th time in the last 13 years that the squad was bowl-eligible. The Gamecocks are 5-5 in the 10 bowl games played in that stretch, including wins in four of their last five appearances. Carolina is 8-13 all time in 21 bowl appearances.
– Seventy-six of the Gamecocks’ 113-man Birmingham Bowl roster, or 67.3 percent, were either freshmen (52) or sophomores (24), compared to just 18 juniors and 19 seniors.
– 13 true freshmen saw game action during the 2016 season, including seven who started, matching Maryland, Ole Miss and Texas for the most true freshmen starters in the country.
– The Gamecocks had eight players start every game, four on offense ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” Zack Bailey, Cory Helms, Hayden Hurst and Mason Zandi; and four on defense ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” Darius English, Chris Lammons, Marquavius Lewis and Taylor Stallworth.
– Deep snapper Drew Williams (Steele’s All-America Fourth Team); defensive end Darius English (AP All-SEC Second Team, Steele’s All-SEC Third Team); wide receiver Bryan Edwards (Athlon’s SEC All-Freshman First Team); running back Rico Dowdle (Athlon’s SEC All-Freshman Second Team); defensive lineman D.J. Wonnum (Athlon’s SEC All-Freshman Second Team); and kick return A.J. Turner (Athlon’s SEC All-Freshman Second Team) were postseason award winners.
– 84 percent of South Carolina’s rushing yards were gained by freshmen or sophomores, including 78 percent by freshmen.
– 73 percent of South Carolina’s passing yards thrown were from freshmen quarterbacks.
– The team’s top six receivers were either freshmen or sophomores. Freshmen and sophomores accounted for 97 percent of the receiving yards and 96 percent of the pass receptions.
– True freshman quarterback Jack Bentley started each of the last seven games of the season. He threw for 1,420 yards while completing 65.8 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and just four interceptions. His single-season completion percentage ranks fourth in school history and he currently ranks first in career completion percentage.
– Jake Bentley set the school record for bowl games and Birmingham Bowl records for passes completed (32), yards passing (390) and total offense (381).
– Sophomore wide receiver Deebo Samuel led the team with 59 receptions and 783 receiving yards despite playing just 10 of the 13 games. He ranked third in the SEC in receptions per game (5.9), fourth in receiving yards per game (78.3), third in kickoff return average (26.9) and second in all-purpose yardage per game (132.0).
– Deebo Samuel tied the school record with 14 receptions against USF in the Birmingham Bowl and set Birmingham Bowl records with 14 receptions and 190 receiving yards.
– Sophomore Hayden Hurst turned in the best single-season performance in school history for a tight end with 48 catches for 616 yards.
– Freshman wide receiver Bryan Edwards ranked second among SEC freshmen in receiving yards per game (49.2) and third in receptions per game (3.7).
– With 44 receptions for 590 yards, Bryan Edwards had the second-best true freshman season for a Gamecock wide receiver behind only Alshon Jeffery (46 catches, 763 yards) in 2009.
– Senior defensive end Darius English recorded 9.0 sacks, tying for the fifth-best single-season total in school history. English finished his career with 15.0 sacks, tying for ninth on the Gamecocks’ all-time list.
– Junior safety D.J. Smith led the team with 80 tackles, including 62 solo stops. He logged the third-highest total of solo tackles in the SEC
– Senior placekicker Elliott Fry finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in points scored with 359, ranking ninth in SEC history. He finished with 66 career field goals, tying for ninth on the SEC charts, and converted each of his last 155 consecutive extra point attempts.
– The Gamecocks led the SEC and ranked eighth in the nation in kickoff returns, averaging 25.8 yards per return.
– The Gamecocks tied for first in the SEC and tied for 10th in the country in turnovers gained with 27.
– The Gamecocks will return 16 starters from the 2016 season including 10 on offense and six on defense.
– The Gamecocks were one of six teams the competed in a bowl game that own a Graduation Success Rate of at least 90 percent.
– The Gamecocks rank first in the SEC and third in the country behind only Stanford and Northwestern in the latest Graduation Success Rate (GSR) released by the NCAA.
– The football team recorded its second-highest in-season GPA on record (2.847) during the fall of 2016.