Breaking Down the Offensive Line
Aug. 22, 2017
When Shawn Elliott was named the head coach at Georgia State, South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp turned to a familiar face for Gamecock fans, selecting Eric Wolford to lead the offensive line in 2017. Wolford previously served as the Gamecocks’ offensive line coach for one season during the Steve Spurrier Era, before taking a head coaching position of his own. He returns to Columbia after spending the past two years working with NFL offensive lineman as part of the San Francisco 49ers organization.
Wolford will be tasked with developing a formidable line that can create holes for the backs and provide enough protection for quarterback Jack Bentley that he is able to get the ball in the hands of the talented array of playmakers.
Wolford is blessed to have an offensive line that boasts a wealth of experience. Cory Helms (36 starts) and Alan Knott (29) have logged the most starting assignments on the squad. Zack Bailey (18), Malik Young (9), D.J. Park (3) and Donell Stanley (1) also have gained starting experience, as the unit has totaled 96 combined starts.
Seniors Helms (6-4, 309) and Knott (6-4, 290) figure to hold down the right guard and center positions respectively in their final campaign. Both played through injuries during the 2016 campaign, but begin 2017 healthy and poised to have their best seasons in the Garnet & Black.
All-SEC candidate Zack Bailey (6-6, 311) transitioned from left guard to right tackle in the spring and figures to be the starter at that position, although the junior from Summerville, S.C., could certainly move back inside if the situation dictated that move.
The left side of the line entered fall camp a little more unsettled. Junior Donell Stanley (6-4, 317) looks to have nailed down the starting left guard job, while junior Malik Young (6-3, 303) and junior college transfer Dennis Daley (6-6, 330) continue to battle it out for the left tackle spot. Young has been the more consistent performer in fall camp but Daley has made this position battle one of the more interesting ones to watch as the season progresses.
Coach Wolford would like to find at least eight offensive linemen he feels the Gamecocks can win with if they are put in the game. The second-team unit in fall camp has consisted of redshirt freshman Sadarius Hutcherson (6-4, 316) at left guard, redshirt freshman Chandler Farrell (6-2, 292) at center, senior D.J. Park (6-4, 337) at right guard and junior Blake Camper (6-8, 310) at right tackle, although Wolford likes to cross-train his linemen to be versatile enough to play more than one position. Park is especially versatile and is likely the first man in should a change be made at any of the spots other than left tackle.
Redshirt sophomores Trey Derouen (6-3, 305) and Christian Pellage (6-6, 296) have each earned a letter since their arrival on campus and figure to provide additional depth. They are joined by returnees Ryan Green, Cameron Johnson and Will Putnam, who are all in their second year in the program.
Four true freshmen scholarship players are on campus and getting their first taste of a fall camp. While it would appear that all four are likely headed for a redshirt season, a common occurrence among offensive linemen, the quartet of Summie Carlay, Jordon Carty, Eric Douglas and Jordan Rhodes all hope that the year spent on the practice fields and in the weight room with head strength & conditioning coach Jeff Dillman and his staff, will begin to pay dividends with playing time, possibly as early as 2018.
OFFENSIVE LINE (19)
Cory Helms Sr.
Alan Knott Sr.
D.J. Park Sr.
Zack Bailey Jr.
Blake Camper Jr.
Dennis Daley Jr.
Donell Stanley Jr.
Malik Young Jr.
Trey Derouen So.
Ryan Green So.
Chandler Farrell R-Fr.
Sadarius Hutcherson R-Fr.
Cameron Johnson R-Fr.
Will Putnam R-Fr.
Summie Carlay Fr.
Jordon Carty Fr.
Eric Douglas Fr.
Jordan Rhodes Fr.