Breaking Down the Wide Receivers
Aug. 21, 2017
As is the case with the other skill positions on offense, the wide receiving corps looks to be a strength on the squad, as the group boasts both quality and quantity despite not having a senior in the group.
Wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon and the Gamecock coaching staff believe the team’s top two receivers ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” junior Deebo Samuel and sophomore Bryan Edwards ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” are as good as any combo in the league.
Samuel, a 6-0, 215-pounder from Inman, S.C., share Steve Wadiak Co-MVP honors last season with quarterback Jake Bentley. An All-SEC candidate this season, Samuel led the team with 59 receptions and with 783 receiving yards a season ago despite playing in just 10 games. The versatile performer also scored six times on 15 rushing attempts, and returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Plagued by hamstring injuries in each of the past two seasons, a key for the Gamecocks is to keep him healthy and on the field, as he is a difference-maker.
Edwards shined in his rookie season with the Gamecocks from the start, logging 101 receiving yards in his debut at Vanderbilt. The 6-3, 215-pounder from Conway, S.C., hauled in 44 passes for 590 yards overall, the second-best true freshman campaign for a wide receiver in school history behind only Alshon Jeffery. His efforts earned him second-team Freshman All-America accolades from Athlon. Blessed with excellent hands to go with that size, Edwards should only see his numbers increase after the experience he gained making a dozen starts a year ago.
The other “veteran” of the group and listed atop the depth chart as fall camp opened is junior Terry Googer. While not particularly flashy, Googer is experienced and possesses good size at 6-4 and 217 pounds. The Atlanta product has appeared in 22 games over the past two seasons, making five starts while hauling in a dozen passes for 140 yards.
Jerad Washington, Chavis Dawkins and Randrecous Davis are the other returning scholarship players. Washington, a 5-8, 171-pound redshirt sophomore, was recruited because of his plus-speed, but a broken leg early in his Gamecock career set him back and he has not been able to crack the rotation yet. Dawkins, a 6-2, 212-pounder from Duncan, S.C., gained early experience as a true freshman last fall, logging eight catches in 11 contests, including a pair of starts. Davis, a 5-10, 186-pound redshirt freshman from Atlanta, gets the coaches excited when he’s on the field, but has been hampered by injuries that have slowed his progress. If he can get healthy, he has the potential to be a key ingredient in the Carolina attack.
Coach McClendon is excited about the trio of scholarship newcomers who all could make their presence felt immediately. OrTre Smith, a 6-4, 219-pound freshman from Mount Pleasant, S.C., is a big target who enrolled in January and went through spring drills, giving him a head start in learning the offense. Shi Smith, a 5-10, 179-pounder from Union, S.C., has been one of the most talked about players in fall camp. His quickness and elusiveness have turned heads and he has positioned himself as someone who could step in and see immediate playing time. Chad Terrell, a 6-3, 212-pounder, has not received the same publicity as the Smiths, but is certainly a capable receiver in his own right and figures to have a productive career in the Garnet & Black.
Wide Receivers (12)
Terry Googer Jr.
Deebo Samuel Jr.
Chavis Dawkins So.
Devin Dingle So.
Bryan Edwards So.
Jerad Washington So.
Randrecous Davis R-Fr.
Garrett Frederick R-Fr.
Austin Connor Fr.
OrTre Smith Fr.
Shi Smith Fr.
Chad Terrell Fr.